HawkHead Newsletter

Have a story you’d like to share with the club about a player, team or event? Contact Danah Ditzig @ Danah@blackhawksoccer.org today!

St. Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club Newsletter

A parent letter of thanks to the BHK Board and Staff

April 13, 2014

Just wanted to drop a quick note of thanks to all of you.

Last night my U10 girls had a pre-season team party and after about 30 minutes of playing in the yard and eating pizza they stated, as a matter of fact, that they were going to the closest park to play soccer – all siblings were welcome. No joking, 20+ Blackhawk kids (boys and girls, ages from 4-14) marched to the field and played ‘pickup’ soccer for 1-1.5hrs with only a few parents looking on and no direct involvement. Tennis shoes, bare feet, futsal shoes, boots, top players, beginners, little hawks; none of it mattered – nothing was stopping those kids from playing and having fun. The only reason they stopped is that some of the parents wanted to go home and go to bed 🙂 Even then, the remaining group went back inside and watched a replay of US v Mex on TV. And all this after having played a futsal game earlier in the evening.

Thank you so very much for what you all do for our kids; your work and dedication to the club impacts us all, and as last night demonstrated it is building a love for the game and a strong sense of community.

Long days in the cold, like today, pay off as our kids grow in the love of the sport.

Truly, sincerely, THANK YOU!

Justin Straub

Winter Carnival

January 25, 2014







St. Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club Newsletter

Getting to know Jesus Torres, Goal Keeper Coach
December 10, 2013

How long have you been a goal keeper? When did you start?
I have been a goalkeeper since kindergarten. I was born in Mexico where your first toy is always a soccer ball. I was lucky enough that my house was very close to a sports complex and I had access to private soccer leagues. I was very good at it and I was always selected as the keeper for the school’s team. While attending middle school I was scouted by Atlas FC, a professional soccer league in Guadalajara, Mexico. This was the opportunity I was waiting for. However, that entailed I would have to move to Guadalajara and my mother thought that soccer would distract me and hinder my educational opportunities. Short story…she did not let me go. Nonetheless, I continued playing at different leagues in Mexico and in the U.S. I have always been a keeper and that is an advantage when it comes to coaching.

What’s the single most important part of goal keeping, in your opinion?
Goalkeepers are a sword and a shield. We prevent goals and at the same time we facilitate our team’s attack by being strategic about the way we play.

Do goal keepers have to train differently than field players? How? Why?
Yes and No. Goalkeeper training is very specific and requires specialized attention. The goal keeping position is very complex and requires a player to master an array of skills that are different from those of a field player. Nonetheless, goal keepers should be able to do what field players do just as well or better. This is where their training overlaps. A goalkeeper should be able to handle the ball with their feet as good as any field player would.

Lastly, a goalkeeper needs to master his/her position and at the same time understand each position in the field. When I was in middle school my coach came up to me and asked me “Are you sure you want to be a goalkeeper, because you don’t seem to understand what your job is.” He made me play in every field position for the rest of the season. I needed to understand each position so I could realize the complexity of mine and its relationship to the game and the team as a whole. I was a good shield, but I was a weak sword.

Is it important for goal keepers to also train with their teams? Why?
Yes. The best way to prevent a goal is to prevent the shots. This requires constant communication and understanding among the keeper and the rest of the team. A keeper is inherently a leadership position and keepers cannot develop that leadership if they are always working in isolation. Nonetheless, coaches need to develop and implement group drills centered on the keeper, other than the usual “let’s shoot at the keeper and see what she does.”

People say goal keepers have unique personalities. Is this true, in your opinion?
No. Anyone can become an excellent keeper with dedication and hard work. The training is hard and it can take its toll on the body, but anyone can become an excellent keeper.

What do you like about the Blackhawks?
I like the level of dedication and organization. I am amazed to see so many children of all ages participate. I am also amazed at the quality and experience that the coaches bring to the table.

How would you describe your coaching style?
I would describe it as intense and detailed. I like to come up with drills that allow keepers to practice more than one skill and at the same time increase their endurance and speed.

