Local athletes on Masters Games soccer team

Dohman, Kopf answer call for Canadian team

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Amie Dohman carried the Olympic torch in 2002.

In 2013, the Brush Prairie resident is part of an event even larger than the Olympics.

Dohman is one of several athletes from Southwest Washington among the thousands in Torino, Italy, this week for the World Masters Games. Dohman and Vancouver resident Bethann Kopf are teammates on a British Columbia-based soccer team named Fortytude playing in the division for competitive women older than 40.

"Knowing that you are meeting athletes from all over the world in one place purely for the love of sport is exciting," Dohman said before departing for Italy.

An Olympic-style competition for athletes 30 and older, this is the eighth edition of the World Masters Games, which have been held every four years since 1985. In 1997, the fourth World Masters Games took place in Vancouver-Portland. This year's Games continue through Sunday. More than 30,000 athletes are expected to take part.

Soccer is one of the more popular sports, with different levels of competition based on the abilities of the athletes.

For someone who plays on four different soccer teams, and travels to tournaments when possible, the opportunity was easy for Dohman to jump at — even if she didn't know much about her own teammates.

She was invited to join the team in Italy after filling in at a tournament in Snohomish for a Canadian team. Later, when her new teammates were seeking additional players for the World Masters Games, Dohman invited Kopf.

Though Kopf and Dohman didn't know each other well -- only in planning for the trip did they realize they attended the same Olympic Development Program youth soccer camp -- the chance to spend a couple of weeks in Italy was enough to hook Kopf.

Before leaving, Kopf joked that she and Dohman might need to hold a cardboard sign to connect with their teammates in Italy.

"We're just winging it," said Kopf, who before leaving didn't know her team's name or any of her teammates other than Dohman.

"We're just taking a lot on faith," Dohman said. "We'll get there and see how it all works."

Amie (Delong) Dohman was a standout athlete at Evergreen High School. She excelled in volleyball, basketball, and track and field, choosing to play high school volleyball over soccer because of college opportunities. Bethann (Boyle) Kopf played soccer, basketball and softball at Hudson's Bay. After graduating in 1987, she played college soccer at Central Washington University.

Both have played soccer in adult leagues since their school days, and expressed confidence that the experience in the game will help them fit in to whatever roles Fortytude asks them to play. Besides, even if Fortytude doesn't dominate the women's 40-and-older competitive soccer tournament, there are worse ways to spend August days than playing soccer and seeing a bit of Italy.

Lisa Lockner, another Vancouver resident, is the goalkeeper for a team playing in the division for women 55 and older. Half of her Pacific Heat team is from Hawaii, half from the Vancouver-Portland area.

"I would like to help my team win some games," she said, summing up her tournament dream.

"I'm sure Lisa would like to save a few penalty kicks, and Bethann and I would like to score a few international goals," Dohman said.

Lockner, who played goalkeeper for the first time two years ago because she felt she was becoming a step slow to play in the field, is so convinced that this experience will be a winner that she is already planning to attend the 2017 World Masters Games in New Zealand.

"It's not about the wins and losses as much as it is about the friendships," Lockner said.

World Masters Games

Aug. 2-11 in Torino, Italy

The Columbian would like to hear from any Southwest Washington athletes who participated in the World Masters Games. To share your story, send an email to sports@columbian.com, or call 360-735-4484.