[Courtesy Photo]

Tryouts for the Moab Futbol Club competitive and developmental teams will be held at the Old Spanish Trail Arena from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 23. The club is open to girls and boys from 10 to 14 years of age. There are 15 spots on each of two competitive teams, one for kids aged 10 and 11, and one for kids aged 12 to 14. Up to six more players will be invited to join a developmental team.

Moab Futbol Club has filled the gap between the youth recreational soccer league and high school soccer for about 10 years. The competitive teams will travel and play against teams on the Western Slope in Colorado, including Delta, Montrose, Carbondale, Crested Butte, Grand Junction, and Telluride.

Coach Danelle Ballangee says the league works out well because the teams come from similar-sized towns, meaning they have a similar-sized pool of potential players to draw from. Because Moab is a small town, sometimes players who are older, younger, bigger, smaller, more experienced or newer players are all thrown together to be able to have enough players to make a team.

“Other towns have the same issues,” Ballangee said of playing against small towns on the Western Slope. “It levels things out, playing against teams from towns the same size as ours.”

So far, there haven’t been enough girls interested in playing to make up a full girls’ team to play in the girls’ league, but the boys’ league allows up to three girls to play on the competitive team to accommodate small towns with small player pools.

Ballangee said Moab’s team will have the maximum number of girls; she hopes there will eventually be enough interest to make an all-girls team. Some girls are drawn away from soccer to other sports. Ballangee said Futbol Club lost one girl player to volleyball, and another to mountain biking.

“In Moab, there’s quite a few opportunities to do different sports for youth,” said Ballangee. “Sometimes we don’t have enough to fill the teams for those sports.”

Finding coaches can also be a challenge; Ballangee volunteers her time coaching and traveling with the team.

In spite of the challenges, the Moab teams do well, Ballangee said. She remembered that in the spring, the Moab team played competitively and won about half its games. The Montrose team was beating all the other teams in the league by a wide margin; Moab lost to Montrose, but only by a score of 2-1.

“We were the first team to score against that team, and for the game to be that close was considered a win,” said Ballangee. She admires the players in the Moab club.

“We’ve got a great group of kids,” she said. “They’re fantastic kids and they’re really good athletes.”

Ballangee said the season typically consists of four home games and four away games on weekends between Aug. 28 and Oct. 23. The season starts on August 24 with two to three practices per week. The fee is $155 per player and includes home and away uniforms.

For more information, contact Danelle Ballangee (“Coach Nellie”) at 970-389-4838.

Event info

What: Moab Futbol Club tryouts

When: Monday, Aug. 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Old Spanish Trail Arena (3641 S. Highway 191)

For more information, contact Danelle Ballangee at 970-389-4838.