Sports Stories

Maitreya Carmen scores vs.jpg The Verde Valley Soccer Club traveled to Durango, Colo., on May 12 and 13 and competed in the Durango Shootout.

 By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers

The Verde Valley Soccer Club traveled to Durango, Colo., on May 12 and 13 and competed in the Durango Shootout.

The tournament hosted over 120 teams from different parts of the country.

Three girls teams representing the VVSC traveled to the popular tournament, hoping to be able to just compete.

“Durango is a special tournament. You make hotel reservations months in advance. You also turn in your application to play months ahead of time. It’s a very exclusive tournament,” under age 12 division Head Coach Lee Canning said.

What they got in return was certainly more than expected.

In the girls division, the  U-11 River Runners played very well and won their first three games.

With the girls playing well, the coach certainly had something to do with it.

“I’ve been coaching a long time now, and it is a challenge, but it’s been a real joy for me,” U-11 Head Coach Larry Nevitt said.

Unfortunately, they had to settle for second-place medals, as they lost in the championship game to the Albuquerque [N.M.] Ravens, 2-0.

“This is our first year to play in the silver division. It was a great experience for the girls, and a great victory for us to make it this far,” Nevitt said.

As for the U-12 Verde Valley team, the Vendetta dominated the competition and took home first-place medals.

“It was a goal for us just to go to the Durango tournament,” Canning said.

They won all four games they played, outscoring their opponents 11-0.

“It was the perfect ending to our season,” Canning said.

The Vendetta beat Cortez, Colo., 3-0; Albuquerque, N.M., 2-0; Durango, Colo., 3-0; and Telluride, Colo., in the championship, 3-0.

“We were very relaxed and very confident. The girls were really happy to be there,” Canning said.

Winning is not everything, as the old cliché goes, and coach Canning believes every word of it.

“We are teaching life lessons to these kids,” Canning said.

In the U-14 division, the Venom had a disappointing start to its tournament.

“We started off with a loss, losing to the Durango United team, 3-1,” U-14 Head Coach Craig Backus said.

“But throughout the rest of the tournament the girls pulled it together and played well,” he said.

You bet they did.

The Venom team defeated the Albuquerque [N.M.] Ice,  4-1, showing everyone that the game before was just a fluke.

“It’s a great way to build morale,” Backus said.

After the confidence-building win, the Venom would roll the rest of the tournament, defeating the Farmington [N.M.] Venom Red, 4-2, and the Las Cruces [N.M.] Kixx, 2-1, in the championship.

With two girls teams taking home first-place medals, and the other taking second-place medals, it seems the VVSC must of had plenty of fun.

“The tournaments are the cream of the crop. It’s their favorite part,” Backus said.

“They get to play their favorite game, and then they get to hang out with their friends,” he said.

It is not just the coaches and the girls having fun, their families are usually right behind them.

“It’s a family event, all the families stay in the same motels, and it’s very bonding,” Backus said.

“Good team unity is built,” he said.


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