The Telluride Crossfire U15 Red Team brought home another tournament championship trophy, as the local squad won the Colorado Soccer Association (CSA) Cup last weekend in Durango. The tournament crown was the team’s second of the season, head coach Justin Chandler explained.
In Durango, the Telluride girls went undefeated en route to the championship.
“The season had been going well in terms of training, but we had only been to one tournament, which the girls won, too, but had a loss, and we knew the competition would be tougher at the CSA Cup in Durango,” Chandler said.
He added last weekend’s competition was top-notch, as teams from Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose and Durango all presented a challenge throughout the bracket. But the girls allowed only three goals, while scoring eight, in tournament play.
“Montrose is always strong, so beating them was good. Delta also has a great program, so that is always a good win as well. We beat an undefeated team from Grand Junction, and that was very encouraging, but the best team we played was the Durango team, who we beat in the final,” Chandler added.
The Crossfire U15 Red Team is Fianna Ahern, Skylar Carlson, Regan Chandler, Emma Galleger, Lexton Gregory, Eva Henschel, Shai Kanow, Tjarn Lyons, Sofia Martin, Ava Moorman, Gia Neyens, Ellowyn Owen, Emma Reggiannini, Hannah Tuohy, Pella Ward and Addison Westveer.
“Some in the group have played together for over 10 years. They like playing together and traveling together. Many have had near perfect attendance at practice for those 10 years, so that tells me they must like spending time together and playing together. Some coaches will tell you that is the most important thing to a team,” Chandler said. “With that said, that group was very small and has grown over the years. All those new additions made an extremely positive and profound impact on the team.”
The tournament wins are a testament to that, he added, and what it means to play together as a team.
“This was truly a team victory with everyone on the team playing a part. Those with the experience stepped up, and new players exceeded all expectations. It was a nice combination of both,” he said.
Ward said her and her teammates were “so stoked” after the championship win in Durango. As one of the girls who has spent most of her youth on the team, Ward can remember the times when wins weren’t always the norm.
“We were so happy, especially because we were able to beat teams that we had played against for years and we usually did not win against them. I think we all felt very proud of ourselves, and the fact that we could now show up, play hard and win against all of these teams,” she said, before adding, “I like getting to play a sport that I love with all of my friends. It has been fun to see our progress over the years. Many of us started soccer with the Town Park rec program when we were in preschool. I think we've really come together as a team, and I feel lucky that I've been a part of it.”
Similarly, Ward shared that she, like many girls on the team, is “looking forward to playing our first year for the Telluride High School team.”
Chandler echoed Ward’s sentiment in sharing how proud he is of this group and all the hard work they’ve put in over the years.
“They started winning just a few games as years went by and not really seeing much success in terms of wins until the last year,” he said. “That says a lot about what's important in youth sports — fun and individual player development — and willingness to stick to something. More important than winning both these tournaments is this teams dedication and commitment to the sport. But I am sure winning felt good after all the tough games and tough losses over the years. It was a nice final reward for their years of sacrifice.”