Valerie Sue Meyer, who started with Carson Futbol Club at age 11, says the club prepared her for three successful varsity seasons at Carson High School and her next step — college soccer.
“This club, to me, has been like a rebirth,” said Valerie Sue, whose father, Jerry Meyer, was one of the club’s organizers in 2009. “Having a winning mentality constantly behind our team helps me to stay motivated to really be the best player I can be. This club really focuses on the team and having a team mentality, and I think that’s what helped me and my teammates thrive the most as players.”
The club will welcome returning and new players when tryouts for girls and boys teams are held at the Pete Livermore Sports Complex in Carson City on June 24.
Players from Carson City and the surrounding area are expected for the tryouts, which will be held from 9-11 a.m. for girls and boys with birth years 2001 to 2005-06, and from 10 a.m.-noon for boys and girls with birth years 2006-2010.
Now 18, Meyer, who’s headed for Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., looks back at her CFC days as the foundation for more than just soccer.
As a Carson High School freshman in 2013, she received all-league recognition and helped the Senators qualify for the state tournament. After she sat out as a sophomore in 2014 due to a torn ligament, she returned to the field within seven months of surgery and earned Sierra League Defensive Player of the Year honors as a junior and senior. She was a member of the Nevada Olympic Development Program from 2012-15 and a Player Development Program member in 2016.
Meyer, along with CFC Wolf Pack teammates Lauren Hudak, (Carson), Bri Wood (Spanish Springs) and Rachel Henley and Eva Swearngin (Galena), is currently playing for the Reno Tahoe Liberty Women’s Premier Soccer League semipro team to make final preparations for the transition to college. Swearngin is going to play for the Air Force Academy, Hudak is heading to Southwest Baptist and Wood and Henley are both heading to play at Southern Oregon University. All five players are heading to college on athletic/academic scholarship packages and together they amassed more than $650,000 in scholarships to assist in their educational costs.
CFC Director of Coaching Timothy Plummer said preparing athletes to play in college is just one of the club’s purposes.
“I didn’t play after high school, and I think part of the reason why I’m coaching and part of this club is to help players bridge that gap between high school and college,” said Plummer, a 2000 graduate of Douglas High School in Minden.
Plummer said CFC expects to field 10 to 12 teams in 2017-18. The club has previously attracted players from Carson City as well as Dayton, Washoe Valley, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Carson Valley and even as far as Bishop, Calif.
Club President Miya MacKenzie and Secretary-Treasurer Sonia Taggart emphasized the intent is to help provide a “good fit” to as many players as possible.
“We just want to provide a good, competitive soccer experience for the kids,” Taggart said.
There are benefits that carry beyond the field, too.
“I believe that participating in team sports is a really important part of a kid’s experience growing up,” MacKenzie said. “You learn how to negotiate relationships, you learn how to work as a unit. It gives you a lot of skills that are going to be very beneficial later in your life’s experience.”
Taggart explained one of the club’s primary goals is to remain affordable for families. The club charges $30 per player per season — there are Great Basin Youth Soccer League fees that add to the cost — and players buy their own uniforms. The club has a program in which it buys back old uniforms to give to players in need. Scholarships are also available to pay the cost of joining the program.
A major fundraiser for CFC is its Wild West Tournament in May, which this year featured 60-plus teams. Proceeds help provide funds for scholarships and to support training for volunteer parent coaches, MacKenzie said.
“The interesting thing about Carson Futbol Club is that we are one of the most affordable competitive soccer club experiences in this area. Our coaches are volunteers, but they have been getting amazing results.”
Meyer, who graduated from high school with a 4.6 weighted grade-point average, spoke of how soccer benefited her on and off the field.
“It helped me to really stay on track in all of my classes,” she said. “I had to be really good with my time management, especially with having three practices with my team, the Carson FC Wolf Pack here and then having one to two practices over in Sacramento each week (with San Juan Soccer Club ECNL). I was constantly having to do homework in the car and I wasn’t able to go out with friends, but it was all totally worth it in the end considering where I ended up.”
What was her best highlight with CFC?
“First of all, having a successful experience with the Wolf Pack and having my dad coach me through all the years,” she said. “Then I realized that the Wolf Pack cemented my faith in teamwork and being able to love the game.”