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Familiar foe

Two Craig U14 soccer teams will face off six times this season

David Pressgrove

“Trenton go after your sister,” goalkeeper Phalynn Terry of the Craig U14 Bluepers yelled Thursday night, as her youth recreation soccer team faced off against the Craig U14 Ketchup.

The two teams are familiar with each other because the players on both sides are from Craig and throughout the season they will become even more familiar. They are the only two teams in the Craig Parks and Recreation league this summer in the oldest age group, which means the teams will face off six times during the season.

If it were not for Hayden bringing two teams on Tuesdays to play, the Craig teams would play all 12 games against each other.

“I like playing against your friends,” Terry said. “That way you can make fun of them and they know you are joking.”

Terry did most of the talking on Thursday night. She asked the other team if they were color blind, explained to a Blueper forward that she was too much of a Barbie to be running and told the photographer to make sure he got a picture of her making the a great save every time the ball crossed the halfway line on her side of the field.

The Bluepers own the series with two wins, 1-0 and 2-1, in the first two weeks. Ketchup coach Bill Sawer said that the outcome could be different in the upcoming games.

“When you play an opponent for a third time you are so familiar with them that one mistake could cost a team the game,” he said. “These first two games were just one goal games and both teams were making mistakes that weren’t capitalized on. As we improve, the one-goal games could swing in our favor.”

Some of the players think about the showdown in simpler terms.

“I just like to take out my sister,” said Trenton Duarte, whose sister, Leticia, is a Blueper. “We talk a little trash at home, but it’s just for fun.”

The players were split on whether playing against friends makes it more competitive.

“You want to win, but at the same time you don’t want to see them lose,” said Stephanie Balderston of the Bluepers. “We know that it is just a game and that afterwards they aren’t going to hate us.”

“I think it is more competitive against Hayden because they are better,” Blueper Ben Brown said. “Of course if the Ketchup ever beat us then I might think different.”

Blueper coach Kevin Brown said he had not seen any drastic differences in intensity with games against Hayden or against the cross-the-street rivals.

“If anything it seems to intensify a little bit,” he said. “But as long as we keep winning then it’s fine.”

“It would be nice to have four teams in the local league so we could mix it up more,” Miller said. “But Craig just isn’t that much of a soccer town yet. We’ll get there though.”

Until that time the Bluepers will kick off against Ketchup every Thursday (or Monday if there is a Triple Crown tournament in town) and sibling trash talk in the Duarte household will continue at the dinner table.


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