Vail Valley soccer: Freedom season opens Saturday |

Vail Valley soccer: Freedom season opens Saturday

Special to the DailyThe WECMRD Freedom opens its season against the Fort Collins Fury, Saturday evening in the WECMRD Field House in Edwards in semi-pro indoor soccer action. Fort Collins beat the locals in last year's title game. The developmental team kicks off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Freedom/Fury game. Five of the Freedom are, from left, Alex Zalaya, Andrew Carver, James Kenly, Aaron Adams, Pavel Belov.

EDWARDS – The WECMRD Freedom and the Fort Collins Fury don’t like each other all that much, which works out well for Saturday night’s season opener.

The action starts at 5:30 p.m. for the local semi-pro indoor soccer team.

“Fort Collins is a big, physical team and they play it like a hockey game,” said Matt Zaremba, a Freedom player and the team administrator. “They dump it into the corner, muck it up and work it out from there. We rely more on quickness and finesse.”

The Fury is fine, and off the field we’re sure they love their mamas and babies. When they step between the lines, it’s a much different matter.

“Every game is a fight. We just don’t get along on the field very well,” Zaremba said.

Fort Collins is last winter’s Premier Arena Soccer League Rocky Mountain champions, beating the Freedom by two goals in the finals. For good measure, Fort Collins then won the national title.

The Freedom and Fury tied twice last season, including a 6-6 thriller in Edwards.

Tougher schedule

The Freedom won last year’s home opener, 14-4, against Golden Strikers. The PASL’s Powers That Be weren’t as friendly in their early season scheduling this time around.

On Dec. 12 they play a charity game against the Colorado Rapids coaching staff, and some Major League Soccer players.

On Dec. 18 they have the Colorado Springs Blizzard, last summer’s PASL summer league Rocky Mountain champions.

No one’s complaining, and the Freedom will be competitive, Zaremba said.

“It’s soccer and everyone is there because they want to be,” Zaremba said.

You can still try out

About 75 percent of the Freedom returns from last year.

They had close to 100 guys try out last year for last year’s startup team. About 30 or so tried out this year, but they’ll still take a look if you want to try.

“We’ll give anyone a tryout as long as they’ll come to practice,” Zaremba said.

With people rolling in from around the world for the ski season, it makes sense to keep things flexible. It’s also a big commitment in time and energy. Practices run from 10 p.m. to midnight and sometimes later.

“When you have to get up and be at work on the mountain at 7 a.m., that can be a big commitment.

The Freedom has players from nine different countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Honduras, and the U.S.

“Everyone has a different playing background, but with indoor soccer there’s one style of play and we’re all learning it together,” Zaremba said.

They picked up a couple Argentinian guys over the last couple weeks, and others should show up.

“The guys we picked up are going to help,” Zaremba said. “We have two kids from Battle Mountain High School. It helps to elevate our training sessions to have those young kids running around.”

How did the Freedom get here?

The rec district was having the turf laid in its new Edwards fieldhouse, when some of the WECMRD guys started talking to some of the turf company guys. The turf people suggested that a semi-pro soccer team might be in order. The WECMRD people agreed and faster than you can say “Ref, are you blind?” (With apologies to Jim Sanders.) WECMRD bought a franchise and fired up the Freedom.

Brandt Marott was tabbed to coach the fledgling franchise. He was an all-conference midfielder and outside striking defender at Division I California State Northridge. He played professionally for the Anaheim Splash in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (1995-97) and the Milwaukee Wave of the National Professional Soccer League (1998) and semi-professionally for the Chicago Stingers of the United Soccer Leagues D-3 Pro League, now known as the Premier Development League (1999). He won championships with the Wave and Stingers before retiring in 1999.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

If you go

What: WECMRD Freedom FC home opener against the Fort Collins Fury

When: Developmental team starts at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Freedom/Fury match follows

Where: WECMRD Fieldhouse in Edwards

Free beer: Come early and get a free beer from the Edwards Rotary Club

Cost: Tickets $7. Special group prices available. If you find a Freedom player you can get tickets for $5.

Info: Soccer T-shirt painting and bouncy castles for kids. Halftime competitions. Call the WECMRD Fieldhouse at 766-5555

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