Superior boys soccer coach Otto Berti was asked Wednesday, Sept. 16 what Spartans’ junior Jake Kidd is good at.
“What’s he not good at, is the question?” Berti replied.
A question answered with a question, but certainly the right answer.
“His IQ for the game is unmatched,” Berti went on. “He’s really smart. He knows when to make runs, he passes the ball well, he shoots well, he loves to shoot from any angle, and he scores from just about anywhere. He’s just overall a very good player.”
Kidd is coming off a season in which he had 34 goals and 13 assists en route to earning Wisconsin all-state honors. While the captain won’t be able to match that kind of production this season — Superior is only scheduled to play 10 games due to coronavirus restrictions, about half of normal — Kidd is hoping this fall will be a springboard to his senior year as the Spartans have a strong crop of juniors to build around.
Superior was scheduled to open the season Thursday at home against Duluth Denfeld, and the Spartans were hoping to use that contest as a gauge for where they’re at.
“It’s going to be really fun,” Kidd said. “It’s hard for me to talk about goals and stuff since we have a shortened season, but I really want to build more chemistry with my teammates this year. Hopefully next year things will be back to normal and we can have a full season.”
In the meantime, the Spartans will gladly take whatever they can get.
Besides Kidd, Superior returns senior starter Kaden Olson and junior starters Jeff Olson and Ethan DeFoe from a team that went 13-5 overall and 5-2 in the Lake Superior Conference.
The Spartans have been wearing masks the past couple weeks. Now that they’re used to it, wearing a mask has become old hat.
“It’s going to be really weird to have players playing with masks (in a game), but the boys would rather play than not play. They would rather play with masks than not play at all,” Berti said. “They’re switching back and forth trying to find the thinnest mask they can find, but their attitudes are great. We’re pumped, we’re excited and we’re thankful we get to play.”
The Spartans’ schedule consists mostly of LSC teams and goes through late October. While it’s not a lot of games, any exposure is good exposure for a player such as Kidd who is hoping to play college soccer.
“Of course we want to win them all, but a couple teams we’ll have a hard time against ... if we play our best, I could see us having a good shot at 9-1 or even 10-0,” Kidd said.
The 5-foot-10 Kidd is also a basketball point guard and played baseball but planned on focusing on club soccer last spring before COVID-19 hit.
“Once everything sort of hit the world, our whole season got canceled,” Kidd said.
That makes this fall feel all the better.
“It’s been almost a year now, so it’ll be really nice to get back out there,” Kidd said. “Some teams across the state and country, don’t get to play at all, so this is a great opportunity for us,” Kidd said. “We’ll take having a shorter season over not having a season at all.”
Spartans at a glance
Head coach: Otto Berti
Assistant coaches: Jake Swanson and Harry Simpson
Returning starters: Jacob Kidd, Jeffrey Olson, Kaden Olson, Ethan DeFoe
New faces to watch: Darrel James, Andrew Olson, Gabriel Remington, Landon James
Team strengths: "Communication and movement of the ball," Berti said.
Biggest challenge: "Starting practices a few weeks later than all LSC teams, we will be late starting games and staying focused with the boys' school schedules and all the craziness going on in the world," he said.
Coach's assessment: "We have a young team that works well together, and if we can be confident and consistent we can compete vs anyone," Berti said.