Scoring a goal in an international tournament was a special moment for Amie Dohman. Her successful penalty kick was the culmination of seven games over eight days for a Canadian team in Torino, Italy.
Never mind that it didn't result in a trophy, scoring a goal was a terrific ending to a winning experience for the Brush Prairie resident.
"It was an amazing experience," Dohman said, echoing the sentiment of other Clark County women who played soccer at the World Masters Games.
The Olympic-style competition for athletes 30 and older held every four years, the eighth edition of the World Masters Games took place Aug. 3-11.
Dohman, of Brush Prairie, and Bethann Kopf of Vancouver played for a British Columbia team called Fortytude in the tournament for women 40 and older. Lisa Lockner of Hockinson played goalkeeper for a 55-and-older team of women primarily from Hawaii. Rachel Bradstreet of Camas played for Oregon Brew, an over-40 women's team that won bronze medals in a 20-team tournament.
Love for soccer and competitive spirit prompted the women to travel to Italy. It was the communal experience that most touched them.
"It was absolutely incredible to be marching in the parade among 30,000 athletes from all over the world," Kopf said.
That parade, and the Italian gelato, were high points for Kopf. Lockner said the intensity of the competition surprised her, but that the parade of athletes and marching out to be introduced before each match provided a taste of the big time.
"We just don't do that in rec league soccer," Lockner said.
Recreation adult soccer isn't as hard core on the field, either, Dohman noted. She was surprised that officials didn't call more fouls to protect players, but wasn't going to let an ankle bruise or temperatures above 90 for every match slow her down.
"How can you possibly complain about playing soccer in the hot Italian sun?" Dohman asked.
The one-week tournament felt like a crash course in several ways, Kopf said -- not only because some of the taxi drivers had her on the edge of her seat. The women did not meet most of their teammates until they arrived in Italy. The Fortytude team that Dohman and Kopf played for was short of players by the end of the week. Kopf said she had played mostly indoor soccer for the past decade, and found playing even 60-minute matches difficult in the heat.
Even after straining a groin muscle, Kopf had to play because her team was short of healthy players.
"I played most of the last game. I just couldn't shoot or sprint," she said.
Bradstreet was the lone Washingtonian on her Oregon Brew team of hand-picked players. Like Dohman, Kopf and Lockner, Bradstreet said did not know most of her teammates in advance of the Games.
"I didn't even know most of the players' names, and I knew we were going to be good just based on our immediate connection," Bradstreet said.
Making connections was among the highlights of the experience.
"It didn't matter what sport it was or where they were from, the people were all friendly and fun to talk to," Dohman said.
Inspired by the opportunity to meet athletes from around the globe, and by the commitment demonstrated by athletes of all ages, Locker said she will certainly go to the ninth World Masters Games, scheduled for 2017 in New Zealand.
"I would encourage anyone to pick up a sport and go to the Games," Locker said.