On a brisk April morning, several white shuttles arrived on Naval Station Everett (NSE) ferrying the members of the All-Navy, All-Army, All-Air Force, and All-Marine soccer team to compete in the 2019 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship, closing in a championship game, April 20.
In the end, after seven days of single round-robin play, the All-Army soccer team came away with a victory in the championship match with Navy finishing in 3rd place overall in the tournament.
“Teams are made up from players from all over the world,” said Sean Joyce, a Morale, Wellness, and Recreation (MWR) representative. “The All-Navy tryout consisted of players that were assigned to duty stations stateside, but we also had some come from Japan and Italy; we had players flown in from all over.”
In addition to bragging rights, service members from each branch competed for spots on the U.S. All-Military team that will represent the United States in the 7th Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) Military World Games this October in Wuhan, China.
Chief Information Systems Technician Jay Reynard is one of the coaches for the All-Navy soccer team and said that for any of the players to be selected to the Military World Games would be a tremendous honor for them, a feeling shared by those who were chosen.
“I started playing soccer in high school when I was 15,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Devonte Ecford, assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. “Now, after being selected to the all-military team, I feel very accomplished. All the hard work I’ve been putting in and the way my teammates encourage me to keep pushing forward is humbling. I feel blessed.”
Even though Navy came up short in this year’s tournament, all eyes are looking forward to next year’s competition.
“The plan going forward is to stay consistent and build a stronger program for next year,” said Reynard. “Identifying other personnel that can come in and help the personnel we already have will make us a stronger unit going forward.”
This year’s contest is the fourth time Naval Station Everett has hosted all-military sporting events.
“It’s a great way of seeing the tiers of athletic competition,” said Joyce. “For us, this is the first time the involvement is service wide. It has been an awesome experience.”