Coloradans add kick to history of women’s soccer

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 7/16/19

Colorado soccer players have played a role in FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournaments from the very beginning. In the recently completed 2019 World Cup in France, former Mountain Vista player …

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Coloradans add kick to history of women’s soccer


Colorado soccer players have played a role in FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournaments from the very beginning.

In the recently completed 2019 World Cup in France, former Mountain Vista player Mallory Pugh and Lindsey Horan, who went to Golden High School, were on the victorious United States team that won its second consecutive World Cup crown.

Two other Colorado products were on teams in this year’s tournament. Valor Christian graduate Janine Beckie played for Canada and Rocky Mountain graduate Estelle Johnson was on the Cameroon squad.

Marian Dougherty, a member of Green Mountain’s 2003 state championship team, was on the USA team that came in third in the 2007 World Cup.

April Heinrichs was the first former Colorado high school standout to play in the Women’s World Cup.

The 1982 Heritage graduate and two-time NCAA Player of the Year at North Carolina was captain of the USA team in 1991, which won the first Women’s World Cup.

However, at the time, it was sponsored by Mars Inc. and called the first FIFA World Championships for Women’s Football for the M&M Cup. Later the reluctant FIFA changed to name to the Women’s World Cup.

All matches lasted 80 minutes and the Americans edged Norway, 2-1, in the championship finale.

Heinrichs later was the head coach of the Women’s National Team from 2000-04 and led the Americans to the Olympic gold medal in 2004. Her career with the U.S. WNT as a player, coach and administration ended last year when she left her position as Youth Women’s National Team Director.

She was in Europe and could not be reached for comment but in a press release from the U.S. Soccer Federation, the National Soccer Hall of Famer said it was difficult to step away.

“To this day, every time our National Anthem is played, I get goosebumps, triggering those game day emotions knowing it’s time to perform,” she said.

“Game day with the National Team is unlike any other day. Those are the best days no matter your role when it’s time to rise in the pressure cooker and represent the USA.”

Expanded playoffs

New football league alignments for the 2020 and 2021 seasons have been approved by the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Board of Directors but these league setups were not as drastic of a change as when the waterfall format was ratified a few years ago.

The bigger news was that 4A football will expand its playoff bracket from 18 to 24 teams starting in 2020.

Class 5A currently has a 24-team playoff bracket and the 4A playoffs will operate in the same way, with the top eight seeds getting a bye and with seeds 9-24 playing first-round games.

Westminster will play in the 5A Metro 10 League for the 2019 season with a new head coach in Dayne Allbrandt.

Allbrandt has been a Westminster football coach for the past seven seasons and head junior varsity coach the last four campaigns. He has also been the head boys and girls track coach for four seasons.

For 2020 and 2021 the Wolves will be aligned in the Metro 1 league with Adams City, Boulder, Fort Collins, Mountain Range and Northglenn.

Tee it high

Kaylee Chen, a 15-year-old sophomore-to-be at Cherry Creek High School, built up a big lead and won the girls title at the Colorado Junior Amateur Championships at Frost Creek in Eagle on July 10.

Chen had a six-shot lead going into the final round of the 54-hole tournament and despite a 6-over-par 78 during the third round she won by two shots. Chen carded 74 and 72 during the first two days and finished with a 224 total.

Defending champion Katie Berrian, a Castle Rock resident and senior at Regis Jesuit, had a final round of 3-under-par 69 to tie for second place at 226 (78, 79, 69). Ashley Kozlowski, who will be a senior at Rock Canyon, also finished at 226 (79, 74, 73).

• The Girls Junior America’s Cup will be played July 29 to Aug. 1 in Murrieta, California and Northglenn’s Aubri Braecklein has been selected as one of the competitors on Colorado’s four-golfer team.

Braecklein, who tied for second in the 3A state golf championships for Jefferson Academy, has also qualified for the IMG Academy Junior World Championships next month and the Optimist Junior Golf Championships.

• Golfweek has a list of the best modern and classic layouts and a few Colorado courses ranked high, but it takes patience to find the list.

In the modern list of courses built since in 1960, Ballyneal in Holyoke was No. 4. Colorado Golf Club in Parker was ranked 35th and Castle Pines Golf Club was No. 55.

Cherry Hills Country Club was 89th in classic layouts built before 1960. The Broadmoor Golf Club was ranked at 168th.

• Qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Amateur was held July 3 at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora. Legend High School graduate and Parker resident Anna Kennedy and Katherine Hollern, who went to Valor Christian, were two of the five qualifiers. Both Kennedy and Hollern shot even par 72.

Kennedy is a senior who plays golf at Brigham Young and Hollern played lacrosse at Valor and didn’t play college golf at either Virginia or the University of Denver.

The U.S. Amateur is set for Aug. 5-11 at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Mississippi.

Athletes of the Year

Valor Christian had both the boys and girls track athletes of the year.

Junior Cole Sprout was Gatorade’s boys track athlete of the year for the second consecutive year. He was also tabbed as the boys cross country runner of the year for the past two seasons.

Sprout won the 1,600 and 3,200 meters at the 5A state track meet in May and has the fastest two-mile in the nation with an 8:46.41 early in the season.

Anna Hall, a senior headed to compete for Georgia, was the Gatorade girls track athlete of the year.

Hall, who earned this honor in 2018, won the 100 and 300 meter hurdles and was on the winning 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams at the May state championships.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.


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