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Summer soccer teaches teamwork, responsibility—and fun

August 22nd, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photos by Caresa Alexander

“Militia on three! One! Two! Three! Militia!” This was one of many cheers heard echoing across the soccer fields this summer in Nibley and Hyrum, as teams from the Utah and Idaho youth soccer associations battled each other the 6th annual Cache Valley Cup.

Spectators lined the sides of the field to watch and cheer on the players.

“It makes you feel like you are on a pro team,” said Brooklyn Andersen of Hyrum, the goalkeeper on an under-12 girls team called Thunderfoot.

“Like in pro, some people don’t even know the soccer players,” she said. “They just go and watch because it is a fun sport to watch. It feels really cool because you know that you are doing good and people want to come and watch you.”

This was Brooklyn’s second year playing on a competitive team. She said it is more intense than her recreation program, but she still enjoys playing.

“The Cache Valley Cup is probably the best part about soccer,” she said.

Brooklyn’s mom, Jodie Andersen, had not heard of the Cache Valley Cup until Brooklyn started to play, but she has quickly learned and has spent much time driving to her children’s sporting events.

“When they said Cache Valley Cup, honestly, I didn’t even know what they were talking about,” Jodie said. “But it is huge. They put a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of hours into preparing and getting ready for this.”

Even though it is a hectic schedule, Jodie said she has seen Brooklyn improve as a player and a person.

“Soccer has taught her responsibility more than just athletic things,” Jodie said.

As an example, Jodie said that Brooklyn had a chance to travel to visit her cousins this summer, but chose to stay and play in the Cache Valley Cup.

“I am committed to the team so I can’t give up on them,” Brooklyn said.

“She had to say, ‘Sorry, I can’t go,’” Jodie said. “She’s had to learn responsibility and commitment. I think soccer—any sport, really—teaches them responsibility and commitment.”

Leanna Lammert is also a soccer mom. She sat along the sidelines in her camp chair under an umbrella and watched her son Weston Tsosie defend the goal. Weston plays for the under-13 boys Militia team. She has noticed that Weston has also matured as he has played soccer.

“Being on a team like this gives them a little more of an ownership,” Lammert said. She noted that Weston has gained more confidence as he has played on a competitive team where team play is emphasized.

“I know Mark (Anderson, the Militia coach) has been really good [about making this] a team effort, not an individual sport,” she said. “It is team sport. He has really worked on the team aspect of it. That is what his practices are. They do individual, but it is a team effort.”

This was evident as the ball was passed up the field between the Militia players, who were easily recognizable in their bright orange soccer shirts.

Lammert said the competitive team is more work than the recreation team but Weston still has fun.

Another fun part of the tournament included the annual Coaches vs. Referees game. On Friday night, Logan residents Kathryn Oldham and her daughter Elizabeth sat on the cool, green grass in the shade of a tree and watched the match. Elizabeth’s friend Sadie also sat with them as they watched their Infinity soccer coach Jeff Ginn play.

“I think it is fun for the kids to see their coaches play,” Kathryn said.

Along the sidelines kids cheered for their coaches and, after one coach made a goal, he ran to the sidelines and high-fived his young fans.

Elizabeth and Sadi agreed they liked playing on a competitive team more than a recreation team.

“We can play harder teams and learn more skills,” Elizabeth said.

“And we can get better,” Sadie added.

Last year, the girls won first place and Kathryn’s older daughter, Hailey, won the Golden Foot Award after she scored the most goals of the tournament.

They agreed the tournament carnival was their favorite part of the Cache Valley Cup. The carnival included a barbecue, inflatable slide and bounce house and a chance to meet a representative from RéAL Salt Lake, Utah’s professional team. Kathryn said it is an important event for the community to support.

“It brings everybody together and you can make friends with other families and other soccer teams,” she said.


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