Clubs join forces to pull off exciting tournament
by Sully Desai, WESA program director
Last-minute league cancellations this fall left several soccer clubs like the West Elk Soccer Association (WESA) high and dry and scrambling for matches. Fortunately, amid all of the chaos a partnership formed between WESA and the Basalt Soccer Club (BSC) and a new tournament was born.
It took weeks of phone calls and emails and as the word spread of the new tournament, teams started reaching out to get in on the action. What was supposed to be a friendly weekend of games between a few clubs exploded into 10 organizations (40 teams) wanting to play, and after a lot of hard work from both clubs everything came together on Thursday, October 1 and the tournament was good to go.
WESA sent four teams—U12 Boys Black, U12 Girls Black, U14 Boys Black and U14 Girls Black—over to Basalt to participate in the tournament.
Day one produced a mixed bag of results for the WESA teams. The U12 girls crashed to their first defeat of the season, narrowly losing to Carbondale 4-2 in their opening game of the tournament. The girls did not let this result get them down, as they bounced back to beat Basalt 3-2 in their second game of the day.
The U12 boys won their opening game of the tournament against Basalt but crashed to a defeat in their second game vs. Carbondale.
The U14 boys won their first game against Carbondale but somehow managed to lose their second game vs. Delta after being 3-1 up. The final score ended 5-3.
Unfortunately, the U14 girls lost both of their games on day one.
Despite the mixed results on day one, there was much optimism on day two for the WESA teams, as some were still in contention for places in the final.
The day began with the U12 girls narrowly losing 1-0 to Glenwood Springs, which dumped them out of the tournament.
The U12 boys thrashed Aspen 7-0 to put them in a good position to reach the final. Unfortunately Carbondale also won on day two, meaning WESA U12 Boys had to settle for third place.
The U14 girls won their first game of the season 3-2 vs. Carbondale and ended their tournament run on a high note.
The final game of the day needed the U14 boys to win and keep a shutout to have any chance of making the final. The game between Basalt and WESA was a tight affair but resulted in a 2-0 victory for WESA. Delta went on to win their final group game, securing the U14 boys’ place in the final.
The final was a rematch between Delta and WESA. The U14 boys were out to prove a point after losing the game the day prior in the manner that they did. Nerves were running high for both sets of players and the game was pretty even. Delta took the lead in the first half through a set piece. The first half continued to be even with Delta going in up 1-0 at halftime.
In the second half the WESA U14 boys appeared to be inspired from the halftime talk by coaches Jason Berv and Tom Lewis. They continuously piled on the pressure and created chance after chance. However, it looked like it was going to be one of those unfortunate days, until Gabriel Marmolejo scored to make the game 1-1.
After the restart the game looked to be going one way and WESA continued to pile on the pressure. The clock was ticking and with 50 seconds of the game left, Finn Smith got on to the end of a pass from Carlos Franco and buried a left-foot shot into the bottom corner to make the game 2-1 WESA. The crowd erupted. The rest of the game was played out, resulting in the boys winning. It was a great way to end the weekend for WESA.
Overall the tournament was a success for WESA. Having assisted the organization of the tournament in just a month, entering teams who all fared well against many teams and organizations that have been round a lot longer, and having one team win was a great way to end the tournament weekend. WESA is hoping to help run the tournament in years to come and—who knows?—one day we may end up with a tournament here in Crested Butte.