CB Kickers Win adult coed soccer tournament


By Than Acuff


That was all Jaime Watt could say after the CB Kickers won the tournament title game on Sunday, June 16, at the annual Crested Butte Adult Coed soccer tournament presented by WESA.

And Jaime would know.

He started the tournament 29 years ago and while he has since stepped away from the organizational aspect of the tournament, Jaime was there in the beginning and a big part of two Crested Butte coed team trips to tournaments in Las Vegas and all the other tournaments throughout Colorado over the years.

And on Sunday he was there as a fan/VIP to watch “history.” As was Brian Fenerty. Fenerty was there in the beginning as well and has played in more games as a CB Kicker than any other local player, ever. 

 The CB Kickers flirted with the title before only to fall in the finals and over the years they’ve had solid squads, but none quite like the one they had this weekend.

Due to field availability, the tournament changed to a 9v9 (nine players on the field for each team) format this year on smaller fields rather than the normal 11v11 soccer set up. And, across the board, the smaller teams and smaller fields made for much more action, many more goals and, perhaps, a part of why the Kickers finally sealed the tournament title. Although they were so flush with talent anyway, they most likely would have won the tournament had it been 11v11 as their biggest struggle over the two days appeared to be how to get everyone time on the pitch in games.

Manager Lloyd Heirshberg did his best to keep the level of play as high as possible at all times while still getting players time but when push came to shove, the squad had a starting nine that was nearly untouchable.

They opened the weekend Saturday morning with a convincing 5-3 win over Nomads FC out of Frisco. With Jamis Matlock and Brice and Graham Koval doing a lot of the damage in the midfield, Maggie Washelesky providing a threat out wide and Ryan Abbott and Laurel Fisher playing shut down defense, the Kickers took an early 2-0 lead. The Nomads responded late in the first half but goals from Brice and Washelesky in the second half had the Kickers out front 4-1. The Nomads did net two more but a third goal from Brice sealed the win.

The Kickers then faced Studs with Buds, rumored to be in from Seattle, Saturday afternoon. The Kickers continued their dominant ways to cruise to an emphatic 6-2 win and set themselves up for a semifinal match Sunday morning against a team out of Ft. Collins.

Here’s where things went differently for the Kickers. They’ve been in the mix before when heading into Sunday the past 29 years at a variety of tournaments, but the distractions of Saturday night always seem to push the Kickers off the title course making for Sunday morning mayhem—the Kickers have compiled a pretty solid Sunday “Loser Bowl” record.

This year was a bit more focused. It’s not that the players didn’t drink a beer or two that evening at the tournament party. They did. Just not nearly as many as the team tended to consume in past years and it showed with their play on Sunday.

They took the field Sunday morning with the squad awake and aware. Jorge Rodriguez remained in net and Danny Bravo ran the show on defense as the Kickers midfield and attackers continued to do their damage up front and the team punched their ticket to the tournament finals edging out a 6-5 win and advancing to the finals to face a Durango squad, the same team that crushed the Kickers’ dreams at a tournament in Telluride last year.

But there was little that could stop the Kickers this time around. Again, with the best starting nine of all teams all weekend long, the Kickers stepped on the front foot from the opening kickoff. They struggled in the finishing third though, but finally cracked the seal in the 25th minute as JJ O’Neal stepped to a high bouncing ball to nod it home for a 1-0 lead.

Durango tied the game 1-1 just two minutes later with a set piece and were surging off the goal but the Kickers came back to finish the first half on a couple of highlight reel efforts.

The first came when Cole Triedman played the ball forward to Brice. Brice turned the corner on the Durango defender and fed Graham inside the six-yard box for Graham to stuff it home and bring a 2-1 Kickers’ lead.

Durango looked to tie it up again two minutes later as their striker drew a foul inside the Kickers’ penalty area earning a penalty kick. But Rodriguez had other plans as he picked the correct side and made a diving save to deny the penalty shooter and keep the Kickers 2-1 lead intact heading into halftime.

The Kickers stepped on the gas once again at the start of the second half, but Durango held off their initial push. Durango had little to work with on their attacks as Fisher, Bravo and Abbott proved too organized to offer any opportunities for Durango.

The Kickers’ effort paid off 20 minutes into the second half when Alex Augusta pressured the Durango defense inside their own penalty area and picked the ball off a player only to get fouled earning the Kickers a penalty kick. Bravo did the honors and buried his shot for a 3-1 Kickers’ lead. 

Once again, Durango responded to make it 3-2 but the Kickers sealed the deal when Abbott dropped a direct kick inside the Durango six-yard box and Brice got enough on the ball to push it past their keeper for a 4-2 lead and the eventual 4-2 win, the first hometown tournament title in the 29 years of the hometown tournament.


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