STHS soccer stars hope TourneySport can start their futures | TahoeDailyTribune.com

STHS soccer stars hope TourneySport can start their futures

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Jim GrantViking soccer stars Kelly Meyer, left, and Jen Napier are among a select group of players from around the country who will play in TourneySport USA Hawaii Soccer Classic July 13-22 in Oahu

South Tahoe High juniors Jen Napier and Kelly Meyer have yet to snorkel or investigate Pearl Harbor off the North Shore of Oahu.

They may have those opportunities in July because of their soccer abilities.

Viking girls’ soccer coach Julia Russell nominated her talented players to participate in the fourth annual TourneySport USA Hawaii Soccer Classic July 13-22 at the BYU-Hawaii campus.

“I thought it was my biggest (honor) ever,” said Napier, who became a key offensive contributor for the Vikings when Meyer was injured midway last season. “I didn’t think I’d get chosen for it and having it in Hawaii makes it 10 times better.”

What the integral members of STHS’s unbeaten Sierra Division runners-up hope the tournament will provide is recognition among collegiate coaches. They each dream of playing college soccer, but their visibility is limited during the high school season playing in remote locations such as Elko, Carson City, Minden and South Lake Tahoe.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I’m really excited to be picked,” said Meyer, her league’s forward of the year in 2002. “Hopefully the rest of our careers will start from this.”

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Randy Volkmar has coached the complementary players on his club team for the past eight years and has seen their progression as a high school coach the past several seasons.

“They are great players. Jen is great midfielder and Kelly is a great forward and they work well together,” Volkmar said. “These girls are playing soccer 11 months out of the year and it’s paying off. They should be able to play college ball, they’re that good.”

TourneySport doesn’t guarantee that college coaches will attend the tournament, only that Division I, II, III and NAIA programs have been notified of its event.

However, the organization, which also puts on basketball, golf, volleyball and tennis tournaments, encourages players to notify preferred colleges ahead of time about their TourneySport schedule.

During their week and a half stay in Hawaii, players have access to a college placement coordinator, who will provide recruiting assistance until that player’s college plans are finalized.

TourneySport USA Hawaii Classic alums are reportedly enrolled at Arizona State, Georgetown, Texas A & M, Cornell, Minnesota, Maryland, Harvard, Akron, Temple, Wyoming, Oregon State, Boise State, Miami and Oklahoma State.

Being selected to play in a TourneySport USA tournament is only half the battle. Participants must raise $3,000 to pay for airfare and room and board at BYU-Hawaii.

During their 10-day tournament, Meyer and Napier will be assigned to a team of 12 to 14 players. That team will play up to nine games, including a double-elimination medal round.

This is the first time Russell has selected more than one player from her team to compete in TourneySport. She made two previous trips to the tournament and came away impressed and knows her two stars can fit in.

“These girls are high-caliber players and I can’t wait to see what they can do against some of the best players in the country,” Russell said.

Anyone interested in contributing to making the TourneySport tournament experience possible for Napier and Meyer, should call (530) 541-2800.

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