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Rochester FC has gotten older and presumably better

The Rochester FC amatuer soccer team was brimming with high-school aged players last season, This year, there is more of a mix of youth and experience.

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Century’s Max Comfere (3) heads the ball during a Section 1AA quarterfinal soccer match against Lakeville South on Thursday, October 15, 2020, at Century High School in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo
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The heavy leaning on young soccer players — many of them just graduated from high school — was a fun concept.

But Rochester FC coach and co-owner Muharem Dedic found out it wasn’t a winning one.

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That discovery was made a year ago when Rochester FC finished 3-1-7 overall and had a difficult time physically and emotionally lining up against United Premier Soccer League players, so many of them in college or beyond.

So, Dedic went about things differently this time around. He still has some high school-aged kids on the team. But he is supplementing that collection with a pack of college guys.

Dedic thinks that could make a large difference.

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“We have five or six guys from one college, Bethany Lutheran," a Division III school in Mankato, Dedic said. “Last year, we struggled with us not being experienced. Now we’ve brought in some college players who’ve been at that level for a year or two. We now have some experience, some speed, some youth. I think we can have a good season.”

Rochester FC’s best player might be one of those high school kids, Max Comfere. A senior at Rochester Century and a two-time All-State player, the 6-foot-2 and wiry-strong Comfere is a dynamic and roaring-fast striker.

He finished his high school season with 22 goals and four assists.

Comfere won’t be joining Rochester FC right away, though. That’s because he is experiencing high school track and field for the first time and making a big name for himself.

Comfere already has among the top handful of times in the state in the 400. Don’t expect him to join Rochester FC until the state track and field meet is done. That happens June 9-11 at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

“Max thinks that school (athletics) is most important to him right now, and I support him in that,” Dedic said.

Also on the Rochester FC roster from Century are seniors Charlie Odell and Rivas Pena. Odell was a standout goalie the last two years at Century and Pena a quick and standout midfielder.

Mayo graduates Luis Lopez, Kyle Doppler and Midhat Mujic, Century graduate Jacob LaDue and Lourdes graduate Colton Praska are also playing for Rochester FC.

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“We’ve got about 10 local guys who used to play in high school in Rochester,” Dedic said. “I’m pushing for local kids to be on this team.”

Rochester FC got off to a rough start to begin its season, as it has been hit hard by injuries. It was missing eight starters in that game and suffered the consequences against first-year franchise Austin Villa FC, losing 5-0.

Things straightened out significantly in its second game, a 1-1 tie with Ebusa FC on Sunday.

“It’s been a constant shuffling of players with all of the injuries,” Dedic said. “We’ve had to deal with it on a daily basis. But in the second game we had a totally (improved) team. We did that despite still having five starters on the bench with injuries. I see things changing for us now. I think we can be good.”

SCHEDULE

(all home games at Rochester Regional Stadium)

May 13 — Maple Brook 58ers at Rochester FC, 7 p.m.

May 18 — Minnesota Brooklyn Knights at Rochester FC, 7 p.m.

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May 21 — Minneapolis City SC at Rochester FC, 7 p.m.

May 28 — at Vlora FC. 9 p.m.

June 4 — at St. Croix SC (exhibition match). 6 p..m.

June 10 — FC Minneapolis at Rochester FC, 7 p.m.

June 15 — Turbo Sport FC at Rochester FC, 7 p.m.

June 18 — Dakota Youngstars at Rochester FC, 7 p.m.

Related Topics: ROCHESTER FCROCHESTERSOCCER
Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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