No sales pitch is needed for soccer
Post Independent Sports Editor
What: Exhibition soccer match.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, with an all-ages, free-of-charge soccer clinic taking place at 5 p.m.
Where: Gates Soccer Park on the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus.
Why: Steve White, a longtime soccer coach at Glenwood Springs High School who will coach the Colorado Mountain United women’s soccer team, has teamed up with the Colorado Rapids women in an attempt to bring a high-quality soccer match to the Roaring Fork Valley.
Cost: Both the soccer clinic, and the soccer match, are free of charge.
Steve White is a salesman.
No. Really. He is.
Believe it or not, he’s not just the guy people always see walking up and down the sidelines coaching Glenwood Springs High School soccer matches. He really does do more than that, and he finds a lot of humor in how people in town identify him.
“If you ask people in town who Steve White is, they’d tell you, ‘Oh yeah. I know him. The soccer coach,” White said, smiling. “A lot of people don’t realize that I sell insurance for a living.”
Yep. White not only makes sales pitches to all-Western Slope League coaches to get his strikers or goalkeepers recognition, but he can also make you a sales pitch to insure your home or car.
No. Coaching high school soccer doesn’t pay the bills. Or the mortgage. It simply fills the man’s passion for soccer, which he’d like to share with the surrounding community.
Which leads into Saturday’s exhibition women’s soccer match at Gates Soccer Park on the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus, which begins at 7 p.m. It features Colorado Mountain United — a group of All-Star soccer players from the Roaring Fork Valley and the surrounding area — against the Colorado Rapids women.
Yes, those Colorado Rapids.
Funny thing is, White didn’t have to make much of a sales pitch for the Rapids — a professional women’s soccer team affiliated with the Rapids of Major League Soccer — to come to the area to play. In fact, the Rapids were the ones to make the sales pitch to him.
“We did it with them back in 2008, and they came to me and said ‘Hey, that was fun when we did that. Could we did it again?’” White said.
“It’ll be a nice break for them during their season,” he continued. “And for here, it will be a chance for the community to see some real good soccer.”
The Rapids women play in the W-League, which, aside from the fledgling National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) which begins play on Saturday, is the highest level of professional women’s soccer in the United States. Two of their players — Kristen Hamilton and Erin Gunther — were named to the W-League’s Team of the Week following the Rapids’ victories over the Seattle Sounders, the Santa Clarita Blue Heat and the Bay Area Breeze. It improved the Rapids’ record to 5-4-2, keeping their postseason hopes alive. They’ve won four straight overall, including Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Bay Area.
Turns out the schedule left an opening for this “friendly” match — the Rapids women don’t play their regular-season finale until July 11 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against Los Angeles. So Saturday’s match serves as a break from the grind of the regular season — something to build team morale and build more of a fan base in the state. And they’ll reach out to achieve that before the match even starts, holding a free-of-charge, one-hour soccer clinic starting at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Oh, and by the way, there’s no gate fee to watch the soccer match, either. And there’s no gate fee for the meet-and-greet for the Rapids and Colorado Mountain United players that will be held at The Grind following the soccer match.
Then again, there’s a few familiar names on CMU’s roster, also.
One is Kelsey Fauser, who graduated from Coal Ridge High School this past May and was one of the top goal scorers in Class 3A this past spring. It also includes Tori Verdiek, a successful player at Coal Ridge who now plays for McPherson College in Kansas, and Jackie Knott, who graduated from Glenwood Springs High this past spring and will play for the Colorado School of Mines in Golden in the fall.
Yeah, there will be all kinds of talent running around Field No. 1 Saturday night. It’s a definite selling point for White, who’s pretty confident about what will be on the field and what the people in attendance will see.
“We’re gonna perform,” White said. “If we get one person to come out and watch us, they’re going to get the same kind of performance as if we had 1,000 people to come out and watch us.”
Huh. That’s quite a sales pitch.
Jon Mitchell is the sports editor of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and Rifle Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at 970-384-9123, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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