Luke Graham: Feeding the soccer program |

Luke Graham: Feeding the soccer program

Luke Graham

— In a brief conversation the other day, someone asked what high school teams will be good next year.

At this point, it's tough to think about the fall with summer in full swing. But the conversation reminded me of the answer.

The answer never really has changed and there is a clear reason why.

In the fall, the Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team will be set. Beyond that, who knows?

It's tough to decipher many of the other teams at this point.

But it's pretty clear why year in and year out the soccer program is a mark of consistency and regarded as one of the elite programs on the Western Slope.

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This weekend just pounded that point home.

The 27th annual Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament brought in 110 teams and 3,000 players from all across the region for a weekend of soccer.

Steamboat again was well-represented with 15 teams playing, from U11 to U18 teams.

If you were anywhere in Steamboat during the weekend, it was hard not to run into some type of soccer.

The tournament, and corresponding camps that go on with it, speaks to why the soccer program continuously is strong.

Steamboat had teams in every age bracket during the weekend. From a U12 team that had won only two games in two years — but continued to play together and now has started winning — to a U13 girls team that played an entertaining brand of soccer.

That's where it starts.

No matter what the sport is, a feeder program like the one Steamboat has is an absolute must.

Talking with several players, they all mentioned how they had played with the same core group of girls for years.

Each year, it wasn't just an individual moving on, it was an entire team.

That breeds success. The feeder program is one of the best in Steamboat. Youth lacrosse and tennis have similar ones, and it's no surprise those high school programs also have flourished.

But watching the Steamboat soccer tournament made it even more obvious.

At every level, there were knowledgeable coaches preaching the same values no matter the age.

Even a U12 girls soccer team had the classic Steamboat possession type of soccer.

Although we're still months away from the start of the fall high school sports season, the Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament reaffirmed at least one program that is sure to have a successful season.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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