by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor
There’s probably several reasons to become a goalkeeper. Maybe you enjoy having much depend upon you. Maybe it’s wearing a snazzy jersey of your own choosing. Maybe you want to avoid about 5 miles per match like your teammates.
For Cody Christ, though, it came down to one simple thing.
“Making the big saves!” he said. “When you can do that, it’s thrilling.”
Elk River-Zimmerman’s senior net-minder has made enough of those to be named to the coaches association Class AA all-state team and to help his team reach the state tournament with a 13-3-3 record.
“Cody has been a rock for our team since he came into the program,” coach Aaron Lindquist said. “He is a three-year starter and a two-year captain. We will miss his leadership and poise next season.”
Christ played in the field for a while in grade school, but once he got between the posts, he stayed there. He broke into varsity with one emergency start in ninth grade and now holds the Elk River record for wins by a goalie with 31.
His statistics were 1.77 goals-against and .798 save percentage as a sophomore, 1.1 and .873 as a junior, and 0.68 and .860 as a senior with 11 shutouts.
Christ deflects the credit: “We always have four solid defenders, and it all starts up front anyway. If the guys up front control the ball, you don’t have to face many shots.”
Lindquist said the team counts on Christ for at least one big save per game to win their typically low-scoring games and the veteran keeps delivering. This year, the coach assessed, Christ has “improved his communication and goal kicks, and his catches out of the air in traffic are the best I have ever seen.”
Asked to rate his best save as an Elk, Christ picked a leaping catch he made against Eden Prairie as a junior that was photographed by the paper. Blaine coach Barry Arrowsmith might vote for a last-second save Christ made against his club this year, diving backwards, to preserve a 2-2 tie.
In 10th grade, Christ missed several games due to a gruesome collision that broke his eye socket and cheekbone, but he returned strong as junior “unfazed by the injury,” Lindquist said.
As for his jersey, Christ favors a black-and-green one his dad found online. If the opponent wears black, he goes with the school-provided yellow jersey.
Christ said his two biggest thrills as an Elk both came in the last week – beating Anoka 1-0 in overtime to earn a state trip and hearing his name called as an all-stater at the pre-state banquet.
What does it take to be a good goalkeeper, he was asked?
“The main thing is you have to keep focused. If you let up for one second, you can give up an easy goal,” Christ said, adding that physically it helps a lot to be a good jumper.
The 6-foot, 170-pound athlete’s other sport is basketball. He was a JV guard last year. He hopes to continue his soccer career next year, probably at U of M at Morris.
THE CHRIST SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18… Family: parents Terry and Jeanna; brother Breck, sister Lauren … Sports: soccer, basketball … Academics: 3.7 GPA … College plans: probably UM-Morris, soccer, major undecided
Favorite stuff — Class: math … TV show: “How I Met Your Mother” … Movie: “Shawshank Redemption” … Music: rock and rap, especially 3 Days Grace … Book: “I Am Legend” … Team: Wild … Athletes: Paul Martin, Tim Howard … Food: Pepperoni or cheese pizza …. Drink: Powerade blue … Kickback activity: video games, especially “Call to Glory” … Would like to visit: Colorado