CEDAR RAPIDS — The summer before starting high school is often full of nervous anticipation and diligent preparation.
For soccer players, that typically includes training with a club team, attending youth camps or competing in area 7-on-7 leagues in hopes of obtaining enough skills to earn a varsity roster spot.
In the case of 14-year-old Mitchell Frahm, his soccer tutelage received a big boost as a member of the Cedar Rapids Inferno semipro team.
“It’s great,” Frahm said. “It’s honestly great because I get to train at a higher level and it makes me a better player, so then when I go to my age in high school, I’m ready for it.”
Earlier this season, Frahm saw action at striker in road matches against DeKalb County United and the Croatian Eagles. He will be a freshman this fall at Linn-Mar, which recently announced the hire of Inferno Owner/General Manager/Player Kenan Malicevic as its new boys’ soccer head coach.
“As a coach, I love that he is joining us and learning every single day,” Malicevic said. “I have seen a tremendous improvement by him since day one. … In practice, we don’t take it easy on him. We challenge him as much as we can. He is like a sponge, learning stuff every day.”
Players with remaining high school or college eligibility can participate in the United Premier Soccer League and maintain their amateur status provided they are not financially compensated. In a league dominated by college-age players and up, there has been plenty for Frahm to learn.
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“Definitely physically,” said Frahm, who plays club soccer with PSC Iowa. “Going into harder tackles, it makes me stronger as a player to shield them off. Speed of play, passing the ball faster, having faster decisions.”
The Inferno ended their debut season with three wins, three losses and two draws after the division champion Milwaukee Bavarians forfeited a match originally scheduled for Saturday at Mount Mercy, presumably to rest players before the postseason.
In its place, the Inferno will hold a barbecue and scrimmage for fans Sunday at 4 at Lower Kingston.
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