It takes some work to find a Freeman High home soccer match. It takes a little hunting and a little hiking to find the picturesque setting snuggled into the woods behind the Freeman Middle School.
The setting could easily be mistaken for a deer park and once you find the pitch, you can easily imagine Bambi and Thumper nestled in, watching the hubbub just feet from the eastern sideline.
“This is a great setting for soccer,” Freeman coach Rob Rowe said. “The field is a little shorter and a little narrower than what I would want, ideally, but we’re happy here.”
Just like their home field, the Scotties are doing a good job of getting themselves on the area soccer map.
In just their sixth season as a varsity sport at Freeman, the Scotties reached the state Class 1A soccer tournament for the first time a year ago. This season, the team is reaching for continuity.
“This year is the first year that we’ve been able to have a junior varsity,” Rowe said. “We play short-squad games. We still don’t have a JV coach, but I don’t mind doing double duty.”
That Rowe is still available to pull double duty is another commitment to program continuity.
For the past 10 years Rowe taught at Post Falls High School. After last season, the school asked that he give up his coaching duties because it took him away from the campus too much.
To keep the coaching gig, Rowe got a job teaching at Central Valley, just up the road from Freeman.
“It’s better all the way around,” he said. “I’m able to get here sooner because it’s a much faster commute and then have more time with the kids.”
This year’s squad features seven freshmen, and Rowe insists he’ll have a bigger freshman class next year.
“What’s different is that we’re starting to get soccer players coming in,” Rowe said. “Freeman has a great tradition and girls grow up wanting to play volleyball, basketball and softball or track. Now they’re starting to dream about growing up and being soccer players.”
If Bambi and Thumper were watching Tuesday’s match it probably left the yearling conflicted since Freeman was playing host to Deer Park. And frankly there was more to cheer about rooting for the Stags, who posted a 4-1 win.
But Rowe told his Scotties not to let the loss get to them.
“The truth is, we’re missing a couple key players right now,” he said. “We gave up four goals, but they were all on set pieces and we can do a better job defending them. We had our chances to score and just didn’t get it done today.”
Rowe said his team did a good job marking Deer Park’s Riley Martinson, last year’s offensive player of the year. And Freeman’s Cassidy Crosswhite, last year’s All-Northeast A League first-team goalkeeper did a nice job stopping the Stags during the run of play.
“We can do a better job the next time we play them,” Rowe told his players. “There’s still a lot of soccer left to play. We’re just fine where we are right now. Once we get some people healthy we’ll be just fine.”
Freshman Brynn Van Orden, who will likely miss one more league game before she comes back from injury, is the second-leading scorer in the league. Her offensive firepower will be a major plus.
“We had to ask some girls to play out of position,” Rowe said. “No one complained. They just went out there and did their best. That’s what happens with good teams.”
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