Steamboat Soccer player named to Colorado Select ODP travel team
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Gwyn Jamison played with the Steamboat Soccer Club U17 Navy team this past fall. This weekend, she’s traveling to San Diego with the U19 girls. Here’s the thing, though: Jamison is only 14. To be more specific, she just turned 14 in October.
The Steamboat Springs 8th grader has been playing above her age level to help her become the best she can be and people have taken notice. Jamison was named to the Colorado Select Olympic Development Program team that will travel roster that will compete in the West Region ODP Championships in Phoenix, Ariz.
“She’s a different person off the soccer field than on the soccer field,” said Ann Battelle, who has been coaching Jamison through Steamboat Soccer Club for the last four years. “She’s so focused on the soccer field. She works so hard. If she gets beat, she will get the ball back. She is confident, yet not cocky. She works on her skills all the time.”
Jamison’s parents noticed just how serious she took soccer in early elementary school.
“A lot of the kids were chasing butterflies and doing cartwheels, she was just very serious about it and liked to win,” said Lindsey Jamison, Gwyn’s mother.
Battelle said Gwyn, a center midfielder, is a powerhouse on offense and defense, protecting the goal with the same skill and passion that she has while attacking it.
“I’ve never seen her be lazy in her life,” Battelle said. “She wants the ball, she wants to create plays. She wants to support her teammates. She’s definitely not in it for herself, yet she controls the field.”
While she works hard at it, Jamison still enjoys the game.
“It’s a way to be creative. I can express myself in any way that I want. It’s just fun,” she said. “It’s a way to hang out with people and get together and have fun. But it’s also a way to push yourself outside your comfort zone and see how far you can really go.”
Jamison said she hopes to play in college one day, wanting to take it as far as she can. No matter what happens, she said soccer will always be a part of her life.
Representing Steamboat Springs
Before her family moved to Steamboat three and a half years ago, Jamison was part of the Blades soccer club in Casper, Wyo. Now, she’s on the Colorado Select team bound for Phoenix, Ariz.
Over Thanksgiving break, she’s traveling to San Diego with the U19 team to challenge herself. That will be an even bigger step up from playing with the U17 team all fall.
“I’m still so intimidated by all of them, but they’ve made me feel so welcome,” Jamison said. “They’re so nice. They push me a lot, which is very good.”
In July, the Jamisons traveled to Denver so Gwyn could try out for the Colorado Select team alongside 100s of players in each age group. Jamison made the initial cut, being placed in a pool of 44 other girls born in 2005. Since then, that group has trained every few weeks in Denver, allowing the coaches to further evaluate her.
“You got to have the dedication and put in the time to want to go down to that try out. It’s very difficult. It’s definitely putting yourself out there and out of your comfort zone,” said Hobey Early, technical director at Steamboat Soccer Club. “There’s hundreds of kids in every age group at try outs. … Most of those kids are from the front range, Denver Metro area. Not a lot of kids that play for the western mountain teams are at those tryouts.”
On Nov. 19, Jamison heard she was named to the team that will travel to Arizona next year to face other state ODP teams in the regional championship in January.
While there, she will be evaluated by regional ODP coaches and could potentially get chosen to play for a regional team.
Just a small handful of Steamboat players have been a part of the Colorado Select ODP program, including Early, and Kelly Brown.
Brown, formally Kelly Labor, went to play in college at the University of Las Vegas and now works for the soccer program at the University of Colorado. She is also the head coach for the West Region ODP soccer team. In Phoenix, Brown said she will scout the players before sending out 100 or so invites to begin the process of building the regional team. She looks for the players who can keep up with the fast pace of the game while making an impact.
Brown is a product of the ODP program, making the state team for the first time her 8th-grade year.
Brown’s husband, Fields Brown, will be Gwyn’s head coach in Phoenix.
“I know my husband is excited to have Gwyn as part of the team as a player,” Kelly Brown said. “I was excited to see a player from Steamboat reach that level as a player and to represent a small mountain town.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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