CMC soccer program recruits from across the nation
SPRING VALLEY – Sean Hogan found Colorado Mountain College on the Internet. Brian Beddall was discovered at a showcase tournament in Oregon.Patrick Shepard didn’t need to do any searching, nor did he really need to be found. He grew up a Glenwood Springs High School Demon, smack dab in the center of CMC’s shadow.Dave Strickbine followed Shepard’s path to the soccer field at CMC’s Spring Valley campus. He graduated from Bridges and played soccer at Basalt.When cobbling together his roster every year, CMC men’s soccer coach Steve White uses whatever means possible. Coaching for a two-year school with a seemingly revolving door spinning players through, he has no choice.The result: a medley of talented players from all parts of the country. It’s common for a four-year school to have a healthy pool of out-of-state players, but a two-year college?Think again.
And, no matter where they came from, all White’s players are in Glenwood for the same reason: to play soccer.Strickbine and Shepard’s short course to CMC is of great contrast to, say, Nicolas Pfautz, who somehow found his way here from Virginia. Growing up an hour away from Washington, D.C., living in tiny Glenwood is surely a bit of a culture shock for the freshman.”A little bit,” he conceded. “Things close a little earlier in the evening. It’s a different environment. Things are a little more laid back.”The mountains draw playersPfautz actually heard about CMC through a friend and decided to give Colorado a try. “Colorado seemed pretty interesting,” he said, adding that a decent-sized mountain where he grew up stood maybe 3,000 feet. “And that was like 45 minutes away.”Like Pfautz, Beddall wanted to continue his soccer career. The Pacific Northwesterner – he hails from Seattle, specifically – was spotted by White at a tourney in Oregon. White says he goes to probably three or four such tournaments every offseason.
Having a campus centered in the Rocky Mountains is a strong selling point for White.”The environment, being out here, I don’t know if I could think of a better place to go to school,” Beddall said with a grin and casting a glance in Mount Sopris’ direction. “Look around.”Hogan agrees. When searching for a college, he wanted something with an outdoor education program and soccer. A school in Colorado was an obvious choice for the Chicago-area native.”I like to do stuff outdoors,” he said. “I want to be a trail guide or something like that.”White definitely uses the recreation-rich area to his advantage when on the recruiting trail.”I think that’s a big plus,” said the coach. “It’s a great college you can get a great education at, and there’s no better environment than clean mountain air and beautiful scenery.”A tough trail
Recruiting is a never-ending job, and perhaps the toughest part of being a collegiate coach. The infancy of CMC’s soccer program – it’s in its fourth year – adds to the challenge.”We’re pioneering the process,” he noted. “But the process is speeding up, though. We’re getting more results, more contacts. The quality of the recruits and visitors is getting better.”Some players find White. Some players White finds. The longtime soccer coach, who came to CMC after a lengthy tenure as head boys and girls soccer coach at Glenwood Springs High School, spends the spring offseason checking out club teams and going to tournaments. He catches whatever games he can during the Eagles’ season.”I do most recruiting in the offseason because of our schedule,” he said. “It’s easier to see the club teams more. I always try to make (the high school) playoff games.”And his time on the recruiting trail has yielded results. White’s importing more players than ever from the Front Range. The Western Slope’s well-represented with players from Glenwood, Rifle, Basalt, Carbondale and Palisade. And, of course, there are the handful of out-of-staters.White’s Eagles, just 2-8 overall so far this year, have yet to see the success he’d like them to see, but that will come with time. As his recruiting Rolodex file thickens and his program continues to establish itself, the coach expects brighter days.Said White: “CMC is still new to the athletic world.”
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Glenwood Springs High School’s girls basketball team needed one last win to defend its conference title Saturday afternoon on the road at Battle Mountain.