US Soccer Fest

Soccer Fest Throughout the Years

Sue B:

Sue is a soccer coach and trainer in Washington state. Sue was a pre-Title IX athlete who began her sports career with gymnastics during high school. She started playing soccer when her children began playing the sport. Sue and her husband initially played in a co-rec team. Soccer leagues were developing in the Seattle area at the time and it was easy for them to find a team to play on. Sue's first Vet's Cup was the 1999 tournament in Bellingham and she continued to play throughout the years. Her passion for the sport led her to participate with friends in tournaments abroad as well as in the US.

Sue starting coaching high school soccer in 1994. At that time the number of girls and women in soccer was increasing spurred by the USWNT win at the 1991 FIFA World Cup. (Prior to that women's soccer was not renown but after the 1991 win, it gained prominence and saw an influx of women players and coaches.) Then after the 1999 USWNT win girls started choosing soccer over other traditional sports. As Sue mentions, "it was a fun time to be involved." Sue got her USSF coaching licenses and engaged in clinics/courses taught by former players such as Michelle Akers.

Years later after a hip replacement Sue was not able to play soccer as she had before. A friend suggested Walking Soccer and Sue researched the rules, watched videos of Walking Futbal in the UK, gathered friends, found fields and started playing the sport. It was a match made in heaven. With help from the Washington State Adult Soccer Association (WSASA), Sue has been able to introduce the sport in Hawaii as well as continue play in WA. Currently Sue is on staff with the WSASA as its Walking Soccer Director. She is poised to help grow Walking Soccer nationally as well as to develop the men's side of the game. She will be leading Walking Soccer games and exhibitions everyday of Soccer Fest 2018. As Sue has mentioned, "It's a very healthy way to get in 10-12K steps in an hour game, It's still the same dynamic game at a new dynamic pace. Lots of goal scoring and team celebrating. Lots of retired soccer players are returning to the game they love. Talk about a healthy choice!" Look for Sue on the fields this summer at Soccer Fest 2018 - she just might challenge your team to a Walking Soccer game!

Lynne C:

Lynne started playing soccer for slightly different reasons than most players. She was working in a law office and a colleague remarked that Lynne seemed angry. The colleague invited Lynne to play soccer telling her it would be an opportunity to "kick things." Forty years later Lynne still plays, her passion for soccer evident as she describes her first Vets Cup in 1999: "Emerald City Slickers beat California + a few Washington superstar traitors for gold in a shootout. The fields were muck, slide tackles were legal, and it took guts just to admit being over 50." From that 1999 team only 5 women still play; the rest have aged out or are injured. Despite this Lynne has worked with other women to advance the O70 bracket in other tournaments. She'll be playing O70 on a full field later this year after other tournament organizers altered the liability waiver. "I've seen men die on the field…I would be ok dying on the field but it might not be ok for the tournament organizers."

Like other players, soccer has helped Lynne stay physically and mentally healthy. Early on Lynne knew that she could get easily distracted. But participating in soccer strengthened her concentration. "Games assure you of 90 minutes of camaraderie and focus. When you're done with the game you can't help but measure yourself against your idea of who you think you are." She feels this self-reflection has made her a better person.

Lynne has also coached with Joyce T in Seattle's Intercity league, a forerunner of it's Youth Clubs today. Seattle University provided the fields and Lynne and Joyce provided the technical expertise and inspiration. "I don't know what they thought of us because we were all grandmothers."

Lynne remembers all her Vets Cup years - the opening ceremonies, medal presentations, meeting great soccer women and the parties. One of her favorite Vets Cup was 2002 in Beckley, WV. Her O50 team, Shear Power finished with all wins and no goals against them. During the semi's in that tournament, Lynne lobbed the ball and it bounced into the goal. It was the perfect tournament! Look for Lynne this summer in Bellingham. She will be playing with Virginia/California O65 and she will also play in the Walking Soccer exhibitions and games.

Wendy F:

There were no women's sports in the 60's when Wendy was in school. After she moved to Washington to teach school a friend approached her to join a soccer team. Neither she nor any of the other 15 ladies on her team had ever played before. But Wendy was captivated by the game and in her late 20's Wendy discovered a love for soccer that has continued over 40 years.

What is it that has kept her passionate for the game? One answer may be the friendships that she has formed with other ladies - friendships that transcend individual teams and leagues. Over the years, Wendy has traveled with teammates to tournaments in Australia, Las Vegas and Utah. Tournaments provide her and other players the ability to catch up and spend more time with each other. Wendy and her friends know each other's stories; they've been through death, cancer, and divorces together. It's a close camaraderie of friends that is slowly growing smaller in number. But still, Wendy continues to play even through bad injuries. After all that's what physical therapy is for.

Soccer has also kept Wendy mentally and physically healthy. Life can get lonely after a certain age and the friendships that Wendy has formed help her maintain a healthy state of mind. Wendy is also in better shape than most women her age and still runs - just a little slower. Soccer attracts players who live a healthy lifestyle and pursue other physical activities like hiking for Wendy. Refs that oversee her O65 games often compliment her teammates on not just their skill level but also their stamina.

But don't count out the power of a great win to keep a soccer player motivated in the game. Wendy first participated in the Vets Cup in 1999. At that time there were only two O50 teams. The teams played each other several times and Wendy's team played and beat an O40 team by 4-1. A win she and other teammates (Lynne C and Maj S) remember well. Wendy also remembers winning the 2001 O50 Vets Cup in Beckley, WV with the Evergreen Steelers. "It was very cool how the town embraced us and newspapers published articles about us daily." The pilot on the plane ride home even announced their victory!

Wendy has also coached her children's rec teams, worked with local kids' clubs and is a Commissioner with the Washington State Women's Soccer Association. In 1999 she was awarded the Bernadette Noonan Award for her unselfish service to soccer by the WSWSA. For the 2018 Bellingham Tournament Wendy will be in her midfielder's position subbing with O65 teams. She's also participating in the Walking Soccer exhibition games planned. Walking Soccer has provided Wendy an opportunity to reconnect with friends who have had hip and/or knee replacements and still want to play. She likens it to an intense skills clinic. Walking as fast as she can, she and other players concentrate on positioning on the ball and accuracy in passes. For Wendy, Walking Soccer has proven to be fun, relevant and easy on her joints. Look for Wendy on the fields this summer in Bellingham.