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USAFE soccer team practices for AIRCOM Championship

USAFE soccer team practices for AIRCOM Championship

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Leah McNell, 48th Medical Support Squadron clinical engineering chief, dribbles past a defender during a live scrimmage practice at SV Bann field, Kaiserslautern, Germany, Sept. 14, 2017. McNell believes the U.S. is bringing a higher level of competition to the international stage each year at the Allied Air Command Soccer Championship. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Kristof J. Rixmann)

USAFE soccer team practices for AIRCOM Championship

U.S. Air Forces in Europe men’s soccer team members watch as Capt Kevin Rossillon, U.S. Air Force 603rd Air Operations Center operational assessment team deputy chief, attempts to prevent a goal in a live scrimmage, on a soccer field, Kaiserslautern, Germany, Sept. 14, 2017. Athletes participating in the Allied Air Command Soccer Championship are positive representatives of the United States and USAFE on an international scale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristof J. Rixmann)

USAFE soccer team practices for AIRCOM Championship

U.S. Air Force Capt. Kevin Rossillon tosses a ball during warm-ups on a soccer field in Kaiserslautern, Germany Sept. 14, 2017. The United States Air Forces in Europe teams practiced at SV Bann Sept. 13-17 in preparation for the Allied Air Command Soccer Championship in Lechfeld, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristof J. Rixmann)

USAFE soccer team practices for AIRCOM Championship

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe men’s soccer team poses for a photo on a soccer field in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Sept. 14, 2017. The USAFE soccer team will find tough competition with matchups against the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the Royal Air Force team, and last year’s reigning Allied Air Command Soccer champions, Poland. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Kristof J. Rixmann)

USAFE soccer team practices for AIRCOM Championship

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe women’s soccer team poses for a photo at SV Bann field in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Sept. 14, 2017. The team practiced in preparation for the Allied Air Command Soccer Championship in Lechfeld, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Kristof J. Rixmann)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The United States Air Forces in Europe men’s and women’s soccer teams practiced in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Sept. 13-17, in preparation for the Allied Air Command Soccer Championship in Lechfeld, Germany, Sept. 18-22.

The team rosters include some of the most elite athletes from USAFE. Many of these Airman have played on this team together in the past and all of them have a long history of playing the game at a high level.

Lt. Taylor Moore played soccer at the University of Florida and after commissioning through the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School played two years on the All Air Force soccer team. Players from the All Air Force soccer team are often recruited to then play for the USAFE team.

“I appreciate the tight knit atmosphere of our team,” said Moore, who is playing on the USAFE team for the first time. “Playing for the USAFE team allows you to make connections with people all over Europe you’d otherwise never have a chance of meeting and that can really help streamline the Air Force mission.”

Women’s Team Captain 1st Lt. Leah McNell, 48th Medical Support Squadron clinical engineering chief, agreed.

“Traveling Europe, being stationed in England and getting the opportunity to travel Germany to play soccer are all opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to experience without the Air Force,” said McNell, whose extensive soccer resume includes participating in the Military World Games held through the International Military Sports Council. “It’s really amazing and I come back from these soccer trips feeling refreshed and humbled to know I represented the United States in the best way I could.”

Playing in the AIRCOM Soccer Championship provides Airmen an avenue to pursue sports while serving and keeps them motivated. Additionally, participation in this prestigious event is important to the mission by giving representation to the USA and USAFE on an international scale.

“Having the opportunity to represent AIRCOM and USAFE is a true honor,” said Lt. Col. Derrick Weyand, the USAFE men’s and women’s head coach. “Not only do we get to strive for excellence in everything we do, but we’re being put on a pedestal to represent our country. So, not only do we represent our country off the field, but we also get to do it on the soccer field.”

The two USAFE soccer teams will find tough competition this year at the championship competition with matchups against the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the Royal Air Force team, and last year’s reigning AIRCOM Soccer champions, Poland. This year, the teams’ are optimistic.

“I think practice is going very well for both the men’s and women’s team,” said Weyand. “I feel very confident with the men’s team going to the championship round for the simple fact that we have a lot of returning players. The teams’ athleticism is truly second to none.”

The players feel just as confident as their head coach in their upcoming performance.

“This year, we know each other better than ever,” said Moore. “We’re going to do the best we can and I feel very confident in how we will perform on game day.”