Western Slope soccer superstars meet for a great cause | PostIndependent.com

Western Slope soccer superstars meet for a great cause

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent file

SPRING VALLEY, Colorado ” Some of the Western Slope’s top female soccer players will soon learn where their skills stand in the grand scheme of their sport.

Nineteen players from the Western Slope, many current or former high school standouts, will wage an exhibition battle with a group of potential pros on Friday.

The Colorado Mountain United Select, a side cobbled together by former Colorado Mountain College coach Steve White, will open a weekend of soccer at Gates Soccer Park by welcoming the Colorado Force Super 20s, a reserve squad for the Loveland-based, pro-am Colorado Force women’s team, to the Western Slope for an exhibition tilt. The event is a precursor to Saturday and Sunday’s Emily Johnson Play It Forward 3v3 soccer tournament.

Seven current or former Coal Ridge High School players, five current or former Glenwood Springs High School players and a pair of current Basalt High School standouts grace the roster of locals, who are relishing the chance to showcase their skills on a big stage.

“I hope to grow a lot as a player,” said Coal Ridge senior-to-be Audrey Asplund, who’ll roam the midfield for the Colorado Mountain United Select. “Coming up onto my senior year, it’s important for me. I think I can play at the next level. This could help me get more confidence, or realize how much more I need to do.”

The level of competition the Western Slope stars will face will certainly prepare them for the next level. The Force Super 20 roster is loaded with talent, with college standouts aplenty gracing the list of players.

“Their reserve group’s pretty loaded,” White said. “Absolutely.”

But White also likes the cast he’s assembled. Mixed in with the high schoolers are a select group of current or former college players, like Glenwood Springs alum Tobie Rippy, who plays for the University of Colorado.

“I think we’ll put the most competitive product on the field we can,” White said. “It’s an opportunity to see where [our] girls are at.”

Admission to the 7 p.m. exhibition matchup is a $5 donation. Proceeds go both toward covering game costs and to the Emily Johnson Play It Forward Fund, which feeds a pair of Coal Ridge High School scholarships in Johnson’s name.

Johnson died in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident in November 2008 and the Saturday through Sunday 3v3 tournament was put together as a way to both honor her life and generate revenue for the scholarship fund.

White had a contact with the Colorado Force, which plays in the W-League of the United Soccer Leagues, and set up the exhibition game as the kickoff event of a soccer-packed weekend.

“I think it’ll be pretty good,” Asplund said. “It’s really fun to play with the older girls.”

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