Members of the 2023 Greene County boys soccer team celebrate with their fans after earning a trip to the State soccer tournament on May 24. The Rams qualified for their third State tournament with a 3-0 win over Chariton. Chariton goalie Jayden Allen Winston (right) blocks the ball as Greene County junior Gesser Gutierres (left) tries to kick it past him. Allen Winston made the stop, but Greene County won the game 3-0.


Greene County boys soccer team earns third trip to State soccer; falls to Gilbert in the opening round


That crucial next step in the evolution of the boys soccer program is still a work in progress. 

Last week the Rams proved, once again, that they were able to get to the State tournament. They left no doubt in a convincing 3-0 victory over Chariton. However, for the third time in school history, the quarterfinal round of the State soccer tournament proved to be their undoing. 

In their return to the Cownie Soccer complex the Greene County soccer team fell 5-0 to third-seeded Gilbert.

In many ways, everything that had gone right for the Rams in their substate final game seemed to go wrong for the Rams in the opening round of the State tournament. 

“We seem to always rise to the occasion in the playoffs, and I’ve been proud of the effort that everyone has put into this program throughout the years,” said Greene County head coach Carl Behne after their substate final win. “Getting to State is neat, but we need to take that next step to get into the semifinals. Getting there is fun, but it is even more fun to get there and win.”

For at least one more year, the Rams are going to have to wait to see what playing in a semi-final game at the State tournament is all about. 

In order to get to the State tournament, their third appearance in the five years that the Greene County soccer team has existed, the Rams had to survive a defensive-minded game against Chariton.

On the hot and slightly humid night against the Chargers the Rams developed a strategy to take the bolt out of the Chargers right away. 

“They came out strong and tested our defense in the beginning, and honestly, with the heat that’s kind of what we wanted them to do,” Behne said. “Guys tend to tire out faster on nights like tonight, so we strategically let some of those early through balls get past us without much fight. We wanted to play them well, and let them tire themselves out early on.”

The strategy seemed to work to perfection. 

As expected the Chargers sprinted towards the ball early and often in the opening minutes of the contest. It proved to be too much too fast though as the Chargers started to lose their breath early on. 

From there Greene County and Gesser Gutierres especially took control of the game. 

“We really wanted to shift gears and possess the ball more in our half and the last third of the field with about 25 minutes to go in the first half,” Behne said. “We were able to do that and get a few goals from that strategy.”

The first goal had nothing to do with tiredness, it was all determination from the Rams. 

Gutierrez had dribbled the ball into the penalty box before he passed the ball off to Jose Velazco. Velazco tried to take a shot, but the ball was blocked by a pair of feet as the players from both teams gathered in a bundle around the penalty shot area. The ball bounced off shins, feet and a knee or two for a few minutes, causing Chariton’s goalie to abandon the net in an effort to mitigate the wild bounces, and Greene County shots. 

Gutierrez gained control of the ball, and took his shot at the wide open net, scoring with 23:38 remaining in the first half. 

About 10 minutes later the fresher legs of the Rams proved to be a difference again. 

A long kick into the penalty box turned into a foot race. Gutierres, who had saved his legs, was able to rush into the penalty box, staying onside, but out running the defense. The Charger goalie had moved out to block the bouncing ball, but he blocked the ball right back to Gutierres who, once again, was able to fire the ball into a wide-open net. 

With just two minutes left in the first half Gutierres was challenged with a net that was defended for one of the few times in the game. 

Again, his fresh legs were the difference maker as Gutierres was able to dribble around the defense and fire the ball past the goalie for the goal.

That proved to be the final goal of the game as Greene County played defensively throughout the second half to secure the win. 


In the State quarterfinals the Rams were once again met with hot temperatures. 

This time the hot temperatures seemed to play against the Rams as Gilbert won the game 5-0 after scoring four goals in the first half. 

A strong wind blew through the field at the Cownie soccer complex for the third State game in Greene County history. The Rams chose to have the wind at their back in the first half, but that didn’t seem to help them as Gilbert proved right away that they were as advertised, entering the tournament as the No. 3 seed. 

It didn’t take long for Gilbert to score as they were able to score 10 minutes into the contest to take an early lead. 

In the 13th minute of the contest it was deja vu as the Tigers scored again to make it 2-0. The same two players on the first goal had connected again on the second goal. 

In the 30th minute the Rams were trying all they could to keep Gilbert from swarming around the net. This time Gabe Ebersole, the Greene County goalie, had left the net to try and make a dive on the play. He misjudged the attacking speed of Gilbert and the Tigers were able to shoot the ball into the back of the net for the third goal of the game. 

Gilbert scored a fourth goal in the closing minutes of the first half. 

Early in the second half Gilbert continued to score as they scored the fifth goal just five minutes into the new half. 

From there it was a defensive battle for both teams. Greene County pushed the ball down field several times, but all of their shots were either challenged, or just missed their mark throughout the second half. 

The one slight hope for a goal came off a corner kick, but the ball twisted right into the hands of the Gilbert goalie which limited the threat. 

While Greene Counties season ended before their ultimate goal it is hard to argue with a State tournament appearance. 

“Really proud of the guys and proud of the effort that the guys have given me all year,” Behne said. “I couldn’t ask more of the effort that the seven seniors have given me all year. The senior group is a great group and a fun group.”

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161