IOWA FALLS — The biggest play — or for that matter, season — in the history of Iowa Falls-Alden-AGWSR boys’ soccer almost didn’t happen.
Wanting to compete in a state tournament before graduating high school, seniors Logan Steelman and Logan Ward weren’t confident they could achieve that goal in soccer.
Though close on paper, the Cadets weren’t exactly banging on the door to the state tournament a year ago, as they suffered a 5-0 loss to Storm Lake in the substate final. That loss, mixed with the departure of several key players, had Steelman and Ward contemplating a switch to track, believing that would give them a better chance to reach state.
Luckily for them and the program, a season-shifting missing piece was about to drop into their laps from over 4,000 miles away. Soon, the Cadets weren’t merely knocking on the door of the state tournament, they were, as Coach Greg Laschied puts it, “Blowing the door wide open.”
Marcos Vila wanted a change of scenery.
A decorated soccer player in the Alcobendas-Levitt League in Madrid, Spain, Vila got the itch to come to America after friends had told him how much they enjoyed their time as exchange students.
Coming from Madrid, with its population of over six million, he hoped to be placed in a large, metropolitan city. Instead, he ended up in rural Iowa Falls, which has a population of just over 5,000.
Though not what he wanted, Vila remained eager to experience a new culture, and approached the major change of scenery with an open mind. In very short order, he started to feel at home.
“At first I was disappointed because it was a small town, but it’s an awesome town,” he said. “It’s a big difference, but it’s still nice. The people are friendly and they always want to hang out and help you try different things. They keep you busy.”
A lot of the new things…