Fairbanks Eclipse Soccer Team vs Everybody

Fairbanks Eclipse 05 girls soccer team is heading to nationals in Wichita, KS
The Fairbanks Eclipse 05 girls soccer team is heading to nationals in Wichita, KS.
Published: Jun. 28, 2023 at 2:26 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With summer now in full swing, the soccer season has been heating up, especially for one interior club soccer team.

The Fairbanks Eclipse 05 team finished second at the US Youth Soccer Far West Presidents Cup, earning a spot in the national tournament next week.

We met with the team to see their thoughts on the journey to reach this point, and how it feels to represent all of Alaska in Wichita.

“Yeah that’s, when you look back at pictures, you can see there’s a few of us that have been there since the beginning, and seeing us grow from when we were younger to now. It’s like, kind of awesome to see that some of us still stuck with it and we didn’t give up,” said Eclipse forward Desi Dutra.

Dutra added, “Because we did have some people that left, and some people that stayed, and then coach coaches came and gone, and then basically my whole team, we all just stayed together and stuck through the hard times. We’re like a family, so I don’t know, it’s just really cool.”

The huge occasion isn’t lost on the players, let alone the fact that they are representing the state of Alaska on one of the biggest stages in youth soccer in the United States. “It’s very like big, I’ve never, I didn’t think I’d get here. I mean, I had, like hope, but I can see all my family and friends back at home, like watching me when I go to the national tournaments. Even other club teams from the lower Alaska region are here supporting us,” said Fairbanks Eclipse player Kiersten Ostnes.

Ostnes added, “It’s very like, I feel like everyone looks up to us and even the refs down in the lower 48, hear we’re from Alaska, and are like I’m rooting for you. Since it’s kind of like, it’s a big deal and it’s pretty exciting.”

Five years of effort, blood, sweat, and tears were not just coming from the players, but also from the coaches and parents. Even taking a humble approach, Coach Crutcher knows how hard he, the girls, and their families have fought to get to this point. To do something very few Alaskans have ever done.

“Yeah, that’s what I always say. I’m just the guy that yells at them, but I mean it’s just a testament to the work. You know, it’s the parents’ commitment to me as a coach, obviously letting me do what I do at the soccer games with them. Like you said, they do all the work out on the field. I’m just there.” said the Fairbanks Eclipse head coach Damon Crutcher.

He continued, saying, “They understand the game a lot better than they did five years ago, and it’s just been building, building, and building. It’s a great opportunity, it’s very rare for Alaskans to do this. So the girls are looking forward to it, and they’re going to try and go out with a bang, that’s their goal.”

The team is also fundraising to help with the cost of getting to Wichita.