United Select holds own vs. Force Super 20s
GFlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
SPRING VALLEY, Colorado – Three practices. That’s all Colorado Mountain United Select had to work with in preparation for Friday’s Emily Johnson Exhibition Game.
Regardless, a cast of female soccer players, of varying ages and from all over the Western Slope, managed to come together and hold their own against a group of potential professionals.
Playing in front of a huge home crowd that filled up the sideline at Gates Soccer Park, the United side kept it close until late in the second half against the Colorado Force Super 20s, a reserve squad for the Loveland-based, pro-am Colorado Force women’s team. Two late goals gave the Super 20s a 4-1 win.
“It was a great game, a great crowd,” said former Colorado Mountain College coach Steve White, who pieced together the Colorado Mountain United side. “The girls realized they could play. They did well. The other team was well organized. You could tell they’ve been together for a while.”
White’s squad, which featured current and former high school and college standouts with Western Slope roots, had just those three practices to ready itself for Friday’s game.
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“I think we meshed pretty well,” said the United’s Sam Wilson, a senior-to-be at Coal Ridge High School. “For how short a time we had, we did well.”
“Half of us didn’t know each other until three days ago,” joked Tobie Rippy, a 2006 Glenwood Springs High School graduate who now plays for the University of Colorado.
Ryan Zwelling, a former club player at CU and the University of California-Berkeley who now lives in the Roaring Fork Valley, scored Colorado Mountain United’s lone goal early in the second half. That cut the Super 20s’ lead to 2-1 at the time.
Zwelling, one of the team’s older players, had a blast suiting up with the youngsters.
“They have a lot of energy,” she said. “I was like sucking wind. It was awesome. They came together unbelievably well.”
Friday’s game served as a lead-in to Saturday and Sunday’s Emily Johnson Play It Forward 3v3 Soccer Tournament, an event honoring Johnson, a Coal Ridge High School student who died in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident in November 2008.
Proceeds from Friday’s game, which fetched donations at the gate, and the 3v3 tourney benefit the Emily Johnson Play It Forward Fund, which will feed two Coal Ridge High School scholarships in Johnson’s name.
Friday’s game made for a fitting start to the weekend, said Wilson, who played alongside Johnson at Coal Ridge.
“She loved soccer. She loved people,” Wilson said. “We had a bunch of people and support. It was amazing. The support from the community this whole time has been amazing. That’s all I can say is amazing. That’s what it’s been.”
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