Besides training goal keepers, what do you do?
I am a law student at University of St. Thomas and I am I clerk at a small public-interest law firm. I guess becoming a lawyer is what you are supposed to do when your mother doesn’t let you become a professional soccer player.

Candy Bowl V
November 2, 2013

Since 2009, teams have been facing-off the weekend after Halloween in the Blackhawk “Candy Bowl”. It’s a for-fun scrimmage amongst boys and girls teams of all-ages. Kids bring some of their Halloween candy to ante-up for a winning team takes all show-down! Coach Jamie Hagg started this event in 2009 between what are now the U17 & U18 girls – long time scrimmage & training mates and now teammates. Soon, their little brothers (Jonas Kazlauskas, Eric Lagos, and William Hagg) teams were introduced and this year, the event grew to 6 teams from age U11 to U18! The kids had a great time scrimmaging and wrapped up the day with shoot-outs, eating burritos (courtesy of coach Jamie) and having the candy thrown at them. Another good day for Blackhawk soccer! Thanks, player and thank you, Coach Jamie.

Winter Carnival
February 1, 2013

Thanks for coming out to the Blackhawks Winter Carnival Saturday, January 26th. Kids and families enjoyed boot soccer in the snow, roasted marshmallows, hot dogs and hot cocoa. Thanks from the U17C1 boys team for funds earned. They hope the kids enjoyed the sled racing! Congratulations to Alex Catrine for finding the BHK medallion & winning a FREE summer camp!

Lili Hagg face painting during the winter carnival.

Jason Catrine with his face painted.

St. Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club Newsletter

Orchard’s Got Green
September, 2012
Bill Bard

While the leaves are turning brown & yellow, Orchard field is turning green!

Many of you know Orchard as our clubhouse – the home to St. Paul Blackhawks Soccer. Orchard is a great asset and represents our club to the community. The field is a focal point for our members and our guests, being used for our developmental age group programs and home field for our U9-12 6v6 & 8v8 matches.

As any of you who have visited and used the field will know, it’s been in very rough shape despite dozens of volunteer hours “de-rocking” and aerating. Our kids deserve a better pitch to play on. With the help of volunteers (special thanks to Phil Stringer) and a few local businesses, AlbrechtCompany and S&S Tree and Landscape Specialists, a restoration plan was developed and approved by the Board, as part of an overall initiative to make our clubhouse a showpiece.

Many of you may have been inconvenienced this summer and fall with game and practice relocation. We thank you for your patience. The first year of the project is the most costly and disruptive as irrigation pipes were installed and early fall seeding required a long rest period for the field. For the new seed to germinate and become established, all traffic must be off the field. This takes Orchard out of play for the Fall of 2012 and possibly 2013.

Once the grass is established and the playing surface is to the quality the Club is satisfied with, a maintenance program will be in place. The rehabilitation of the field is actually a multi-year process to create a quality, sustainable surface.

Again, thank you for your patience and thank you for your support of our programs.


U of M Soccer

nicoleleegopherThe 2012 season was the University of Minnesota’s 20th year of having a women’s soccer program. To pay tribute to the past 19 seasons, gophersports.com highlights the evolution of Gopher soccer year-by-year. Congratulations to former St Paul Blackhawks Coaching Director Nicole Lee on her recognition. Image source: gophersports.com blog: Looking Back on 20 Years of Soccer – 1997

Special Events

Blackhawks Joga Bonita Girls Soccer Festival

Blackhawks at Grand Old Days


Blackhawks 9th Annual Futsal Tournament



Sweden Trip
August, 2012
Danah Ditzig

Blackhawk Friends,

Thank you for all of your support for this year’s U15 travelers to Sweden. This trip would not have been possible without you. The kids raised through fundraising and your charitable donations roughly ¼ of the total cost of the trip. Your support enabled all kids with a desire to take this trip the opportunity to make it happen!

