Snoqualmie team wins soccer tourney
August 8, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
They’re talented, they’re tough, they’re trash-talkers.
Oh, and they are either 11 or 10.
The U-12 Cascade FC Select Soccer team of girls from the Snoqualmie Valley reached their second consecutive final game at the Crossfire Select Tournament in Redmond in late July.
This year they won it, finishing with a 5-0 record, scoring 11 goals and allowing one. They played teams from all over the Puget Sound area.
Fourteen girls played in the tournament, including six who played in the 2011 finals.
“It was tough to work really hard and not win,” player Bella Gerlitz said of their 2011 season, “so we came back and worked harder.”
The coach of the team they beat in this year’s finals also helps coach them once a week, a fact the girls relish.
“We’re bringing the trophy every Wednesday so he can see it,” said teammate Maddie Lilleberg, the daughter of one of the team’s two head coaches. “And we are bringing a microscope so he can find his.”
That mixture of competitive and goofy permeates the team. The teammates on the field get along after games, too.
In fact, they spent part of one practice gabbing about an upcoming birthday party. They all said they don’t mind the traveling of soccer tourneys. A trip to Monroe looms at the end of August and they can’t wait.
“Whenever you go with the team,” teammate Paris DelDegan said, “it’s just great.”
Players took different routes to the team: Some like Grace Stetson split time between lacrosse and soccer. Some play because Dad played. Some play because Dad coached.
Eric Berberich coaches the team alongside Steve Lilleberg. Both have children on the team. The team used to be coached by a woman, who has since moved to Maine.
One girl coach the team looks up to is Nikki Stanton. The former Mount Si High School standout and currently a teammate of soccer star Hope Solo on the Sounders Women team works with the girls once a month.
“They are very lucky to have the opportunity to work with a professional,” team manager and mom Corey McKenzie said, “and create a relationship with such an inspiring role model.”
Still, they like being coached by boys.
“Sometimes girl coaches are a little afraid to yell and get tough,” DelDegan said. “Our coaches are not.”
The result is a fearless team that plays tough and expects toughness from each other.
“If I get hurt, if I break something, it can always heal,” Lauren Forrest said.
“You can’t come to a soccer game expecting not to get hurt,” she said. “You have to not be afraid to be aggressive.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at wwww.snovalleystar.com.