Steamboat Springs The Steamboat FC men’s soccer team won the 39th annual Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament during the weekend, downing Fort Collins-based International in penalty kicks to claim the title.
“You never go play to lose,” co-captain Ben Beall said. “You’re always shooting to win these. It’s a silver division, so we’ve always thought we’ve had a shot at this.”
Steamboat earned a quarterfinals bye by claiming the top seed out of the divisional brackets.
The Steamboat squad beat Denver-based Colorado Sporting in the semifinal, 2-1. In that game, the teams played to a scoreless first half. Colorado Sporting went up, 1-0, early in the second half before Steamboat’s Andrew White tied the game at 1 with a breakaway goal. Minutes later, Torre Saterstrom scored the game-winner.
Against Fort Collins International, Steamboat went up late in the first half on a great ball from White to Trevor Walz.
International scored with seconds remaining in the game to send it to extra time. After a five-minute golden goal period, it was on to penalty kicks.
Brendan Wu, Alec Nelson, Saterstrom and Kyle Nelson scored for Steamboat, while keeper Connor Birch stopped one International shot and watched a second go wide of the net.
“You just pass it in the back of the net,” Beall said. “You just have to finish it off. It’s easy after that.”
Steamboat scored 10 goals during the tournament and only gave up three. Steamboat had never advanced to the finals of the tournament and was ousted in the semifinals last year.
“It’s a great group of people,” Beall said. “You’ve got guys from 19 to 39 years old all playing together.”