High School Sports


'No doubt about it;' Injured keeper Berg mentors senior season

Laurel Noah Berg.png
Posted at 12:43 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 16:04:36-04

LAUREL - The moment it happened Noah Berg didn't know what went wrong.

"I just had an adrenaline rush, took five minutes off then skied down the mountain," Berg recalled to MTN Sports.

He "skied down the mountain" moments after shredding his ACL last winter in Red Lodge. Just out for a ski day with buddies, Berg said he "planted on a mogul" and there it went -- along with his senior soccer season.

And what a loss it was for Laurel.

"He was one of our best players on the field by far -- all-state goalkeeper for us," boys head coach Drew Davis said.

Berg was more like Superman for a painfully young Laurel boys team a year ago; one that at times started six freshmen and only scored one goal all season. Berg, along with a strong defensive backfield, at times almost single-handedly kept the Locomotives in multiple matches.

"Without Noah, I think a lot of our games might have been double digit losses," defender Kadin LaCasse admitted.

"Aside from being a really solid goalkeeper, he's also been a really good defender," said Davis.

Laurel's boys missed this fall's playoffs with a 3-7-2 record, but despite the loss of their senior keeper made promising strides with 23 goals scored compared to just one a year ago.

Berg's ACL damage in February was too drastic to recover from by the start of high school's season in August. On the shelf with an injury, it would've been easy to bail on the soccer circle, but instead, Berg showed up to nearly every match and practice to mentor.

"I just sort of looked at him and said, you're still going to be there, right? And he said, oh yeah, coach," recalled Davis.

"He almost has taken on a coaching role on our team with a lot of the younger kids," LaCasse said.

Berg says the thought of missing out never crossed his mind.

"From the start, there was no doubt about it. I was like, I'll be there," he said. "If they need help with a certain drill, or if they need help with just one certain move, I'm there for them."

And he has been. Berg was at spring practice just two weeks after surgery and plans on playing club soccer next spring if his physical therapy grind goes well.

Davis says his senior is just a guy any coach would want around.

"He's an official, great player, student, he's the kind of guy you can just count on to provide really good wisdom."

Berg's style of play has also been a valuable lesson for Laurel's younger players, no matter the position.

"I like to play aggressive, I like to get on the ground a lot and I've played in the field before so I can read players," he said. "That definitely helps out a lot, knowing what players are thinking, where they going to go with the ball and how they're going to strike it."

All qualities that could help a college team next fall. And Berg already has already seen interest.