Blog: Dome Stories
The coaching gig was short term. He figured three or five years – just something that’d dovetail with his professional soccer career with the Minnesota Kicks. Then he’d move on.
Except Tony Peszneker stuck with that coaching gig. For nearly three decades. The player with over 500 professional games to his credit built Wayzata girl’s soccer from small and scrappy to a perrenial powerhouse. “I remember back in 1991, maybe only 60 kids tried out for the team. Now we have twice that amount,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Peszneker to build his team’s impressive – and now legendary – record. In his first year coaching, the team managed to get to state. In the second year, they won it. For the last 28 years, Wayzata’s girl’s soccer has made 18 final or semifinal appearances.
Peszneker is the head coach over a soccer machine that includes assistant coaches and a number of teams. To show support for the sport, the school recently added three new turf fields. And an air-supported dome at Wayzata Middle School hosts soccer practice when the weather doesn’t cooperate. There was even time when the girls would pack up and head to a neighboring community dome and practice there.
Because of Wayzata’s winning record, there are always plenty of young teens and tweens eager to try out for the teams. “The quality of the individual has increased,” Peszneker said. “There’s more commitment. And there are now scholarships for girl’s soccer. There’s more opportunity.”
Teenage girls can be known for drama, moods, tears and complaints, but Peszneker doesn’t see any of it. “In order to be successful, you have to learn and follow instructions. There are consequences if you don’t. And you have to follow through on those consequences. There’s not one player who has been trouble,” he said. “If they want to be successful, there are no tantrums. Because there’s another player waiting to take that spot.”
Many of his former soccer stars have gone on to successful careers of their own in the sport. One plays professionally overseas. Another, Erin Chastain, now coaches for DePaul and mines Peszneker’s teams for recruits. Three of Wayzata’s soccer stars have already been recruited next year for DI schools.
A winning record is one thing, but part of Peszneker’s success formula is his work ethic. “Soccer teaches you to work together. To rely on teammates. To persevere. Those are lifelong lessons you carry with you. It’s guidance and direction for life.”