Crossfire Premier soccer coach Dick McCormick held tryouts for his girls under 11 A-team in 2002 not knowing what to expect. As he ran drills, timed runs and scrimmaged teams, he hoped to find his best players for the coming year. Jotting down jersey numbers and mixing up lineups, McCormick began to see a team form.
At the time, it was impossible to know that the core players of that first squad of 10-year-olds would win five state championships, two regional and one national title over an eight-year period.
McCormick, with the help of his assistant coach, Joe Morris, handpicked 16 players in 2002 that comprised an unbeatable team. Finishing their first season with 41-2-1 record, and a league record of 10-2-1, the team proved to be a formidable opponent. Placing first in five summer tournaments as well as taking the regular season division and state cup titles, it was clear that these girls were born to play soccer.
“I’ve been on this team since the very beginning and you could tell from the get go that it wasn’t an ordinary group of girls,” Lindsay Elston said.
While McCormick coached the team he also doubled as head coach and general manager for the Seattle Sounders Women’s team and assistant coach for the Sounders Men’s Team from 2002-2004. He stepped down as head coach from the team after three seasons to become Crossfire Premier’s Girls Coaching Director, but recently returned to coach the team he launched.
“Dick has always been the one coach who was able to inspire us and push us to new levels, and so having him back coaching us has been incredible in terms of our accomplishment,” Courtney Pixler said.
Under McCormick’s leadership the team finished the 2009 regular season with a 25-4-5 record, winning both the Washington State Championships in May and the Region IV title in Lancaster, Calif. on June 21. Crossfire then headed to Lancaster, Mass. from July 21-26, where they suffered two losses and a tie, eliminating them from a shot at a national title.
As the years went on players (and coaches) came and went, but the core of the team has stayed the same. The group includes Maya Marder of Kirkland and four players from Sammamish: Emily Hurd, Allie Beahan, Pixler and Elston. Three players — Hurd, Pixler and Beahan — have played together throughout their entire careers, starting with a U-7 recreation team before they joined select.
“Its incredible to look back on the Ladybugs team and know that of that team of five or so, three of us will be going on to play Division I Soccer,” Pixler said.
Eight of the 18 players on this year’s team have played for a high school team that won the state championship over the past three years, ranging from 2A to 4A. Three of the current players were named to the Star Times All-State All-League Girl’s Soccer Team in 2008. Six of the 18 have been named to All-State first teams in the past two years.
Hurd, who will play forward for Penn State University after her senior season, was named 4A Player of the Year by The Seattle Times as well as AP Player of the Year for Washington State in 2008. She also was selected as Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year and chosen to the ESPN RISE All-American Team in 2009.
Several other players have committed to schools, including the University of Alabama and the US Naval Academy. Most notably, five of the girls plan to don the purple and gold and play for the University of Washington after graduation.
Over their eight years together the Crossfire ’91 team put forth a 226-58-39 record. While they may have not finished their run with another national title, there was no hanging of heads.
“Nationals were a great experience even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped we would … we are now ranked fourth in the nation which is a big deal because before we weren’t even on the list,” Beahan said.