6-man soccer co-ops are essential for some teams. This year, there are some changes in central Montana. Geraldine and Highwood, longtime co-op members, have gone from rivals on the same sideline to rivals on opposite sidelines. They were teammates for over a decade and now they are forging their own paths.
“It was a good experience, a lot of fruitful things for our children. Our children were able to have the opportunity to play the great game of football and continue the legacies of Geraldine and Highwood and a couple of state championships along the way,” Highwood said the coach. in chief Brandon Gondeiro. “So we’re very proud of that legacy. successful.”
Change is inevitable, with Highwood alone and Geraldine teaming with Denton Geyser Stanford, but after a week of play, both teams are holding their own, both scoring big wins over Shields Valley and Hot Springs. There are changes, but what matters most is the opportunity to play. For many of the teams, co-op was all they knew. This year is serving as a fresh start as both teams look to the future with a 1-0 record.
“We’ve had issues with our first game in the past, so we try to turn things around, give our guys the best opportunity to be ready,” DGSG coach Matt Neumann said. “This year was one of our best first games. Okay, there’s still a lot to work on, but, you know, we’re pretty happy with the way we played.”
DGS also has much less travel time this year, partnering with Geraldine, which is much closer than Winnett and Grass Range. Neumann said only one athlete from Geraldine has played due to eligibility, but all four of Geraldine’s kids will be in the lineup in the next two weeks and are preparing to play at Noxon.
“Having them allows us to go six at a time in practice, bring in some different personalities. We have nine without them and that is difficult. Some of them are quite vocal. As for helping with that, encourage and help. Working to improve a little week by week.”
This year is serving as a fresh start as both teams look to the future with a one-nil record.
“It’s a little bit of a change. But, you know, we hope to try to do what we can and move on,” said Highwood senior Bryson Bahnmiller. “I think if we focus on every game, every possession, I think we’ll be fine. We’ve got a good shot. I guess we can see what happens.”
The Geraldine four have gotten down to business merging with DGS, and so far their recipe for success is working.
“It’s different. It’s been pretty good and it’s been pretty tough,” Geraldine junior Tyler McOmber said. “But I think we can figure that out and fix our mistakes to make it a lot easier.”
It’s only fitting that Geraldine and Highwood share the field this year when they play each other for the first time in a decade on Oct. 7.the.