The Galaxies had a lot of "firsts" in going to the tournament in Columbia, not the least of which was playing in their first game as a team
ST. ROBERT — Another area soccer team that competed at the Show-Me State games in Columbia over the weekend brought back some hardware too.
The Under-15 St. Robert Soccer Club (SRSC) Galaxies, grabbed the silver medal in the tournament, which also happened to be their first trip to the open tournament.
The “firsts” go beyond that though — it was also the first time they had ever competed as a team.
Their coach, Tricia Cartwright, says she was approached by a parent after spring recreational soccer had wrapped up on Fort Leonard Wood. The parent, who had a player on Cartwright's team, asked her to coach a team for the summer season.
Naturally, she agreed.
After playing in some 3v3 games around the area, her husband and Assistant Coach Ed Cartwright suggested that they take a team to Show-Me State.
The only problem is, at Show-Me they play in Olympic format.
“We practiced the next two months for preparing,” Cartwright said.
Despite their efforts, the Galaxies dropped their first game on Friday, August 18.
Cartwright said an injury to one of the players shook SRSC's focus.
“A kid got his ankle broke on the first day,” Cartwright explained. “So they didn't have their minds on the game.”
Regardless, Cartwright could see the loss dampened the team's spirits.
“I explained to them this is our first time playing as a team,” Cartwright said. “We've never played a game or a tournament together. I explained this is just a game. As a coach, I like to win, everyone does, but tomorrow was a new day.”
Unbelievably, the next day their injured player, Johnny Leslie, was able to attend his team's game and that allowed the team to rally around their friend and teammate.
“The next day when Johnny was back on the bench, they just went out there and played soccer,” Cartwright said.
The Galaxies promptly won their next two games, putting them in the finals.
Unfortunately, their opponent was Sporting CSC (Columbia Soccer Club), an unbelievably talented team according to Cartwright, and so the Galaxies ended up losing in the finals 8-0.
SRSC ended up with the silver medal and Cartwright said the team was ecstatic.
“Kids were screaming and yelling,” she remembered. “When we walked in there [to receive their medal]... the commute to Columbia was overwhelming, but to get there and go from where we were on Friday to when that game ended at 3:15 was amazing.”
It made all of the hard work preparing for the trip worth it.
SRSC didn't have any sponsors to help fund their run to the Show-Me State games.
The team had two car-washes and a bake sale. After that, the parents split the remaining cost 15 ways.
Even with all of those hurdles, Cartwright said she wants to take two U15 teams next year.
For the love of the game.
“I absolutely love the sport,” Cartwright said. “I love coaching my kids. It all started when my kids were 4 and 5 and our sporting director called and said, 'We don't have a coach for your kids team, would you like to coach?' I said sure.”
This year makes 10 years of coaching (split between Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas) for Cartwright.
She got to wrap it up with a silver medal for her and her players.