The Lommel brothers pursue their football passion with Dynamo FC Minnesota

ST. CLOUD – Logan and Leighton Lommel have been mainstays of Dynamo FC since its inception in 2017, starting with Division 4 of the Minnesota Amateur Soccer League.

Leighton graduated from Apollo in 2016, winning a state football title in 2014. He was already playing college football in Northern Michigan and possibly St. John’s when Dynamo was created, while Logan was still a player. high school for the Eagles.

Logan’s outstanding play against older players over the summer quickly earned him a team nickname: golden boy.

“He was scoring goals; he was so young and his heart is so great when it comes to the game, ”said co-coach Ed Johnson. “You’re not going to find a family as focused on football as these guys.”

Logan has seen a big transformation from his best-scoring days at Apollo, where he took home all-state honors after school records for 25 goals and 24 assists during his senior season in 2018.

Dynamo FC's Logan Lommel controls the ball in midfield against Force FC on Thursday, July 22, 2021, at Whitney Park in St. Cloud.

He moved to Division I from western Illinois, with limited playing time in his first season.

“Playing at this level really forced me to do the little things well and simplify my game,” said Logan. “In high school I played a little more offensively and started to use my fitness and communication better.”

“I’m a whole different player (than) you would have seen in high school with my attitude,” Logan continued. “I probably run twice as much… I had no idea how effective it is and how truly selfless it is. I was a little more selfish (before). I learned a lot about being a good teammate, especially when I had to take some time off the bench and really improve. “

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This showed it last year, with Logan being named the team’s most improved player after making eight starts in the 10-game spring season. He played several 90-minute games, also scoring a goal against NAIA champions Central Methodist.

“Logan is the one who always pushes us to the next level; he’s the engine,” Johnson said. “And you notice, he doesn’t go out. He has a passion beyond anything I’ve ever encountered in football.”

Dynamo FC's Logan Lommel slides in to win the ball against Force FC on Thursday, July 22, 2021, at Whitney Park in St. Cloud.

The project

Johnson and his co-trainer Eduardo Silva founded the club in 2017, with the development of local talents during the summers as a focal point. They added a lot of material along the way, winning Division titles in 2017 and 2019 and finishing second in 2018 to move from the lowest tier of Division 4 to Division I.

Leighton still remembers sitting in front of the computer in their parents’ basement, designing the logo and colors that now adorn the flashy black and yellow kits.

Dynamo’s first year in the top flight has been odd, with all games being played on the road and the team being tinkered with due to the COVID-19 pandemic last summer.

This season has returned to a certain normality. After a 3-7 record in Division I last year, the Dynamo are 9-4-2 with three games remaining in the regular season.

A recent three-game losing streak made a division title less likely after a 9-1-1 start, but key points were still at stake on Thursday night when Dynamo FC hosted their final home game of the season. year at Whitney Park. against Force FC, fourth.

Dynamo FC's Leighton Lommel smiles during a dead ball against Force FC on Thursday, July 22, 2021, at Whitney Park in St. Cloud.

Force FC entered the table first at the start of the first half, but after a few chances forward Ryan DeBois buried a goal on a fine run to tie the game.

The visitors took the lead at half-time after a long free kick in the dying minutes of the first half, but Dynamo FC did not panic. They applied more pressure at the top, creating turnovers and getting chances at point blank range.

After Debois added his second to tie the game at 2-2, a header from Jack Thorkelson hit the bar before bouncing off the keeper to score a shocking goal to lead 3-2. But Dynamo FC couldn’t keep it up, giving themselves a late corner opportunity as Force FC recovered in a 3-3 draw.

“Even in the last three games 2-1, we felt we were the better team every game, it was just rebounds that didn’t work,” said Leighton Lommel. “The third goal the rebounds did go our way, we just couldn’t keep one more goal.”

Many new faces have joined the club, including two of Logan’s teammates from Western Illinois at DeBois and Devan DiGrado. DiGrado provided DeBois with an assist on his first of two goals.

They also used speed on the outside, with wingers like Daniel Wee and Abdiaziz Hundule providing open passes into the box for forwards to put into the net. Those same players push high late in the game to create key turnovers.

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Dynamo FC's Ryan Debois and Logan Lommel celebrate a goal against Force FC on Thursday July 22, 2021 at Whitney Park in St. Cloud.

“We were waiting for this moment; from our first year in Division 4, we thought we could play at this level,” said Leighton. “It took those years to climb the ladder.”

The level of talent is high and even the relegation zone teams have stolen points from third-placed Dynamo. Division I teams have dangerous players who will quickly profit from mistakes.

Logan said the Dynamo repeatedly heard from other Division 2 teams that they would be killed in the Premier League and fall back immediately after being relegated.

Instead, they’re still able to make a run for the MASL’s top crown.

“It’s always been a project that we want people to be a part of if they care about the game in this area,” said Leighton. “For everyone in central Minnesota, this team is meant to be for them and to be proud of. And I think we did.”

Zach Dwyer is a sports reporter and photographer for the St. Cloud Times. Contact him at 320-406-5660 or [email protected] Follow him on twitter @sctimeszach.

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