The Sweden trip has been a part of the Blackhawk tradition for 20 years. This trip is more relevant today than ever before as being a practical way our players live our mission of building character and community. The kids, their families and our larger Blackhawk family should be very proud of how the kids represented themselves on and off of the field. We heard nothing but compliments for the kids from their home-stay families & Gothia Cup staff. The kids worked well on and off the field:

Both boys and girls did well in tournament pool play to advance to the “A” flight in a 3-tier system
Everyone got along (which is a big deal for 11 days, sleeping on a classroom floor)
The boys and girls supported one another, cheering on the sidelines
They spent great time together exploring Sweden and meeting new people, making new friends
They demonstrated independence & leadership as they needed to take responsibility for themselves exploring a new place with freedoms and also respecting rules & guidelines
The kids made memories that will last a lifetime. That’s one thing we hear from trip alumni; this was a highlight – not only for their soccer experience, but memories from their youth that will stay with them. The beautiful thing about this trip is that it gave the kids so many different experiences. During the bus rides and team dinners, the players shared their fondest moments. In their words, they included:

The home stays (more than ½ of the kids enjoyed this most; they said it gave them the opportunity to really feel what it’s like to be a part of a family in a different part of the world)
Gothia Cup opening ceremony
Blue Lagoon
Boat rides (touring the canals & ferry rides to see the area)
Watching a professional soccer match
The Disco!
Meeting new people
Visiting Marsden & touring the castle
Singing in the “party van” on the way to our games
Running 3 miles at 7:00 AM (I think that was facetious, but it certainly was character-building)
Again, thank you for making this trip possible and for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Your 2012 Trip Committee: Danah, Jamie, Gerard, Thom, Andy, Matt & the parents of the age group





2012 Summer Camp Review
August, 2012
Danah Ditzig

This year, the Hawks hosted over 200 campers including 30 new players. Thank you for being a part of our camps and community. Here’s a look at the fun we had!

The coaching staff was a mix of tenured coaches and new coaches, some of which were Blackhawk alumni, and even former teammates: Molly Bard, Frannie Gilligan and Anne Walli. The Anoka Community College head coach coached Little Hawks along with the Hagg family – Coach Jamie and helpers Lili, William, and Dylan Hagg, Bailey Perry & Bryn Shank.

Besides getting touches on the ball and developing individual skill, camps offer a great opportunity for fun and character development. “The kids always like the World Cup tournament at the end of the day. It was also nice to see several 14 year olds at our Striker camp. They brought a lot of skills and great attitude as well as mentorship to the camp,” said Viktor Adamcsek, Director of Coaching.

This year, we added a “No Boys Allowed” camp lead by our awesome women’s coaching staff. Director of Coaching, Nicole Lee, said “The girls’ camp went really well. We had roughly 40 girls. We thought the fact that we used an all female staff was pretty special. The camp was really designed for fun and focus on the love of the game. It was our hope the girls would leave the camp feeling good about the game and themselves.”

As part of our 60th anniversary, Blackhawks also hosted free camps around St. Paul on June 23. The camps were intended to demonstrate our mission of building community and reach kids who love soccer but not familiar with our club. More than 50 kids joined us at Concordia, Edgecombe, Battle Creek, and Hillcrest.

BHK Soccer Celebration
July 22, 2011
Photos Kirk Gaburo

Friday July 22 was a joyous celebration for St Paul Blackhawks Soccer club. From a 3 v 3 tournament to a players vs coaches game – the field was filled with music, energy, and competition! We introduced our U18 Premier team, winners of State Cup, who moved on to a strong regional showing with a record of 1-1-1! Congratulations to all of our U18 players – good luck at college next year!! We also celebrated a win that night by our U13C1 boys against Rochester, securing a U14 Premier spot next year!! And we consumed hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers!! Finally we recognized our many volunteers! Thank you to all of our volunteers – without whom we could not have a soccer club!!




BHK Grand Old Day
June 5, 2011
Photos Kirk Gaburo

Blackhawks Soccer Club had a booth at Grand Old Day for the second year running. The event provided a good opportunity to promote the club with information and displays of spirited play. Thanks to Rod Brewer, other volunteers, and BHK players for making it happen.