COLORADO -- Fresh from a State Cup semi-final appearance to complete the 2013-2014 competitive season, the NEOFC 02 Boys Blue embarked on a mission to combine on-pitch achievement with a week of family fun.
By the end of their trip the 02 Blues would leave their mark on “Colorful Colorado,” bringing back tournament title hardware, along with treasured soccer family memories.
After making a way through the Great Plains, the acclimation process for the ’02 Boys’ extended stay in The Centennial State would begin by taking part in the Rush Open at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. There, at the home of the MLS’ Colorado Rapids, Coach Brunner’s boys would recover from an early setback against the host Colorado Rush by defeating the CASA Thunders 2-0 in a consolation game on June 8th. The boys were able to get out in front before an electrical storm would bring an early end to the game and tournament.
Following the Rush Open, families dispersed throughout the Greater Denver area, coming together at various points throughout the next week to share Rocky Mountain adventures. Trips to Estes Park, zip-lining in Idaho Springs, train rides and mining tours, hiking Red Rocks Park and campgrounds are just a few of the joint activities that took place.
The team gathered to train at the home of the Colorado Ice youth soccer club on Thursday June 12th. The 02 Blues enjoyed exercises on the artificial turf and scenic grounds in preparation for the Rocky Mountain Cup in Golden, Colorado that weekend.
Although Rocky Mountain Cup action would get off to a slow start for the team with a 2-2 tie to Colorado WAFC 02, the 02s would eventually find their game at the Pleasant View Soccer Complex in Boulder, Colorado. With the Flatiron Mountain Range as a backdrop, the boys gained momentum on their way through the Gold bracket with victories of 1-0 over the Colorado Storm and 7-0 against the FC Boulder Elite.
Time in between matches were shared between team picnics and outings to the famous Pearl Street shopping district in Boulder before finally re-engaging WAFC Colorado and defeating them 5-1 in the championship match on June 15th . This achievement would put a cherry on top of that Sunday and a very memorable week.
Although the final match ended around 4pm, fueled by adrenaline from success and memories--and perhaps a shot or two of their preferred caffeine beverage--02 families made their ways home by plane or vehicle caravan. Several parents may have made their way to work the next day with little or no sleep and carried through to officially cap things off by watching the U.S. Men’s National Team defeat Ghana 2-1 that Monday evening.
...Quite a journey.
Congratulations to the 02 Boys Blue—2014 Rocky Mountain Cup Champs!