Beetdiggers on Top of Region Soccer ActionOct 07, 2015 01:08PM ● By Bryan Scott
By Ron Bevan
Sandy - A new coach has breathed new life into the Jordan soccer program, challenging the girls to improve on last season.
Marli Martin brings her coaching skills to the Beetdiggers. Martin has been a competition coach with the Avalanche youth program and previously coached for four seasons at a college in Colorado.
“When the job opened up, they actually contacted me,” Martin said. “It was something I wanted to add to what I was already doing, and I enjoy that I can make some kind of impact on these girls.”
Jordan has always been considered a good soccer program, always pushing the top schools but not quite reaching the pinnacle. The Diggers finished third in Region 3 action last season and bowed out in the first round of the state 5A tournament.
But a whole new approach is seeing results. After a slow pre-season start of 1-3-1, Jordan is tearing up region play with an undefeated region record. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect scorecard is a 1-1 tie with Bingham, another region favorite. Along the way the Beetdiggers have dispatched Copper Hills (1-0), West Jordan (2-0), Cottonwood (2-1) and Taylorsville (3-0).
Senior goalkeeper Brooklyn Nielsen has recorded four shutouts to help lead Jordan on defense.
“Nielsen is a stud in goal,” Martin said. “I would love to get her out of the goal box and onto one of the wings because she is so athletic. She had a lot of energy and helps pump up the rest of the team. She is one of those athletes that is ready to go at the get go.”
Martin has a wide variety of athletes to choose from, reaching through all four grades. She has seven seniors on the team, six of whom play, and one who has been relegated to team support due to an injury.
“Savannah Page tore her ACL in the very first game and is out for the season,” Martin said. “It is kind of tough on her because she was looking forward to her final season as an attack player, but she is still helping the team.”
The bulk of the experienced seniors are lending their talents to the defensive side of the ball. Seniors Ashley Bluenel and Becca Nordhagen help stabilize the defense from their center back positions.
“They are smart players with a lot of experience under their belts.” Martin said. “They are the most composed players I have: they stay calm when under attack.”
Seniors Kaylin Bingham and Abby Jensen make up the final pieces of the defense, playing as outside backs.
“Jensen is also a cross country racer, so she can run for days,” Martin said. “I like my outside backs to get up on our attack to help, and she is good at that. Bingham is very good at focusing on what I am trying to teach instead of what she already knows. She is also very fast up and down the field the entire game.”
Jordan relies on senior Aubrey Monson to balance the game from her attacking midfielder position.
“Monson is our commander in chief,” Martin said. “She is the complete player. She is smart on and off the ball, and she is always trying to find that perfect pass.”
The Beetdiggers have found a speed demon in freshman forward Gwen Christopherson, who has already put five goals into the net.
“Christopherson didn’t start for me at first, but she earned her starting position by scoring a goal in the first minute I put her in a game,” Martin said. “She is our fastest, quickest player. She is a bit unorthodox when it comes to soccer, but it works for her.”