Caleb Lawson spent two full seasons and most of another as the starting goalkeeper on Newton’s boys soccer team.
But he never wanted to play goalie.
“I didn’t want to play goalie at first. He made me love it,” Lawson said.
The he is Josh Carpenter, who spent two seasons as the Cardinal goalie coach.
Lawson competed at the goalie position against Gage Linahon and Keith Moko during his freshman season. Lawson eventually won the job and worked with Coach Carpenter a lot to perfect his craft.
“Having him around helped with Caleb’s improvement and his growth,” Newton boys soccer coach Zach Jensen said.
The improvement and growth led to a record-setting career at Newton and a chance to play goalie at the collegiate level.
Lawson will play for Iowa Wesleyan next season. He chose the program located in Mount Pleasant over interest from Grand View University and Buena Vista University.
“I chose Iowa Wesleyan because of family atmosphere, the coaches were really nice and it felt like home,” Lawson said.
Lawson made 14 starts as a freshman and tallied one assist. He played 1,120 minutes in goal and recorded 101 saves. He had a save percentage of 81.5 and the Cardinal defense recorded six shutouts.
The minutes improved to 1,465 as a junior. He made 93 saves in 19 starts that season and had a save percentage of 77.5. The Cardinals registered eight shutouts.
Newton advanced to the state tournament this past spring and Lawson made some big saves along the way. He stopped a career-best 111 shots on goal and his save percentage was 78.7.
Lawson made 21 starts and spent 1,418 minutes between the posts as a senior. The defense collected six shutouts.
“It’s all about his determination,” Jensen said. “He was pretty raw coming into his freshman year, but you could see this year he’s grown as a keeper. He wanted to get better and did.
“He has the leg to be a college punter. For him, it’ll be about technique and adjusting to the speed of the college game. That’s a hurdle for anyone at first.”
It wasn’t Lawson’s choice to become goalkeeper back in 2019. Jensen said the coaching staff just put him there because that’s where he was needed.
“It’s a tough position. We just told him that we are putting him there,” Jensen said. “It just fell into place from there.”
Jensen also is an assistant coach at Central College. The Dutch were interested in Lawson but Jensen never pushes his alma mater on his players at Newton.
“I’m never upset with what a player does,” Jensen said. “I want them to find the right fit. If this wasn’t the best fit for him, then he needs to go where it is a good fit.”
Lawson expects the battle for the starting goalie position in college to be tough. He wants to get his body into better shape and hopes to be more physical at the next level, too.
“It will be a battle. There will be some competition, but that’s what I like and what I want,” Lawson said.