Vail Daily letter: A lot to be thankful for | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: A lot to be thankful for

When a season runs as close to Thanksgiving as ours did, we all have a lot to be thankful for!

The 2016 Battle Mountain Husky Soccer team would like to thank all of the Eagle County road warriors and day trippers who made the trip to Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the final. Our crowd was incredible and I hope everyone had a great day out. It was so gratifying to see our boys keep battling and finish with a goal late in the game. The crowd response was amazing! We may have lost on the scoreboard but we felt victorious in every other sense and were so proud to play in the last game of the year, on the biggest stage, in front of our faithful! Thanks to all of you!

Nearly 100 kids were able to stay safe and travel to the semifinal thanks to Mike and Joel, from Vail Rec District, and also Brandie and the Steadman Clinic who all sponsored spirit buses to make the late night journey. Jade and Elaine drove the kids down to Parker and chauffeured the team all over the state all season.

We want to thank the crew at Zino's, the Main Street Grill and, our clubhouse, Fiesta's, for some amazing post-game meals during the season. These get-togethers are where the bonds of family and community that we believe in so much are formed. The boys never miss a pre-game breakfast at Northside, either, when we play on a Saturday. Larkburger and our team share the common trait that we are both from Edwards and we work with quality ingredients. We are proud to wear practice shirts with your name on them as we practice and prepare for games. Thank you all!

Thanks, also, to our administration for their unwavering support for Husky Soccer. We welcome new AD, Chris Bailey, to the fold and enjoyed seeing him learn the culture and quirks of a season of Husky Soccer. Maxine Cordova, Jason Spannagel and his awesome photos as well as a state champion with his XC team this fall, Principal Rob Parish were all their cheering on the boys at the games and escorting them back to class when they strayed from the flock! At the top, Phil Qualman and Jason Glass both see the value in activities and the role they play in educating the whole student.

Thanks to the wordsmith Chris Freud, and the Vail Daily, for the fantastic coverage of all of our high school sports here in Eagle County. These kids don't realize how good they have it, until they leave our precious valley. On the media front, thanks also to KZYR and Steve Leigh in particular for plugging games on air and building enthusiasm.

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A high school sports program is only as good as its feeder system and we have a great one. Thanks to everyone who has coached these kids before they got to us and during off season. We thank the Vail Valley Soccer Club, coaches Don Dressler, Patrick, Leo and Joel for preparing these players to succeed in high school. The Youth Foundation, Bratzo, Lee, Pedro and the boys do a fantastic job giving all kids an outlet to play soccer and study after school while the boys are in middle school.

The boys and I are so blessed to have an amazing coaching staff to work with. Ali Bender played at Battle Mountain and at Chapman College so she offers the players first-hand experience on how to put up with me during a season as well as guiding our one-loss JV team. Mariano Ledezma works with our development team boys and shows them that there is a path to the varsity if you are willing to pursue it. Jim Glendining works with our goalkeepers and keeps us all laughing. He also hosted one of the all-time great banquets at his place, The George! I couldn't wish for a better staff to share this journey with.

Thanks to the players. It is your dedication to each other, to your studies and to the game which makes this so rewarding. I hope that your friendships are just as strong decades from now when you get together to share a laugh and a drink. Remember, the older we get, the better we were! The girls' team were also awesome and the backbone of our fan base! See you in 100 days for preseason!

Finally, to Kathleen, thanks for putting up with our obsession and sharing in the journey. It was quite a busy fall between Casey's XC races, Em's college soccer games and the Huskies. She spent more than a few evenings in the press box watching games in Edwards and Dallas at the same time! You're the real MVP, honey!

Great job to all the fall coaches up and down the valley this fall. Good luck to the winter season coaches who are just getting started. High school sports represents such a pure form of sport and competition — let's keep supporting and using it to bring communities together. Take care everyone and have a great holiday. We have so much to be thankful for!

David Cope

Battle Mountain High School

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