Vail Invitational soccer tourney hits town Friday
VAIL ” If you hadn’t gotten enough soccer through the World Cup, the 35th annual Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament starts Friday and runs through the weekend at soccer fields near you from Edwards all the way to East Vail.
This year’s edition has 30 teams ” 16 in the Gold Division, 12 in the Silver, and for the first time since 1997, four sides in the Women’s Division.
“It’s great,” said Kate O’Connor, who will play for Gallegos, Vail’s local entry in the women’s field. “Usually, we’re there to support the men(‘s team, Pepi’s), but it’s so great to be actually playing in a competition, a tournament at home. It’s really cool that the (Vail) Rec District has done such a great job looking for women’s teams to get this inaugural tournament going. Hopefully, it builds from there.’
Vail has a strong tradition of women’s soccer. Though the Women’s Division was dropped from the Vail Invitational, there was a local side playing in tournaments and friendlies under the banner of the Blue Moose and later Gallegos as late as 2003.
The Blue Moose rivalry, in particular, was huge. Vail and Steamboat Springs, both sponsored by the same restaurant in their respective towns through 1998, battled each year with the trophy being ” well, a moose statue. Even after Gallegos became the sponsor of the Vail women’s team, the moose was a coveted prize.
However, with Front Range women’s clubs having their seasons in the spring and fall and with a decline of teams in the High Country for friendlies and tournaments, women’s soccer has tailed off recently.
That changes this weekend with the Denver Kickers, the Colorado Sporting Fire and the Colorado Sporting Fury round out a four-team field with Gallegos.
The locals are mix of the Blue Moose/Gallegos teams of past years with some Battle Mountain alumnae. Gallegos includes Allison O’Neill, Amy Vonderheydt, Delfina Darquier, Lauren Meehan, Allison Baskins, Caitlin Williams, O’Connor, Ashley Bell, Colleen Butler, Meg Elliott, Lauren Arnold, Morgan Wallace, Keegan Garnsey, Callie Houk, Shannon Baron and Jenelle Ferri.
Dave Marjoram, the former Eagle Valley coach and current referee, has been working with Gallegos in preparation for the tournament.
“He has been absolutely committed to helping getting us organized,” O’Connor said. “He’s offered his assistance at practice. He’s been so positive. It’s just wonderful to have someone so involved in the soccer community help us.”
Gallegos’ first two games are at Miller Ranch West in Edwards ” Friday at 6 p.m. against Sporting Fury and Saturday at Noon against the Kickers. Pool play wraps with the Sporting Fire at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Miller Ranch East. The top-two teams from pool play meet in the final Sunday at 1 p.m. at Miller Ranch Middle. The third-place game is at Mlller Ranch East at 11:30 a.m.
The gang’s back
The Pepi’s men’s soccer team begins its quest for its first Vail title since 1998 when it takes on Casual F.C. Friday at 6 p.m. at the Vail Mountain School.
Like the ladies, Pepi’s will have a mix of vets and young legs from local high school teams past.
“This team now has the old going out and the new coming in,” Pepi’s vet Daryl Goehring said. “Andy Banner and Pete Seibert are the young guns, along with Tyler Cole, Kyle Moore and Wade Cheatham. It’s a good mixture.”
Pepi’s, like any team with title ambitions, will need fresh legs. Six games in three days demand it. After Casual F.C., Pepi’s continues Pool A play with Three Lions F.C. at the Vail Athletic Field Saturday at noon, followed by the Kickers at 3:45 p.m. at the same site.
The top-two teams from each of the four groups advance to Sunday’s knockout play. If it advances, Pepi’s would play at 11:30 a.m. at either the Vail Athletic Field or VMS. The semis are at 1:30 p.m., followed by the final at 3 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
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