Breck men’s soccer club wins title
SUMMIT COUNTY – That G in Johnny G’s name doesn’t just stand for Greco. It also stands for goaltending. Stellar goaltending. Goaltending that helped the Breckenridge Men’s Soccer Club win a division title this season.
On Sunday in Parker, the Breck men capped a 6-1-1 record in its first season in Division II of the Colorado Amateur Soccer League (CASL) with a thrilling win in the championship game against Denver Rush. The game was tied 1-1 through regulation, and Breck won it in a penalty-kick shoot out, when Greco made a save in the seventh round of penalty kicks.
The save came on Greco’s counterpart, the Denver Rush goalkeeper.
“I was just kind of watching him during the game,” Greco said. “He was right-footed, so I automatically thought he was going to my right.
“As a goalkeeper you’re trained to pretty much take a guess,” Greco explained. “He shot it high, I barely got a hand on it and it hit the crossbar. Then I saw it bounce back in front of me and knew we had won.”
For a lot of members of the team, the victory brought back memories of college careers past. After all, a penalty-kick, shoot-out win in a title game is sweet at any level.
“It was that kind of championship feeling where you run out to the middle of the field and get tackled by your teammates,” Greco said.
Greco, a Frisco bar owner, won a junior college national title at Spartanburg Methodist in South Carolina and played on North Carolina’s club team. Matt Zeiset, who assisted on Breck’s only regulation goal in the title game, played for Hartwick College. Team captain and midfielder Justin Turri played at Denver University.
“Most have played college ball, but it’s been a few years,” said team founder and self-described old guy Kim McGahey. “This really brings back that level of competitiveness. A lot of the guys on the team said it was the best soccer they’ve played since college.”
The Breckenridge men joined the CASL two years ago and quickly moved through divisions IV, III and into II. They seem to have found a home in the second division, winning it, but not dominating it.
“I kept expecting to come up against that team that was going to pound us, but it didn’t happen,” McGahey said. “We kept showing that we were one of the best in the league.”
“This division was awesome,” Greco said. “Every game was competitive. It was good, clean soccer. When you have 22 people on the field that know how to play the game, it’s really fun.”
After a bit of rebuilding a few years ago, the club has managed to retain a core of about a dozen players who live in the county year round. This season, that core was bolstered by some fresh faces that made it a championship-caliber team.
“It’s a good combination of personalities and soccer ability,” said McGahey, who been there for all 24 years of the team’s history.
On Sunday, Breck took a 1-0 lead in the first half when Zeiset found Jason Azuma on a cross. Turri and fellow midfielders Grant Windle, Matt Donnelly, Chris Juhlin and Daisy Flowers battled for possession against the Rush, and defenders Jamie Alford, Steve Federocko, John Forest and Steve Brlansky minimized shots on Greco, who made 12 saves in regulation.
In the shoot out, Federocko, Zeiset, Turri, Flowers, Azuma, Donnelly and Ken Rowe each converted their penalty kicks, giving Greco a chance to make the game-winning save.
The team will play in the Breckenridge indoor leagues this winter and return to the CASL in the spring.
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