TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER - For nearly 17 years, Spc. Ashleah Dingle, a medic assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center Charlie Co., has loved the game of soccer. She played as a child. She played through school. She played in leagues. Now, she plays for the "All Armed Forces Soccer Team."

Dingle played her first season with the team in 2009, joining shortly after completing her training and arriving at her first unit.

“I remember my dad dropping by to come visit me during that time,” she said. “We were talking about the future with school and how much I missed playing soccer. He mentioned to me that I could continue playing soccer in the military competitively.”

According to Dingle, the team has a lot of similarities to league play, but works on a much higher skill level.

“There are a series of tryouts, training, games, and a tournament once a year. We play against some of the best players around the world from their militaries,” she explained.

As a result, she trains hard, combining her regular physical training (PT) regimen with a soccer-focused workout routine.

“My unit has regular PT in the mornings so I try pushing myself to the max when I do PT with them. After work I workout on my own alternating days of sprints, shuttle runs, middle distance, long distance, and crossfit, after those workouts I do ball skills/workouts that range from dribbling to shooting,” Dingle said.

Dingle believes the training, as well as playing for the team, make her not just a better player but also a better Soldier.

“In a way they are both quite similar. You have to maintain mentally, physically, and emotionally fit to accomplish a mission. For soccer our mission is to win games… it takes dedication and hard work 24/7 all year around,” she said.
After the 2009 season, Dingle wanted to try out for the 2010 team. However, her duty to her unit came first and she joined them on a one-year deployment to Al Asad, Iraq. She tried to find a way to do both, but even with the assistance of her unit, it didn’t work out.

“My unit did try to make my R&R;time during the training/tournament but the two weeks of R&R;with the unpredictable travel times and delays making it out of Iraq/Kuwait made it difficult,” Dingle explained.

With her deployment complete and a more predictable work schedule, Dingle was able to apply, tryout, and make the 2011 team. Next month, she will join her teammates on McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. for a week of intensive training. Then, they head to Rio De Janerio, Brazil where they will play against teams from Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, France, South Korea, and North Korea.

“One of the most amazing things about playing for this team is that no matter how old or what rank you are, everyone is seen as a soccer player, a team member,” she said. “When we step out on the field we play as a team, representing our units, post/base, service, and country. It is a huge honor to be chosen out of many to do so.”

Page last updated Fri June 24th, 2011 at 18:48