7/13/2007 12:46:00 PM Email this article • Print this article
Soccer youths win in Ore.
Several Yelm youth got their first taste of soccer tournament action, heading to Eugene, Ore. for a two-day tournament.
The team, a U11 squad from Lacey, played four games over the two days, going 1-3 in their first tournament.
"They had a blast," said coach Josh Smith.
Members of a recreational soccer league with the Prairie Soccer Club, the team recently moved into the more advanced South Sound Soccer Club.
"At that level, you start playing tournaments," Smith said.
The core of the team has played together for about a year, he said.
Looking to participate in a tournament, Smith said, he remembered a Memorial Day tournament in his hometown and signed the team up.
"The kids went down to play a few games," he said.
There were 12 teams in the team's age group, he said, with about 120 teams total in the tournament.
With only one of the players going with tournament experience, it was a new challenge for the team.
Losing the first three games, they came away with a win in their final game, emerging with a 6-2 victory.
"They stuck in there and won the last game," Smith said.
The win gave the kids something to be proud of on the drive home, he said.
"It was a good feeling for them to win the last game," he said.
The tournament was a good experience, Smith said.
"We saw a lot of growth in our players down there," he said.
Coming together for the win was a team effort, he said.
"They all had a good game," Smith said. "They all basically grew a lot as a team and as players."
The team played another tournament in Tukwilla, playing three games in one day.
Getting used to a tournament format is something that takes getting used to, Smith said
"It's a lot of work," he said. "We try to have three or four players that sub in and out. It is mentally fatiguing."
The team is coached by Smith and Mike Clark. The players who went to the Eugene tournament were Ben Clark, Dakota Byron, Brandon Jordan, Phoenix Taylor, Shane Stretch, CJ Turee, Liam Hirl, Raul Solorio, Tyler Smith, Quinton Taylor and Casey Saul.
Another tournament in Shelton will help the players develop further, Smith said.
"We have a good group of boys," he said. "when they go into league play, I think they are going to make Yelm a proud town."
Developing Yelm's soccer program at a young age will help the high school down the line, he said.
"The Prairie Soccer Club has been great for the players," Smith said. "In this team, a majority of these players might play against each other in middle school."
"When they all get to high school, that's a huge win for the Yelm school system."