As Colorado Mulls World Cup Bid, St. Vrain Football Club’s Success Shows Games’ Growth
Following a record-breaking season in which the St. Vrain Football Club made its first appearance in State Cup finals for boys under 13 years old, two of the program’s coaches, Timothy Laxson and Sean Seery, were awarded coach of the year honors and Fabrizio Giovenzana snared the club’s first State Cup MVP trophy.
“This is fantastic for us, I’ve been flying high all week,” said Laxson, head coach of the competitive under-13 boys’ team and the program’s director of coaching for under-11 through under-9 teams.
For the Colorado Soccer Association, the success of a relatively small club in Longmont is proof of soccer’s growing popularity throughout Colorado — a point the Association would very much like to impart on FIFA as the international soccer association considers where it will host games during the 2026 World Cup in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
“Every club in the state of Colorado plays a large part in helping us get the World Cup here,” Nate Schotts, the executive director of the Colorado Soccer Association, said. “But a club like St. Vrain, who started out small and continues to grow, is really a sign that Colorado is in full growth.”
That growth, both Laxson and Seery said, was due to their club’s ability to provide kids with different levels of competition and coaching depending on each child’s ambitions.
“It’s not just about numbers. I feel that the community we have here is a little more inclusive and community-oriented,” Laxson said. “We want to encourage as many kids to play the game as possible. But at the same time, we want them to enjoy the experience. So we offer rec teams for more socially oriented teams, as well as elite teams for players who want to take their game to the next level.”
For example, Seery, who won girls recreational coach of the year, doesn’t have a lot of high-level soccer experience. He played at Thompson High School in the 1980s and coached youth soccer for a little after college, but continues to coach for the sheer joy of it.
While his team struggled early in the season, his relaxed and fun-loving coaching style not only kept the girls engaged, but also got more to sign up despite their losing record. By the end of the season, the team had grownfrom 10 to 23 girls, helping them to surprise everyone by winning the final tournament of the spring season. During the fall season, they went undefeated and were bumped up to the silver league.
“It totally revitalized the players, and parents, and reemphasized the type of soccer we want to play,” he said. “It’s hard to get a message through when the results aren’t there. Now the next step is getting these girls to really buy in earlier and earlier.”
Laxson, on the other hand, who won the competitive boys coach of the year, played Division II soccer at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and even tried out with professional teams in Mexico before returning to Colorado to become a coach.
His experience and passion for soccer show the young players what it takes to play this game at the highest levels.
“It’s not just building soccer skills but also about creating young adults and leaders,” he said. “Using our curriculum we’re able to instill life principles like teamwork, dedication, even the meaning failure, and humility. It’s something we’re really proud of.”
Between the two of them, the St. Vrain Football Club has been able to foster a love of soccer in dozens of young kids and grow the sport.
“Overall we’ve been very pleased our experience,” Davide Giovenzana, the father of 12-year old Fabrizio Giovenzana, St. Vrain’s first state cup MVP, said. “The pool of coaches good job really teaching the tactics of soccer how to play as a team. They’re educators first and they are doing a great job teaching players how to be fair and to respect the opponent Looking forward to more years.”
In order to stay the course, the St. Vrain Football Club needs help from the community. Last year it gave away roughly $85,000 to help less fortunate families pay for uniforms and travel expenses. A fundraising event at the Oskar Blues Oak Room this from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, . will ensure that can happen again.
“When a kid says, ‘My team now is qualified for this tournament,’ then it puts pressure onto their families to pay for them (to travel),” St. Vrain Football Club President Dan Jones, said.
“With some of this money, we can say, ‘You’ve earned this.’ It means a great deal for some of these players.”
John Spina: 303-473-1389, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/jsspina24