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The itch to return to head coaching was too great for Dave Gamble to ignore.

Gamble was named as the head boys soccer coach for Davenport North last week after serving as an assistant at Bettendorf since 2010.

Before that, he coached at Davenport Central, guiding the Blue Devils to their only state tournament trip in 2009.

"I enjoyed my time at Davenport Central, and I enjoyed a different challenge at Bettendorf," Gamble said. "So I thought, you know what? Maybe it's time for another challenge."

Gamble has a wealth of experience coaching soccer. He formed the FCA Eagles club team in 2007, which went 223-28-16 in four years and produced several members of the Bettendorf and Davenport Assumption teams that went to state each of the last two seasons.

He left Central after the 2009 season to be a part of the Bulldogs' soccer team under Ben Pennington and coach his son, Dawson, along with several former members of the Eagles. While Gamble was there, the Bulldogs reached the state tournament four times, finishing second this past June.

"I can't put into words how special it was," Dave said. "It was a father's dream, a coach's dream to watch a whole group of kids grow from 7 all the way to 18 years old and see all the success they had."

With Dawson graduating, Dave, who teaches fifth grade at McKinley Elementary, felt it was time to move back to the head coaching role, with even more experience than the first time around.

"I believe the time I had at Bettendorf helped me see a different culture in an athlete," he said. "How important the weight room is, how important a commitment to multiple sports, a commitment to the sport you're in at that time, and it also showed me to give that opportunity to a student-athlete whenever I can."

The North job opened up after Carey Sodawasser stepped down with his daughter an incoming freshman on the girls soccer team.

The Wildcats have struggled recently, going 3-11 last season, but eight of those losses came by two goals or fewer. 

"Carey Sodawasser was doing a really good job at North," Gamble said. "Maybe the results didn't always show it, but they were really competitive on the field. So one thing I want to do is continue that, and hopefully with some of my experience, we can maybe jump up over that edge that he started."

With a young roster, Gamble doesn't know if that will happen right away, but he hopes he can start by continuing to build on the foundation already established, from the varsity level down.

"I'm looking to make a really competitive team, and when you're competitive, usually good things happen," Gamble said. "We're going to have some growing pains, but we'll have some games within the games to keep the confidence up and strive for that five to seven year plan of let's do something special at North."


Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times