Little reminders still seep in on the club’s website, but change — big change — is under way with the Altitude Football Club, formerly Evergreen Stingers.
Altitude FC became official on June 1, but maybe the first real glimpse of the new staff and curriculum-changing atmosphere around the club, founded in 1979, came July 21-25 with a pair of camps at the Marshdale Fields.
“The cosmetic part is what people see if they are not involved. We want them to come out and be involved and see the changes that are happening under the cosmetic changes,” said George Hunt, director of coaching for the U-11 through U-14 advanced program.
Part of that could be seen with the 160 players, approximately 80 each, for the Elite Players Academy for U-7 through U-9 and the Advanced Training Program U-10 to U-14 last week at Marshdale Fields.
Part of that perception is also moving away from being recognized as an only-Evergreen program. Altitude FC doesn’t want to be perceived as such. That’s another reason for the rebranding. They’re no longer the Evergreen Stingers, Hunt said. They’re Altitude FC, a Front Range club. Players are coming from as far away as Conifer, Bailey and Fairplay.
“We’re trying to get the news out there that we are trying to serve everyone,” Hunt said. “We felt that our image wasn’t portraying that in the past.”
Twelve-year-old Rylie Morrow is from Fairplay. He ventured to Altitude FC because he had outgrown his old club and because he wanted to better his dribbling skills after being a defender in recent years.
“I learned that I’m a way better dribbler than I thought I was and that agility and techniques are sort of the key with soccer,” Rylie said.
Evergreen resident Villnis Venta agreed.
“We’re learning new techniques,” Villnis said.
The weeklong camp was not just a feeling-out process for the new staff with a new curriculum put into place, but there was a lot more technical work put in as Altitude FC kicked off the season.
“We want to make sure when we go into tournaments that we’re having a good showing. We don’t want to go into tournaments or into the season cold,” Hunt said. “Just like how professional teams have a preseason, so do we.”
Season and tournament play starts in the next week.
And it’s not just on the field, but off the field as well that Altitude FC is establishing an image as a community that reaches out. The club donated old Under Armour uniforms, cleats, soccer balls and whatever equipment it had readily available to Soccer Dreams Without Borders, a nonprofit organization headed by Vince Ventimiglia.
“I work with a lot of inner-city kids, refugee kids. We do a little bit of donating out of the country as well,” Ventimiglia said. “In this case, it’s a group from the Aurora Parks and Rec. Last year, we had 60 to 70 kids from three different elementary schools and after-school programs, and they needed equipment. Last year, we provided equipment to them.”
Altitude FC may only be a name, but the former Evergreen Stingers are out to change their perception in the public’s eye as a soccer organization that is for more than just Evergreen players. It wants to be a group for all Front Range youth soccer players.
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.