MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — It’s roughly 4,000 miles between Montana and Sweden, but for about 60 Billings teenagers, that distance got a little closer this week thanks to a Montana State University Billings coach.
And a few soccer balls.
This past weekend, four Billings youth soccer teams (u14 boys, u15 girls, u16 boys and u17 girls) from the newly formed Magic City European Soccer Tour departed for a 16-day European soccer adventure. Led by MSU Billings soccer coach Don Trentham, they will be competing in two of the most renowned, international soccer tournaments in the world —the Gothia and Dana cups.
“This is just a tremendous opportunity for these kids,” said Trentham at a girls practice last week.
He said he still fondly remembers his experience playing in Gothia Cup and Dana Cup competitions while he played youth soccer in Texas and wanted to be able to lead Billings players on the same adventure. The players, parents and supporters started organizing things last summer.
After a tryout held in July 2008, the players from each team worked extremely hard to raise money for their European trip. Each player was in charge of raising money and paying for their cost of the trip, approximately $3,100. The players participated in several fundraising opportunities throughout the year including Silpada sales, Herberger’s individual and store coupon sales, letter writing campaign, bake sales, Butter Braid sales, and a group garage sale. The total amount raised was approximately $20,000.
Two of the team leaders for the u17 girls are recent Billings Senior grads who will be starting their college soccer careers at MSU Billings in the fall.
Courtney Harvey, who plays center defender and plans to major in pre-medicine at MSU Billings, said she’s looking forward to taking in all aspects of the tournaments.
“What am I looking forward to? The food… everything!” she said. “Meeting the players from different countries will be interesting.”
Harvey said she is impressed with the team chemistry.
“The team has clicked really well,” she said, noting that her teammates range in age from 15 to 17 and come together from different high schools. “Things have really worked out well. I think we’re going to do really good.”
Jaucelyn Richter, who plays striker for the u17 girls team and plans to study biology at MSU Billings in the fall, said she expects the Billings teams to compete well because they have worked hard together in practices.
“We want to go over there and have fun, but we want to compete well too,” she said.
The teams start off their European tour July 12-18 in Gothenburg, Sweden for the Gothia Cup. The Gothia Cup is a long-standing tournament that began in 1975. This year’s cup will have 1,505 participating teams from 61 nations. Throughout the tournament, each team will partake in a guaranteed four matches and multiple player gatherings. The players will also have multiple sightseeing opportunities.
At the Gothia Cup, the u14 boys will play against two teams from Sweden and one team from Germany. The u16 boys will play against two teams from Sweden and one team from England. The u15 and u17 girls will play all three group matches against teams from Sweden.
From July 20-25, the European Tour is in Hjorring, Denmark for the Dana Cup. The Dana Cup consists of 800 teams from 44 countries. Aside from the matches, the players will have opportunities to gather with other players from the different countries. At the Dana Cup, the u14 boys will play against two teams from Norway and one team from Romania. The u16 boys will play against three teams from Norway and one team from Sweden. The u15 and u17 girls will play against two teams from Norway and one team from Sweden.
Listed below are the administrators, coaches, players and managers of the four teams:
Tour Director – Don Trentham, MSUB Head Women’s Coach Assistant Tour Director – Ally Stroup, MSUB Assistant Women’s Coach Tour Administrator – Shelley Prosinski Fundraising Coordinator – Michelle Smith
The u14 boys’ team, coached by Ryan Gage and managed by Eileen McDonald, consists of Bryce Curry, Sage D’Ambrosia, Connor English, Justin Gordon, Clay Callihan, Grant Linde, Donovan Luce, Mason Luse, Nathan McDonald, Zach Morganflash, Alexander Muessig, Nick Preston, Jake Woodring and Emmett Zavitz.
The u15 girls’ team, coached by Stroup and managed by Shelley Van Atta, consists of Mandi Achten, Janell Cabrera, Sophie Dimich-Louvet, Devon Donahue, Bailey Guelff, Rachel Hein, Courtney Hunt, Chez Keehn, Celia Kirkland, Carissa Okragly, Taylor Smith, Marissa Van Atta, Stephanie White and Savannah Witt.
The u16 boys’ team, coached by Kevin Luse and managed by Cecelia Emerick, consists of Matt Brink, Cal Chase, Logan Deeney, Kyle Emerick, Kory Erickson, Joe Frank, Daniel Gordon, Treve Icenoggle, Nathan Long, Kolby McGarrah, Zach Moyers, Jordan Nigh, Jayden Richter, Jared Ruddock and Andrew Sennett.
The u17 girls’ team, coached by Trentham and managed by Susan Maier, consists of Katie Baum, Ryanne Frazier, Courtney Harvey, Kaylee Kimmett, Tayler Kueffler, Kaitlyn Maher, Katie Maier, Megan Murtagh, Taylor O’Toole, Maddie Preston, Laura Prosinski, Marta Prosinski, Jaucelyn Richter, Sarah Snoozy, Ambri Stein and Tori Weyand.