Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs It didn’t take long to understand what Thursday’s first-round playoff win meant for the Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team.
Coach Rob Bohlmann always chooses his words carefully. He’s about as neutral as they get; he never gushes much after a win or complains after a loss.
But Thursday evening was different, and it was evident in the distinct change in Bohlmann’s voice. There was a sincere appreciation of what just happened.
Steamboat, after near misses in the postseason year after year, finally won a playoff game. It had been eight years since the Sailors had tasted the second round.
Throughout the season, one could sense that Bohlmann knew his current group of Sailors had the potential to be something special. It’s an experienced squad that never stops improving.
Thursday’s win on the Front Range was equally important to the school. There’s been a downward trend in Sailors sports for the past couple of years. Sure, some teams and individuals have had their moments, but mostly its been a tough stretch.
The two biggest reasons for Steamboat’s soccer advancement come from an experienced back row and finally having the ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
With seniors Wilber Ranieri and Tommy Lyon controlling the back and Mac Noel and Enrique Lopez causing fits up front, this Steamboat team had the ability to make things happen.
I think I’m finally starting to understand the soccer culture in Steamboat. I’ve come to learn a lot about the game in the past five years talking with Bohlmann. I appreciate what he’s tried to do with possessional soccer and how that philosophy has molded the Steamboat soccer community.
It’s a tight-knit group that spans from 5-year-olds running around in bunches on the field, to the high school players, to the city’s adult rec league.
And all those elements seemed to be present in Thursday’s win. The long-reaching tentacles of Steamboat soccer are everywhere.
There is a reason Bohlmann called the win a “great result for the soccer community of Steamboat.”
The winning culture created this season belongs a lot to this year’s players. It belongs to Bohlmann and assistant coach Diego Girard. And it also belongs to the countless coaches, parents and players who have helped create that culture during the years.