Soldier applies lifelong soccer skills to All-Army Soccer team
Navy Lt. j.g. Kevin Trujillo attempts to steal the ball from Spc. Christopher Harvey, number 16, during the Armed Forces Men's Soccer Championship match at Morgan Sports Complex, Oct. 24, in Destin, Fla.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Recently, the All-Army Soccer Team won the
2010 Armed Forces Men's Soccer Championship after a series of games played in the panhandle of Florida, Oct. 24th.

Army Soldiers from all over the world came together to comprise the team, including Spc. Chris Harvey, a member of 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Harvey, who has played soccer since the age of four, turned in his application to play in August, with high hopes of making the team.

"I began to start to make inquiries about how to get on the team during my last deployment to Iraq," said Harvey. "Once I got back, I really started to ask around and ended up talking with Kurt Swambeck, who is the head coach of West Point's soccer team. He gave me the names of certain individuals to call and from there I was able to make the connections I needed to get on the team."

Harvey, now 25, has made soccer a way of life since he was a child. What made him a stand out for the team was his participation as part of a traveling soccer team his former teenage coach formed, called Stars and Stripes.

"We played soccer around the world, to include France, England, Sweden, Denmark and Holland," said Harvey. "I played each year during the years I was 14, 15 and 16."

During the year 2000, Harvey's traveling team competed at Denmark's "Dana Cup", one of the largest youth soccer competitions in the world, winning 3rd Place overall.

Harvey's resume was strong enough to earn him a coveted spot on the team. He had dreamed of being on the team since 2008, and finally, in 2010, he was able to put his special skill to full use for the Army.

Harvey began to focus hard, training twice a day, six days a week. Training consisted of a lot of conditioning and running. He trained with seven other Schofield Barracks Soldiers who had also made the team. Part of their training also included a couple of matches, winning each one.

"We played in a local men's soccer tournament in Virginia Beach, Va., and won first place," said Harvey. "Then we scrimmaged a men's team from Newport News, Va., and beat them 10-0!"

Shortly after, the team left for Florida to seize their victory. Their championship game was played against the Navy.

"We knew we were going to have to fight for the championship," said Harvey. "It was war. We played the full 90 minutes of the game and then had to take two 15 minute halves for extra time to break the score, which was 0-0."

In the first extra 15 minutes, the score was still 0-0. In the second 15 minutes, Navy scored first, but Army answered immediately with a return goal. The score was iinally settled in a shootout, with each team sending five players to represent and take their shot at the goal.

The Army team beat Navy, 4-3, after almost two hours of hard competition.

"It was nerve racking," said Harvey. "Especially when it came down to us, shooting those last goals."

The experience is one that will last with Harvey, giving him some special memories to take with him.

"The team was made up of all ranks," said Harvey. "In the everyday Army, officers and enlisted are on different levels and we are required to treat each other different. But not on the field. On the field we were all just soccer players doing what we love."

Page last updated Tue January 4th, 2011 at 21:37