Congratulations to De Pere High School on being presented with the Boys Soccer Sportsmanship Award!

We believe there’s something more important than just winning or losing a tournament. We believe that the team, school, and fans who support their athletes with dignity and class are the true champions. That’s why we’ve proudly sponsored the WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award for 56 years. 

We would like to congratulate De Pere High School on being this year’s recipient of the Boys Soccer Sportsmanship award. 

When talking with Head Coach, Dusty Rhodes, we asked him what this award meant to him as a coach, the team and community along with how they teach their athletes about sportsmanship. 

2020-2021 season was a very unique and special season for us and many other sports programs.  It started out with us not sure we would even have a season after our fall season was postponed.  Then all the time and energy spent by administrators behind the scenes to make this Alternate Spring Boys soccer season happen for so many.  All along the way our families and players were supportive and understanding as we navigated our way through this incredible season and our run to State. 

Finding out that our boys, the program, school and community were recognized for the way they handled themselves throughout this run, the Redbird Way, only adds to the legacy of this team and it’s supporters.  This award is a community award and I hope our community/school is proud of everyone that contributed to this recognition.  As a coach, you can only have a sense of pride when your team and its fan base are recognized for an award like this.  Making a run in the state tournament and finishing State Runners up is not something that happens often for many programs.  You hope your community is up to the opportunity when you get it and enjoys the ride, supporting their team and the opponents along the way. 

Sportsmanship is a big part of sports and life, we all know when we see it done right and when we see it done poorly.  As a program we talk a lot about controlling what you can control.  You cannot always control the outcome of a game or the way you are treated as a person or a team.  You can control how you choose to treat others and how you react in those situations or moments as an individual and a team.  This is also a community award as it takes a community to instill these values in young adults. 

Coach Rhodes has been at De Pere High School for 8 years. To him, coaching is so rewarding, he enjoys seeing the relationships that are established and grow within the team and with himself from year to year. 

Coach Rhodes said, “Seeing a group of teenagers come together and share in a common goal and then being willing to put the time, effort, sacrifice in to accomplish that goal is rewarding.  Seeing kids put their team’s goals and needs ahead of their own and seeing them build lifelong friendships through soccer is extremely gratifying.”

Congratulation again on a great season and winning the WIAA/Rural Mutual Sportsmanship award. This is a great achievement for the De Pere community.