KALISPELL — The next generation of Montanan soccer players has just started their spring season, and one club, Glacier Surf, is already developing players at the highest level thanks to their international outreach sending them all across the country and the globe.
"What makes Surf different is their players and their coaching. Everything is all so well coordinated unlike some other clubs are last minute things," said boys player Brecken Evenson. "And I think that Surf is just a better overall club because they care more about the players, and the player needs, and parents needs, and all of the above."
At only 13 years old Evenson has already had the chance to travel around the country and is one of 15 players from Glacier Surf who got to try out for his age bracket's national team.
"My favorite part so far is definitely the National tryout in San Diego," said Evenson with a smile. "It kind of humbled me a little bit because of how many great amazing players there are."
Originally founded as Northwest Soccer Club in 2019, the organization became a branch of the nationwide youth soccer giant, Surf, in the summer of 2022 and since that change has seen significant growth.
"Our goal is always to grow the game and offer more opportunities," said director of coaching and operations Nate Evans. "And becoming a part of Surf we have more coaching resources, more club resources, more networking, more playing opportunities for players."
Now in its fourth year, the club has grown from two teams in 2019 to now 17 teams and nearly 300 players, and Evans gives all the credit to his staff.
"We have amazing coaches, that’s been our biggest strength as a club, is we have the best coaches that constantly pour into our players, they’re passionate, they’re caring, they’re knowledgeable," said Evans. "So if you have a player that loves soccer and wants to improve I couldn’t ask for a better staff to just help our kids and help develop them on and off the field."
One other player who switched to Glacier Surf after playing for a massive Major League Soccer affiliate couldn’t be happier with the change.
"It’s a smaller club but I feel like being able to have a little bit of a smaller of a club it’s more of like a focus on you," said girls players Rowyn Speer. "And I think that they are doing such a great job and so love playing here so much and I wouldn’t change it."
Speer is also one of the 15 Glacier Surf players who has had the opportunity to try out and make the Surf national team for her age bracket.
"That’s been super fun, just being able to play with another range of skill and players from out of Montana," said Speer. "And it’s just been such a great opportunity to play with them."
Another player who moved to Montana from Canada a year and a half ago couldn’t be happier with chances he’s been provided with in his short time with the club.
"I think I’ve gotten a lot of opportunity since moving here, whether it’s going to play in California, or Washington, or even this summer Northern Ireland," said 2boys player Ethan Grant. "I think the opportunities are the biggest part of it, as well as the great coaching. I mean they’ve been developing me as a player, but focusing on the team aspect at the same time so I really appreciate that."
Grant has also made the Surf national team for his age bracket and knows he’d be hard pressed to find similar opportunities elsewhere.
"That was a great feeling, and then going there and actually getting selected for the first team for the national team," said a grateful Grant. "I think that has to be one of the best feelings, and just making me so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given since moving here."