Four ineligible players —Two of them coaches daughters two of them too injured to play in the tournament — but the UVSF Madison United Select ‘02 team had one goal in the Madison Cup — win the Championship.
Holly Allen and Jessica Birch coach the Madison United ‘02 team and Allen is even the director for the tournament but neither of their daughters, Ellie Allen and Breckley Birch could play in the tournament because they’ll be seniors next year and therefore were ineligible for the U17 team. There wasn’t even a U18 team they could play on this year.
Though their age granted them eligibility, Lacie Little and Hannah Bourgeous were also unable to play because of injuries.
All four of the girls had one thing in common they cheered hard and with the team’s bench being a small one their cheering mattered.
“We didn’t have many subs,” Holly Allen said. “The girls who couldn’t play still came and supported their teammates on the bench. The bench players were encouraging the girls on the field.”
In their first game of pool play Friday Madison lost 4-2 to PVSC UNITED 02 WHITE CAMERON but they bounced back to beat BYSL Fusion ‘02 5-0 that evening then beat BYSL BALLISTIC 4-0 to claim a spot in the U17 championship game.
In that title game, Madison beat Jackson Hole 3-1 to take home the cup.
“When they won, it was just exciting for the whole group,” Allen said. “It was a great way to end the season. To end with our last game being the championship was very exciting. It was exciting for the parents and exciting for me as a coach to see all the hard work pay off.”
All the girls on the team have played either varsity or junior varsity for Madison’s girls’ soccer team.
“The girls have played together for many years,” Allen said. “They’ve been working really hard. They do early morning conditioning and we have training sessions then we have afternoon practices.”
This year’s Yellowstone Cup is the first tournament this group of has won together even though they’ve played three tournaments together.
Teamwork was key to this Madison team’s victory.
“I think them sticking together and working together really well as a team (was key),” Allen said . “There’s no one person on the team who says they have to have me or we can’t win. It’s a complete team effort.”
Allen said her players mean a lot to her.
“I love all the girls,” Allen said. “They did the best they could and it ended up as a win in the end. It was great.”