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Hammer relishing final games with teammates

Jayda Hammer, of the Hub City Soccer Club Nitro, left, tries to kick the ball past Kadence McEvers, of Magic Soccer U 15/16, right, during their match Saturday at the Dacotah Bank Cup Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 6/25/2022

This weekend’s annual Dacotah Bank Cup soccer tournament hosted by the Hub City Soccer Club at Moccasin Creek Soccer Complex includes players just getting started in the sport and those transitioning in the sport.

Jayda Hammer of Aberdeen is winding down her playing days with her former teammates from Aberdeen Central before moving on Presentation College to play for the Saints this fall.

“It’s sad, but it makes me very happy,” Hammer said of the few limited opportunities remaining to be her with friends. “I’ve played with these girls all my life.”

She said knowing that those games are fast coming to an end helps to ensure that she doesn’t take anything for granted.

She knows that playing soccer in college will be much different than playing in high school.

“It’s obviously going to be more physical. It gives me more of a challenge,” Hammer said. “High school was still a challenge, but this is going to be even more challenging.”

Not only that, but Hammer expects the pace of play to be much quicker as well.

“It will definitely be a lot faster,” Hammer said. “I try to get my touches better and then just move off the ball a lot faster.”

Before putting on a Saints jersey, Hammer will try to make the most of her last few chances of playing with a group of girls that she has grown close to through the years.

When asked what she will remember most about her playing days with the Golden Eagles, Hammer responded, “Probably just the way that we all connect as a family. We’re always there for each other. If something bad happens for one of us, we all step up to help each other out.”


While the temperatures were mild on Saturday, the wind picked up and made things interesting for the players throughout the day.

Ryder Schwan of Aberdeen said the wind was a major factor when it came to moving the ball, “because when you try to pass it, it moves a lot.”

That meant the 11-year-old had to make an adjustment during the course of the game.

“Just kick it a little harder,” Schwan said, “and then it will get to your target easier.”

Ryder Schwan, of the Hub City Soccer Club Venom, left, tries to kick the ball past Henry Kruse, center and Carson Dorris, right, of the Huron Soccer Association, during their match Saturday at the Dacotah Bank Cup Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 6/25/2022

Schwan, who has been playing soccer since age 4, also competes in basketball and football. He said they all feature one common trait: “a lot of running.”

While everybody was putting forth their best effort to try and win games at the tournament, Schwan said that was not the main focus.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Schwan said of the final outcomes. “It just matters about getting better.”


Saturday’s conditions were much different than the ones present last weekend during the High Point Swim Meet just a couple of blocks away.

The temperatures were about 30 degrees cooler and felt about 40 degrees cooler than a week ago.

“It actually feels good when you’re out there,” said Jeff Sahli of Aberdeen, “rather than being 100 and no wind and being humid.”

Sahli was busy officiating games on Saturday in addition to watching his daughters play. Last week, he was beside the pool cheering on his daughters.

“It was miserable, absolutely miserable,” Sahli said of the conditions at the swim meet. “I knew I was going to melt at the end of the day.”

When asked about the worse conditions he has had to officiate soccer in, Sahli mentioned a couple of elements.

“Cold and rain, but it was actually fun,” he said. “I will take the cold and the rain over 95 degrees and humidity, absolutely, definitely.”

Jamison Frericks, of the HCSC Venom, center, kicks the ball past Henry Kruse, of the Huron Soccer Association, right, during their match Saturday at the Dacotah Bank Cup Tournament. Looking on at far left is referee Jeff Sahli. Photo by John Davis taken 6/25/2022

Sahli said he never had any intention of becoming an official, but is glad that he did because it allows him to understand the game so much better.

“It’s fun. It makes me learn. I know every time when I walk out there I learn,” Sahli said. “I know every time when I step on the field with these (other officials) I learn. I catch different things. I apply the rules and everything kind of clicks. There’s always something new, something different happening all the time.”


While Aberdeen Central girls’ soccer coach Merle Aske is not coaching his players during the tournament, he does keep tabs on what is taking place on the pitch.

Aske, who serves as Director of Coaching at the tourney, was sitting in a golf cart at the end of the field while a team comprised of many Central players was competing.

“They need to play for other people. They need to basically just be playing. It’s nice to be able to just sit back and evaluate where they’re at and what they’re doing,” Aske said. “We won’t get too excited about what they’re doing until we get into camps in July. We’ll see them for a couple of weeks before we start tryouts and once we get to Aug. 1, then basically all bets are off. Then we’re going to be going full steam.”

Merle Aske motors around the Moccasin Creek Soccer Complex during the Dacotah Bank Cup Tournament Saturday. Photo by John Davis taken 6/25/2022

Aske said his view on Saturday morning was a bit different than being on the sideline, but it still gives him a good idea on what his players are doing.

“It’s nice to be able to sit back and watch them play,” Aske said, “see when they’re doing well and when they’re not doing well, and see that they’re getting better.”

Aske is helping out with a Girls 14 team at the tournament. The older girls are on a team guided by Presentation College coach John Hutchinson.

Aske has no problem having somebody else coach his players and believes it is beneficial.

“Coach Hutchinson has them playing a different style than we play, which is fine,” Aske said. “In the middle of a game, we might change at halftime what we’re going to do, so they have to be able to adjust to different things.”

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