Some say hockey is the sport of the North. As a trading card company based in Minnesota, we are often asked “can you make your own hockey cards?” I myself have never slapped a puck around. I did once lace up a pair of skates and wobbled my way across a frozen pond. Let’s face it. I spent most of my time on the ice on my backside. Yes, there was bruising. While I did not join any youth hockey leagues, I did know quite a few kids who did. Not once did I ever see them on any trading cards. That just wasn’t a thing. Now it is!
While hockey may rule northern states like Minnesota, it is hugely popular across the country. It only makes sense that we make custom trading cards for this sport. Our cards are professionally printed at high digital resolution on real trading card stock. Your cards can feature your team’s logo as well as your team’s colors. We’ve even included an autograph section on the front of the cards! At 20 cards per pack, they are great for sharing with family and trading with teammates. You won’t have to wait very long to get your cards in your hands, either. Your cards will typically print and ship 2-3 weeks after you place your order.
HOCKEY CARDS FOR THE WHOLE TEAM, COMPLETE WITH STATS ON THE BACK
It’s easy to create hockey cards with us. Your coach sets the team’s card template and invites the players to make their own cards. The players then upload their own photo to the front and fill out stats for the back. It’s just that easy! The awesome thing about our cards? We save your stats for up to five years. That means you won’t have to refill the same numbers each time you make a new card for the same team! Remember, coach. You can make your own card, too!
While in just his second year of professional play, Karl-Anthony Towns has already made a big impact in basketball and in trading cards. He has racked up accolades that many professional players will never achieve. One such accolade Towns achieved was being named Rookie of the Year in 2016. The year prior, Towns was named SEC Freshman of the Year. In 2014, Karl was awarded Gatorade National Player of the Year. Yeah, that’s pretty good.
Before comparisons to greats like Michael Jordan were made, “KAT” made a name for himself on the high school hard court. The son of a basketball coach, a young Towns would often practice with the JV squad where his father coached. While attending St. Joseph High School, he helped win state championships in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Towns was ranked the top high school basketball player by ESPN in his Freshman year. At the age of 16, he was named to the National Basketball Team for the Dominican Republic.
To say this kind of play got Towns noticed is an understatement. If emojis could be posted here, there would likely be plenty of “fire’s” and “100’s” to get the point across. The things he was doing on the court would elicit such graphics. He posted a rare quadruple-double—TWICE. In short, KAT’s strong play in his only year of college play helped put him at the top of many draft rankings.
FROM HIGH SCHOOL STANDOUT TO TRADING CARD STAR
Karl-Anthony was the first overall draft pick on June 25, 2015 (my birthday, incidentally). His professional debut came about in late October of that year, a game in which he helped his team win. Due to his outstanding play, Towns was awarded Rookie of the Month honors each month of the pro basketball season, and he set team records along the way. Towns closed out his first year as a pro by becoming Rookie of the Year.
Towns is now in his second year of professional play and he continues to impress. He posted the first triple-double of his career in late December of 2016 while he scored 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and made 10 assists.
This kind of ridiculously impressive play is part of what makes his trading cards so sought after. While he continues to excel in his professional career, his cards remain just as much of a collection centerpiece as ever. I see his name and cards pop up on our Twitter feed more than any other basketball player. It seems his presence in the hobby has boosted interest in basketball trading cards by both collectors and sellers. While many casual collectors may lean more toward baseball or football, Towns has done a lot to get basketball back on the cardboard map.
CALEDONIA COACH CLAIMING TITLES, CREATING FUTURE FOOTBALL CARD STARS
For the eagle-eyed readers who saw my previous post, you might have seen me in my teen years on a baseball card sporting a black and gold pullover jersey with the word “Warriors” on the front. That’s the team name of the town where our featured guest and I attended school and participated in sports. That small town of Caledonia, Minnesota didn’t have much of a football program back in those days. They certainly weren’t on a football card. That’s all thanks in part to two men: Carl Fruechte and Brent Schroeder.
Fruechte (who happened to be my soccer coach at one point) began the turnaround leading his team to a record of 111-31 in his career before stepping down in 2010. Schroeder, then an assistant coach, swapped jobs with Fruechte and went an impressive 76-3. This year, Schroeder, winner of four state championships in his six years as head coach, once again played the old switcharoo with Coach Fruechte. It doesn’t really seem to matter, though. With both men at the helm leading the charge, there may certainly be more championships on display at Caledonia in the future.
The football program that Fruechte and Schroeder have put together has not only made their team a juggernaut, it has also begun to develop collegiate and professional players. Names like Karl Klug and even Fruechte’s own son, Isaac, have made it onto NFL squads. Before now, having a professional athlete come out of little old Caledonia, Minnesota was unheard of. The way things are going these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors have a breakout star in the making right this very moment—destined to be on his or her very own football cards.
Brent, father of Alexis (11) and Kody (8), isn’t just a dad and a coach of a very-difficult-to-beat-so-why-even-bother-showing-up football team. He also runs a landscaping business and, starting this year, is a School Counselor at CHS. It’s kind of impressive that this kid who I graduated with is able to split his time up with so many things and still create a monster football program. I caught up with Brent just before their 2016 season began and tossed a few questions his way.
