By Halle Thornton
50th Schriever Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Fifteen Airmen will play in the 2018 Rocky Mountain Region Soccer Tournament, hosted by the United States Air Force Academy, July 20.
Each team will play in a blind draw double-elimination tournament. Teams with the best record, in case of ties, and best goal differential will advance to the next round.
If teams have the same record and goal differential, a penalty shootout will determine the team that moves on.
Capt. Eric Wilson, assistant director of operations with the 50th Operations Support Squadron and central defender, explained the annual tournament invites all Rocky Mountain regional teams, including Schriever AFB, Peterson Air Force Base, Fort Carson, Buckley Air Force Base and Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.
“Playing Fort Carson first will be a very tough test,” he said. “They are well organized, well coached and have a ton of athleticism.”
Wilson added their team needs to have a more tactical mindset going into the tournament and focus on keeping the ball based on where players are playing.
“We need to determine where our strengths are, and attack when we can,” he said. “The tournament is short and has a bunch of games, so the ideal mindset is to think long term for this short duration and think about all the games, not necessarily just the first one.”
Although the team has not practiced together in a while, they have played outdoors in the fall and know each other well.
Seth Cannello, fitness center director with the 50th Force Support Squadron, said Schriever AFB has a lot of talented players.
“I’m glad they will have the opportunity to showcase their skills against other military members,” he said.
Christopher Lamb, with the 1st Space Operations Squadron and center mid-fielder, praised the fitness center for giving their team the support they need.
“They provide equipment and funding for the team,” he said. “We are looking to grow the team so we can take advantage of what the gym has to offer and get the team playing regularly.”
Wilson has been part of the Schriever AFB team since his arrival three years ago, and has been playing soccer since the age of three.
“It was a well-developed team in 2016; however, it has since faltered a little bit here and there,” he said.
Along with Lamb, the two melded the team back together, encouraging participation in local soccer leagues, both in the spring and fall.
The RMR Soccer Tournament is a stepping stone, and will help prepare Team Schriever for the 2018 Defender’s Cup National Military Soccer Tournament, in San Antonio, Texas, the only military open soccer tournament in the nation.
The Defender’s Cup is open to all base/post-level soccer teams representing any service installation.
“I like seeing our team come together again in preparation for the tournament down the road,” he said. “That way we have an established team that will help us do well.”
Wilson volunteered for the role of player-coach at Schriever AFB after coaching two years at F.E. Warren AFB, and looks forward to assisting the other players on and off the field.
“My favorite part about soccer is helping others become the best players they can be,” he said. “Having the background I do allows me to tactically coach other members on the team while the game is going on.”
Lamb agreed, saying he enjoys passing on knowledge and witnessing players improve.
A lot of the coaching Wilson and Lamb do is before game time.
“He (Lamb) has the coaching experience, and I rely heavily on him,” Wilson added.
Wilson looks forward to competing against other teams in the area, and seeing where Team Schriever’s skills stack up against the others.
“I’m excited to see where we stand against the other base teams in the area,” Wilson said. “We haven’t played them in a long time, and teams kind of fall away then come back and resurge, so to establish a baseline is going to be foundational to us doing well in the coming months leading up to the Defender’s Cup.”