Hey, Spike! localizes soccer’s World Cup final
July 20, 2018
Though North American football (pointy pigskin) fans may not want to admit it, being Super Bowl world champions is on a much smaller scale than the other game of football — soccer — when it comes to winning the World Cup.
France just whacked Croatia 4-2 in Moscow, Russia, last weekend, bringing a crowning moment to a qualifying series that goes on and on around the globe.
For the French, the World Cup win came with another big day in history.
"Champions of the World — Only one thing can eclipse the historical importance of July 14 (Bastille Day): The 2018 final of The World Cup," headlined the French Bonjour Paris newsletter in Spike!'s email.
"What a time to be in Paris. The World Cup win, coupled with Bastille Day fireworks and celebrations, created a fête-tastic ambiance in the City of Light this past weekend," it added.
The game holds a steady focus on The Summit, where the game of soccer has been around longer than Summit High Tigers football.
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Frisco's Main Street ClubHouse, owned by former Major League Baseball player Jeff Davis, filled its upper and lower levels with High Country Soccer players and their fans to view the World Cup final action.
One of those enthusiastic soccer fans — and a former collegiate player — was Tod Hunt.
Tod played for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the late '60s, continuing on men's adult teams in suburban D.C. and Pittsburgh until he was 55, and as a volunteer coach for the Pittsburgh Dynamo Youth Soccer Club, now in its 30th year.
"I finished up by playing in the Veterans Cup, the national tournament for club teams on the Over 50 team representing Western Pennsylvania. We placed third," the 70-year-old recalls.
"Sunday morning's World Cup Final in Moscow between France and Croatia did not escape soccer enthusiasts who came to watch the game on the numerous TVs at The ClubHouse at the invitation of the High Country Soccer Club," he adds.
Another soccer standout among the cheering crowd was Andrea Rosenthal, executive director of High Country Soccer.
Also attending was board member Sandy Briggs, who starred at Williams College and was involved on a national level.
High Country Soccer is a nonprofit association facilitating youth and adult soccer programming for all of Summit County.
"Our mission is to provide a positive soccer experience for players of every age and skill level, regardless of their financial capabilities," says Andrea, who estimated the final game drew 120-140 youth, locals, High Country Soccer participants and tourists.
"The crowd was definitely pro Croatia, with some vocal and loud France fans mixed in there," she notes. "The crowd was definitely engaged and animated on the key plays."
High Country Soccer is a popular organization.
"Spread out over three different areas, High Country Soccer Recreational local programming has about 750+ youth participants," explains Andrea. "Summit Strikers F.C. has approximately 130 youth athletes with 10 different travel teams and our adult league boasts over 325 registered players this summer."
A life-long sport for many, High Country Soccer has kids starting at age 4. Andrea is an outstanding example of that.
"I began in a program much like High Country Soccer at my elementary school when I was in kindergarten," Andrea says. "My father helped get the programming running with a few other parents."
She credits coaching influences from playing club ball in Upstate New York when Betsy Drambour, an NCAA Division I champion from George Mason, was a coach.
A native of Loudonville, New York, Andrea attended Hobart and William Smith for college and played for Aliceann Wilber, the "winningest coach in all of NCAA soccer — any division."
Later returning to her alma mater, the all girls prep school Emma Willard in Troy, New York, to coach for three years, Andrea followed that up with a stint as assistant coach at Gustavus Adolphus College at St. Peter, Minnesota.
"While I loved college coaching, the call to the mountains was stronger and I came back to Breckenridge in 2014," she says, becoming the High Country Soccer executive director in 2015.
Back to Breck? Andrea has the oft-told tale:
"I moved here in 2008 to teach skiing for one winter after college and got involved with coaching at High Country Soccer. One winter turned into four before I moved to Minnesota in 2012 (and ran back here during the winters) and moved back in 2014."
The soccer organization plans more community events.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. His son played soccer at Summit High. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org