Local youth soccer team heads to Canada to watch World Cup
Steamboat Springs — It’s been more than two years since Dr. Jim Dudley — a longtime soccer coach in Steamboat Springs — first pitched the idea of taking a group of local girls youth soccer players to watch the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
At the time, it was nothing more than a dream, but come Sunday, it will become reality for 18 girls and eight adults who will venture into the great north to watch the best women’s soccer has to offer.
“I’m pretty excited to watch the game,” said 14-year-old Delaney Moon. “I’m really excited to be with my team and some of the younger girls to get to know them better and going and being able to see some of the best soccer players in the world play a game.”
Delaney is one of the youth-13 and youth-14 players from Steamboat traveling to Vancouver for the World Cup. The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Nigeria Tuesday night at BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver, the final match of pool play for both teams.
The ensemble will fly out of Denver early Sunday morning, spend three nights in Canada, then travel by train to Seattle. Besides seeing the World Cup, the girls will get to play in at least five soccer matches on their trip, which includes a friendly tournament in Seattle. The parents and coaches going also see it as a chance to give the girls the experience of traveling through a big city.
“We are really leaving it up to them to learn how to navigate the city and stuff through public transportation. I think that’s a really special thing and one of the learning experiences of the trip,” said Dave Moon, Delaney’s father, who coaches the U-14 soccer team alongside Dudley.
“The combination is another thing that makes it such a great trip because you go and watch some of the best soccer in the world, and that’s just going to get the girls excited to play.”
For most of the people going, this won’t be their first time seeing the USWNT play, as the U.S. has hosted a handful of friendlies in Denver over the years. However, seeing an actual World Cup match is a different story, one to which Dudley can attest.
Dudley is a former Steamboat Springs High School soccer coach, and in 1999, he took the girls’ soccer team to Los Angeles to watch the World Cup. He has also organized numerous trips to California for tournaments, most coming in the 90s and early 2000s.
“They are way excited. I think we are all kind of excited,” Dudley said. “It’s just a whole experience trip, to see a World Cup game and play some good teams from out of the state. Meet some new people.”
While most of the trip is being paid out-of-pocket by parents, the girls were able to take part in a handful of fundraisers, including running concessions at middle school basketball games and stuffing envelopes for Colorado Group Realty.
“It’s a pretty big deal for them. A couple of girls got some shirts made for the team that say, ‘Canada World Cup 2015.’ They had them made for all the girls, and the girls are planning to wear them to the World Cup game,” said Amanda Koly, who will join her daughter, Rachelle, 14, on the trip.
“I love watching the girls play soccer. We’ve been to a U.S.A. women’s soccer game before, actually with Dudley here in Denver. I just really enjoyed that, so when a chance came to go to Canada and watch these girls play and watch them experience this once-in-a-lifetime event, I wanted to go along with them. It will be fun.”
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