VTC: Coach Schroeder, thank you for taking time to answer these questions for us today. First of all, congratulations on the outstanding season you and your team had last year. Back in our day, Caledonia wasn’t exactly known for its football program; in fact, we only had one State Championship to our name and that was won in 1976. Since then, however, Caledonia has racked up titles in ’07, ’08, ’10, ’11, ’12, and 2015. What have been the biggest changes in Caledonia’s football program from the time when you were playing on the team, to now as a coach of the team?
BS: The biggest thing we have changed is the culture and year-round dedication by our student athletes.
VTC: To give an example of just how dominating your team was in 2015: each of your wins were blowouts, you scored no fewer than 34 points in any given game, your team allowed an average of 4.7 points per game, and you outscored your opponents 131-6 in the State Championship playoffs; and, you clinched the title with a remarkable 40-0 victory. What are the biggest challenges you face as a coach with such an impressive team?
BS: The biggest challenge we face is continuing to have enough athletes out and keep them on the right track. Our kids are doing a good job in the offseason and have seen what it takes year after year to get to the top. As long as our kids keep working like they do we will have successful student athletes in Caledonia.
VTC: Caledonia’s football program has produced two current NFL players: Karl Klug with the Titans and Isaac Fruechte with the Vikings. What does it mean to you, not only as a native of the Caledonia area, but also as a coach, to see homegrown talent come out of the same football program that you now lead?
BS: We are proud of all our former players and the accomplishments they have achieved. As far as Isaac and Karl it gives every child in southern Minnesota a chance to dream and believe about being great in whatever drives passion in their lives.
VTC: Speaking of Isaac Fruechte, he and some of his Vikings teammates were recently in Caledonia honoring your team as the first ever Minnesota Football Program of the Year. In Minnesota, there are seven Football State Champions (including 9-Man), but yours is the only team with the distinction of Program of the Year. With all the accolades and accomplishments already under your belt, in a very short span of time, what’s next for Coach Schroeder and the Caledonia Warriors football team?
BS: One game at a time. La Crescent is game number one for 2016! (Update: Caledonia handled La Crescent 45-14 for their 40th consecutive Conference victory, then went on to win yet another Class AA State Championship.)
When we were kids, Caledonia football games were just something to do on Friday nights. Now, they are an absolute must-see. Congratulations to you and your team on all of your successes. Good luck in the future and thank you again for taking the time to talk to Varsity Trading Cards!
What, exactly, is Varsity Trading Cards? So glad I asked! Varsity Trading Cards is a company devoted to designing and producing trading cards for High School Student Athletes. Why would I want to print baseball cards (and many other sports) for High Schoolers? Well, firstly, I remember my more formative childhood years as a scrawny athlete. I remember how fun it was to play baseball and soccer year-round every year until I graduated. Unfortunately, I have very little else other than my own flawed memory to look back on. However, there was one year that a local photographer came around to snap silly posed shots of our baseball team to be used on trading cards. Little did we know these cards were simply pictures on photo paper with stickers on the back for us to fill out.
Secondly, I’m a graphic designer that loves to create trading cards. I’ve also been known to collect a baseball card now and then. I mean… I have a few here and there. In my Baseball Card Sanctuary. I always wished that the trading card that I got when I was a kid was more professional. It should have felt like I got something that I could have pulled out of a pack of actual baseball cards. I wanted to be able to look at the back and know that someone took the time to care about the WHOLE card, not just the photo on the front. Now that I’m all grown up, I felt it was time to give student athletes the chance that I missed out on.
CUSTOM TRADING CARDS WITH YOUR OWN STATS ON THE BACK!
What I’m offering is a real, honest-to-goodness product, not some flimsy photograph with a sticker on the back. These aren’t knock-off designs, either. These cards follow the tradition of many sports trading cards and incorporate elements that are thus far unique to Varsity Trading Cards. So how do you get your stats on the back?
Well, here’s how it works. A high school team’s coach creates an account, sets their team’s card template by using their team’s color and logo. The coach then invites players to create their own cards by uploading their own photos and providing their own stats. BONUS: we keep your stats in our database for up to five years. This means the stats you enter this year can be used next year! We don’t just print baseball cards, either. We also do football, basketball, volleyball, hockey, and more! Hey, coach. You can make your own card, too!
AND THE REALLY COOL PART IS…
These cards are offered DIRECTLY to the student athletes who order from Varsity Trading Cards; you can’t get them anywhere else!
We’ve built a fun, interactive, and intuitive card designer that develops high resolution images that are sent to a vendor that can print baseball cards. After a few weeks, you end up with real trading cards customized with your own photo, your team’s logo, and your own stats. You can autograph them, trade them with teammates, share them with friends, give them as gifts, and probably like a ton of other things, too!
I’m really excited to be able to provide a product that I wish I could have had when I was in high school. I can’t wait to hear what you think of your cards. I really think you’re going to love them!