Sawtooth United Premier to play in
Local kickers plan summer trip
By JODY ZARKOS
Express Staff Writer
The standard of play for girls’ soccer in
the Wood River Valley is about to rise.
Next summer a group of Sawtooth United
Premier players will take a 10-day trip to the Netherlands for soccer clinics,
matches and a tournament.
Premier soccer program, an elite division
of Sawtooth United Football Club (SUFC), was created by local coaches Greg and
Laura Gvozdas to give high school girls the opportunity to further their soccer
and travel opportunities.
Richard Whitelaw, Sawtooth United director
of coaches, is enthusiastic about the trip.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for them to
travel overseas and see the standard of play in Europe. They will all come back
"Everyone is passionate about soccer over
there and they have different standards. They are more professional and more
serious. It will benefit both high school soccer programs immensely," Whitelaw
In early November, 30 high school-aged
girls from The Community School and Wood River tried out for the squad. Twenty
players and two alternates were selected.
Junior players include Cassidy Doucette,
Ireland King, Ashley Mardian, Erin McQueen, Gussi Ochi, Jessie Pieschl, Lexie
Praggastis, and Gina Thomas.
Margii Driscoll heads up a group of five
sophomores with Lauren Eder, Katie Jensen, Nicole Schulz and Laura Speck.
Freshmen team members are Ellen Ard,
Calley Brown, Tara Cappel, Kacie Femling, Kaitlin Gasenica, Brianna Hull-Mullins
and Danielle Smith. Sara Berman and Krista Detwiler are the alternates.
Over the winter, team members will have a
group of fitness benchmarks they have to meet and pass to remain eligible.
"They will also have to put in a strong
effort for their Sawtooth United teams in the spring," Greg Gvozdas remarked.
On the first of June, the squad will begin
practicing three times a week in preparation for its July 15 departure.
The trip includes an intensive three-day
clinic in Maastricht, the Netherlands, with coaches from the Royal Netherlands
Soccer Federation (KNVB).
The clinic will include a "friendly" match
against a local team as well as travel opportunities to Belgium and Germany.
Sawtooth Premier will also compete in the
Holland Cup in Almere, which includes tourney play against teams from several
The tour is being arranged by
Euro-Sporting, a U.S. company which organizes European soccer trips for American
college, club and varsity soccer programs.
"There is a bigger picture than just this
one summer," Gvozdas said. "We want to make this trip successful enough to make
it a lasting part of valley soccer."
Gvozdas is currently the head of the
undefeated Wood River junior varsity girls’ team and has been a coach with
Sawtooth United since 2002.
Both Greg and Laura Gvozdas played soccer
at DePauw University in Indiana. Laura Gvozdas was a member of Wood River High
School’s first state championship team.
The pair will be joined by Farrell Swain,
the current skipper of the Wood River High boys’ jayvee soccer team, and Rob
Butterfield, the Laurent Perrier women’s coach.
To help offset the cost of the trip,
Sawtooth Premier is seeking sponsorship from local companies.
The business names/logos of sponsors will
be displayed on team uniforms and practice jerseys. Sawtooth United F.C. is a
501©3 organization so all donations are tax deductible. For details call
727-1687 or e-mail,