Crossfire trio sets crosshairs on Sweden’s Gothia Cup

July 10, 2012

By Brandon Adam

Pawehi ‘Pepsi’ Cloutier (right), Crossfire Premier reserve goalkeeper, and her teammates celebrate their Nike Manchester U Cup championship victory May 28 in Beaverton, Ore. By Christine McCaughey

Three Issaquah soccer players are going to represent America in the Gothia Cup, a tournament held in Sweden.

Freshmen leftback Olivia Witherspoon, freshman forward Brooke Weedman and eighth-grader goalkeeper Pawehi Cloutier are three girls who play for Crossfire Premier ENCL U-14. Witherspoon attends Issaquah High School, Cloutier attends Issaquah Middle School and Weedman will attend Skyline High School.

These three athletes will be part of the first women’s soccer team from Washington to represent the United States in this international tournament.

Crossfire Premier ENCL U-14, a division of the Elite Club National League, has become the first Washington state women’s soccer team to win the Nike Manchester U Cup in Beaverton, Ore., sending the team to the Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The United States has won the last three World Youth Cups. Cloutier and Witherspoon said they are confident the team can bring the cup back to the United States, and they look forward to the event with much anticipation.

“I’m really excited,” Witherspoon said. “It will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

Cloutier said she hopes to play her best.

“I’ll do my hardest,” she said.

The Gothia Cup will feature more than 60 countries with about 1,600 international teams. The soccer players hope to stand out within the large competition.

On the Web

Learn more about the Gothia Cup, which is July 15-22, at www.gothiacup.se/eng. Learn more about Crossfire ENCL-U 14 at www.crossfiresoccer.org.

Crossfire Premier has had a successful season so far with only two losses and two ties out of 12 games.

“Our team has been doing great,” Witherspoon said. “We’ve surprised ourselves with the teams we beat, and our victories.”

After sealing the position in the Gothia Cup, Witherspoon said she feels confident in her team’s performance.

“I feel like we’ll do pretty well,” Witherspoon said “We’ve been working pretty hard and hopefully that will payoff.”

Weedman is also confident in the team’s ability to perform well.

“I think we’re ready, honestly,” she said.

“I think were going to do really well,” Cloutier said “We’re going to try and get out of the bracket and into the finals.”

Team cohesion is important for these soccer players. ENCL U-14 is led by head coach Tim Reynolds.

Discipline is an aspect of coaching Cloutier appreciates from Reynolds.

“He pushes us to do our best,” Cloutier said.

The players are close to their teammates.

“I’ve known a lot of the girls for a very long time. They are like a second family for me,” Witherspoon said.

Brandon Adam: 392-6434 or isspress@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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