I'm sharing information Nokomis Pride FC provided this month: Established in 2022, Nokomis Pride FC is a soccer team made up of players aged 30 and above, mainly residing in the Nokomis neighborhood. It all began with a small group of parents organizing friendly kids vs. parents pick-up games in the fall of 2021 following the end of their kid’s fall soccer season. Recognizing the growing interest, Stefanie Beniek took the reins, forming and now actively managing the adult soccer team known as Nokomis Pride FC. Sixteen players play year-round in 7v7 games. In the summer and fall seasons, they play with Minneapolis Park and Rec adult soccer leagues. Then in the winter and spring they play in the 30/35+ league with City Sport Connections. This keeps them busy as games are almost every Sunday year round!
The team’s name, 'Nokomis Pride FC,' combines a sense of pride for the Nokomis neighborhood with a nod to the LGBTQ+ community. Originally rooted in Nokomis, the core group resides in this neighborhood, but the team has evolved to include players from all corners of the city. The name reflects their commitment to inclusivity, signifying that while not all members hail from Nokomis, everyone is welcome.
When the team formed in the fall of 2022, a few of the players had never played soccer before, but had played other sports, which translated well into soccer. The more experienced players created various drills and training to get the new players quickly up to speed. “It’s a fun way to exercise and hang out with people,” said Stefanie Beniek the team's founder and manager, “we are definitely getting in shape while doing it, but it’s more interesting than just going to the gym.” With each passing season, their skills have elevated. "We have leveled up," Stefanie remarked, emphasizing the team's continuous development and growth. In contrast to some teams that have been established for 15-20 years, they are relatively new to the adult rec soccer scene.
The team has even found sponsors over the years, such as Family Tree Acupuncture, KNO Woodworks, and Townhall Lanes, to offset registration fees and jerseys. “We might not always win, but we always look good.” She said pointing out that the entire team bought Nokomis East Neighborhood Association’s latest jerseys last year.
Given that they play every Sunday, having an abundance of substitutes is essential. This not only accounts for the occasional absence of players but also provides flexibility in case of illness or injury. Stefanie keeps a list of potential substitutes she can text for a game to see if they are available. People looking to get back into soccer should check out 9th Street Soccer & Coffee. Many players from the team play in their 8am 35+ year old pick up game on Saturday mornings.
Nokomis Pride FC is one of the many things that makes Nokomis East special. It’s so nice to know that there are sports teams and pickup games available to anyone who is looking to make friends or get in shape.