Tournament gives boys a final chance to play on same field | SteamboatToday.com

Tournament gives boys a final chance to play on same field

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs U-18 player Sam Houston battles for the ball in front of the Littleton Rush's goal during a game at Ski Town Fields on Friday afternoon. The game was one of the many played on the first day of the 23rd annual Mountain Soccer Tournament, which is scheduled to run through Sunday. Steamboat lost the game, 3-1.

— They played youth soccer together, they played in fall and summer leagues together, and they played in high school together.

And Friday, at the 23rd annual Mountain Soccer Tournament, they played together for one last time.

“It’s kind of like the last go around for the boys,” said Max Hamil, a member of the Steamboat Springs U-18 team. “This is something we kind of cherish. The big reason everyone is out here is to say goodbye to each other.”

Although the tournament didn’t start off the way Steamboat wanted – a 3-1 loss to the Littleton Rush – Hamil said the event is about a lot more than just wins and losses.

“It doesn’t always go your way,” he said. “I think everyone is just happy to be out here.”

Many of the members of the team have been playing together for more than 10 years. Most have been playing together in the Mountain Soccer Tournament since they were on the U-10 team.

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“That’s why I was stoked about this tournament. It’s one last hurrah,” Nick Labor said. “It’s about playing together and having fun.”

Although the team usually meets together to play, Labor said the tournament provides them a way to get together against “a very competitive field.”

“We usually get together and kick it around,” he said, “but it’s fun to be a team again.”

The U-18 team, along with 10 other local teams, is guaranteed to play at least three games in this weekend’s tournament.

“In this tournament we usually have a lot of passion,” Labor said. “We have to give a good showing because it’s our tournament, but we’re still having a lot of fun.”

The tourney features more than 120 teams and 2,000 players at fields across Steamboat. Each age group is broken down into three flights, and every team is guaranteed at least three games.

Games continue today and run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Championship games take place Sunday at noon at the Emerald Park and Ski Town fields. For more information or a schedule, visit http://www.steamboat-soccer.com.