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New St. Charles coach brings soccer experience

New St. Charles coach brings soccer experience
Amelia Kasten has taken over as head coach for the St. Charles Saints girls soccer team. Her she watches warm ups prior to the home opener Tuesday night September 6, 2011.

ST. CHARLES — The saying goes that those who can, play, and those who can't, teach. Amelia Kasten has returned to the Rochester area to show that it's possible to do both.

Kasten, a 2004 Century graduate and former Winona State University player, is the new head coach of a St. Charles High School girls soccer program that is still in the fledgling stage.

"I don't think coaching is something that I thought about in high school or even early in college," Kasten said. "But down in Winona I started coaching youth soccer and once I got the opportunity, I discovered that I really liked it."

Kasten inherits a St. Charles girls program that wasn't around yet when she was setting scoring records in two varsity seasons at Century. The Saints played their first full season in 2008; they haven't had a winning season yet or won a playoff game.

"It's still a fairly new program here; we're kind of building on it," said Kasten, who spent the last two high school seasons as an assistant varsity coach for the Edina girls team. She also coached a 13-and-under club team for two years in Edina, but this is her first varsity head coaching position.

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"It's a little different environment (from Edina); I have fewer numbers to work with in the soccer program here. But I've got a good group of players who are competitive and work hard."

There are 14 players on the St. Charles roster and eight are returning starters from a team that went 6-8-1 last season, which was triple the Saints' win total in the two prior seasons.

St. Charles is off to a 0-3-1 start after Tuesday night's 1-1 tie with visiting Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa.

Kasten brings the experience of a high-level player to the St. Charles program. She scored 70 goals in a high school career that began at Kasson-Mantorville, and she held Century's career goals record until Steph Brandt broke it in 2008 with 79.

Kasten played one season of Division I college soccer at the University of Minnesota, before transferring to Winona State where she played three seasons and became a DII First Team All-American her senior year. She led WSU in 2008 with a team-high 15 goals and 10 assists for 40 points.

"I'm pretty demanding as a coach; I'm going to demand that my players work hard," said Kasten, who teaches health and physical education to grades 7-12 at St. Charles.

"You can always build on your skills and get better. But it's not just about skills. The biggest thing that I want to stress is to be competitive in every game, no matter who you are playing, and believe in yourself."

Kasten still has family in the Rochester area, and her fiance Brandon Hagedorn is a nurse at Mayo Clinic. The couple have known each other since high school and are planning an August 2012 wedding.

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Before Kasten concentrates on wedding plans, she's going to focus on her other passion.

"It's been a goal of mine to head coach a high school team," she said, "and now I'm just grateful for this opportunity that has fallen in my lap."

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