Steamboat Soccer Club finds pockets of success at Mountain Tournament, uses momentum for tournament in Norway | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Soccer Club finds pockets of success at Mountain Tournament, uses momentum for tournament in Norway

Liz Forster

The Steamboat Soccer Club had a successful showing at the Steamboat Soccer Club Mountain Tournament this past weekend, with gold medals for the U13 and U14 boys and a silver medal for the U13 girls. On Tuesday, four of the club’s teams will use that momentum for another tournament across the pond: the Norway Cup.

The Steamboat Soccer Club has not sent teams to the Norway Cup, which is held in Oslo, Norway, since 2000. This year, boys and girls from the U16 and U18 teams will represent Steamboat throughout the tournament from July 26 to August 1. Each team will play four structured games but will also have the opportunity to play friendlies against teams from all over the world.

"We attempted several times to organize this trip since 2000, but it was never quite right," said club director Rob Bohlmann. "It's a big challenges for the people involved to commit to the travel and the money, but this year, everything just aligned."

The tournament, the largest in the world of its kind, has brought players from all over the world since 1972. During its inaugural year, the tournament hosted 420 teams. The tournament quickly grew to over 1,000 teams in 1979 and, in 2014, to 1,560 teams.

The Steamboat teams will first fly to Copenhagen for three days of sight-seeing and a friendly against a local team. They will then fly to Oslo where the tournament is held. There, the teams will live in school classrooms along with the other teams, adding yet another layer to the blend of cultural and athletic experience that players will experience during the tournament.

"For the vast majority of the kids, this is their first time playing and competing overseas, and, they might not realize it now, but tournaments like this have a great positive effect" said Bohlmann. "Soccer is huge in the U.S., but over there, the culture of the sport is so much richer just because it's an older, established culture."

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When Bohlmann played at the youth level, he also had the opportunity to participate in an international tournament in Europe, which in turn contributed to his lifelong pursuit of soccer.

"That tournament was one of the reasons why I'm still in soccer today," said Bohlmann.

One of the Steamboat Soccer Club's coaches Ben Beall, who is also traveling to Norway over Real Colorado on Sunday, participated in the Norway Cup with Steamboat 15 years ago. He views the tournament as a cultural opportunity for these young players.

"15 years ago, I think we lost every single game except for one that we tied, which was the biggest victory ever," said Beall, whose U14 boys team won the Steamboat Soccer Club Mountain Tournament with a 4-1 win. "It is really about seeing and experiencing the culture there. Especially at that age, it really opens your eyes."

To reach Liz Forster, call 970-871-4374, email lforster@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @LizMForster