For the girls of the Real Colorado Edge under-16 club soccer team, just gathering for practice in Wheat Ridge can be a chore since they hail from 11 different high schools. While the team is no …
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For the girls of the Real Colorado Edge under-16 club soccer team, just gathering for practice in Wheat Ridge can be a chore since they hail from 11 different high schools. While the team is no stranger to traveling across the country to compete, on July 24 they only had to make the drive to Aurora to play for a national title, which they won.
“At the very end of the championship game and the whistle blew, when I knew we had done it,” said Kaylyn Buchanan, 16, when asked what her favorite moment of the US Club Soccer National Cup Championship tourney was.
The team, actually a combination of two club teams that include players from Arvada, Golden, Lakewood, Broomfield, Wheat Ridge, Westminster and even Boulder, made it into the tournament as a wild card selection. Once on the field however, there was little doubt Real Colorado was the real deal, scoring 13 goals and only allowing 2 in throughout the tourney. The team beat out opposing squads from Washington state, New York, Ohio and New Jersey on the way to the national title.
A center forward, Buchanan is entering her junior year at Lakewood High School. While she scored six of the team’s goals in the tourney, she said credit for the team’s success really stared with Real Colorado’s back line of defenders who shut down many attacks and won many of the contested balls to set up her attacks.
“it was a big learning experience that we can do this, we’re good enough to beat these teams,” said Buchanan about the tourney win, which marks the first national title for the Real Colorado Edge club organization.
Fellow forward Casia Provencal, who is an incoming freshman for Ralston Valley, said it was gratifying to have the team’s hard work pay off.
“We really didn’t take a summer break, it was soccer, soccer, soccer.”
Coach Ryan Henkel said that often club teams take off a few weeks in the summer, but this year the girls voted to compete in the tournament instead. He said it was gratifying to see the combined team come together and “start clicking at the right time.”
“We’re a club that prides itself on playing a style that you would recognize,” Henkel said.
That Real Colorado soccer club style? “We want to own the ball. Ne fierce ball winners. Attack with numbers,” said Henkel, which he said helps to explain how his team scored so many goals and won the tourney. Though, he admits, “let’s not forget that altitude was at play too.”
The club will play in several area tournaments in the coming weeks, so the awards and accolades for the newly crowned national champs may not be over. Then in a few months, most of the girls will be changing jerseys to play for their high school squads, perhaps on the opposite side of the ball.
For now though, the girls can celebrate making club history.
“I’m so thankful for everybody who was there supporting us,” Provencal said. “Each and every player put their heart and soul into this.”
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