Steamboat soccer clubs are looking for warmup at Fireball

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— Six local soccer teams will head to southeast Denver this week to battle for titles in the annual Colorado Storm Fireball Tournament.

Local soccer coach Rick Garth said the Fireball is one of the biggest regional tournaments of the summer, drawing as many as 200 teams from around the state to the Front Range. It has long been a draw for Steamboat teams that are looking to get better by playing the powerful Front Range programs.

The tournament will be at the Banbury, Dove Valley and Gates soccer complexes June 23-25.

The Steamboat Bombers under-11 boys team, the Steamboat Blizzard under-12 boys team, the Steamboat Rapids under-13 girls team, the Steamboat Bandits under-13 boys team and the Steamboat Flames under-14 girls team will all compete in the tournament.

The Steamboat Speed, an under-12 girls team, also will play in the event. The local girls team is coming off a second-place finish at the Colorado Rush Open tournament on June 11 in Grand Junction.

Garth said more Steamboat teams usually travel to Denver for the Fireball. However, most of the older boys in town left last week for a soccer trip to Europe.

Local soccer teams have been busy in recent weeks as the summer tournament season starts to heat up. Steamboat will host one of the biggest youth soccer tournaments this July.

The Steamboat Mountain Invitational will be July 21-23 at just about every local soccer field. That tournament usually draws between 180-200 teams for three-day's of play.

A large number of local teams play in the event, which highlights the local summer season for many of the teams. The event also draws many teams from Colorado and other neighboring states. The field has been limited in recent years by the number of fields in Steamboat Springs.

The local tournament stresses sportsman ship and turns away several teams each season based on the sportsmanship criteria. Other teams must be turned away based on space.

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