WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE – Two Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base helped the US Women’s Armed Forces Soccer Team finish with a solid 2-2 record during the Conseil International du Sport Miltiaire (CISM) 11th World Women’s Military Football Championship held this past summer.
For 1st Lt. Carla Cimo, who works at the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency at Wright-Patteson Air Force Base as Charlie Flight Commander of the 771st Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, soccer has played a major part of her life for 21 years since she was 5-years-old.
This past season was the first time Cimo, who plays the position of forward, was a member of the team.
The try-out process begins with a written application which provides the details of a player’s soccer career, Cimo said.
“You include who you have played for and the highest level you played at. If you have videos, or pictures you can provide those too. Your supervisor and commander have to approve your application and from there 40 applicants are selected to attend training camp.”
For those trying to make the cut for the team, their first five days began at 6 a.m. sharp. The first cut would be made five days into camp.
“We began with an hour of personal single skill drills – a lot of quick touches, what can you do with the ball personal skill-wise,” said Cimo. “Then we would run to the chow hall for food, and then our second session from 10 – 11:30 a.m. This session consisted of small-sided team games of two to three players building into drills involving teams of five or six.”
El Paso gets pretty hot in the middle of summer, upward of 110 degrees on many days. The brand new turf at the stadium got so hot, some of the players had melting cleats on their shoes, she said.
“After lunch at 3 p.m. we did yoga or swimming for an active recovery session for an hour, followed by a classroom session at 5 p.m. We would watch film learning attacking and defensive principles while developing our soccer IQ and strategies to get the team on the same page.”
Then, at 7 p.m., the players would have a 90-minute scrimmage every night, playing local teams from the area. They would have an ice-bath at the end of the day and do it all over again the next day.
“So, when you weren’t playing soccer, or stretching or eating, you were sleeping,” Cimo said.
At the end of the camp 21 players were selected for the final team roster.
“It’s still kind of surreal for me – it was a dream come true. I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be playing soccer at this level for Team USA, it was truly the most amazing experience of my entire life,” said Cimo.
The third and final cut came on the last day of camp. Then the team had about a week together for practice before the tournament began.
Cimo described an atmosphere among the players from the various nations as friendly, but very competitive when it was game time.
“Even though there were some language barriers, we all had respect for one another and mostly had a laid back attitude toward each other.”
Goal Keeper Coach Capt. Erin Issler is an Intel Officer with the 14th Intelligence Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as an Air Force Reservist, and she’s also a human factors engineer for her civilian position with the 711th Human Performance Wing’s Human Systems Integration Division.
Issler said she received great support from both of her units and that she played on the team twice before in 2010 and 2011 as a goal keeper before transitioning into coaching.
“I felt like I reached my goals as a player and I wanted to see other people accomplish their goals. This was my first year as a goal keeper coach for the team,” she said.
The U.S. team finished fifth in the tournament with a respectable 2-2 record, beating Canada 1-0 and Netherlands 3-0, while losing to South Korea 1-0 and China 3-0.
“We are in a re-building phase with a new coaching staff, and had just six returning players,” Issler said. “Having played on the team twice before, I can say that this was the best talent we’ve had. We’ve built a strong foundation and we’re looking for a top three finish next year. That’s a higher goal for us and something that we can definitely obtain.”
Next year the Women’s Soccer team will compete at the 7th CISM World Games in Wuhan City, China from Oct. 15-30, 2019.
The message for tryouts goes out through official MWR channels and the next one should come out in February 2019, Issler said. Cimo offered sage advice to potential players who might like to try out for next year’s team.
“If you are serious about making the team and playing at this level, make sure you are training hard and putting in the time and work. Do great work at your unit so that you have support from your supervisor and commander. Put your resume in, and go for it with no regrets,” Cimo said.
“We want to see this team win and eventually be number one. The only way to do that is to recruit great talent. Tryouts are open to all active, reserve and guard personnel,” Issler said.
To learn more about the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, visit https://www.facebook.com/ArmedForcesWSoccer/ or contact Cimo at [email protected]