By: Shawn O’Brate

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO – Sometimes after students graduate high school they choose to delve deep into college life right away, sometimes they enjoy their final summer at the lake or pool, and sometimes they do the things that have made them happy and successful during their high school years through club teams and extracurricular activities.

Lander Valley’s Kellon Donahue fits like a glove into that final category, especially considering how much soccer he’s been involved in over the past few weeks around the state and now in other states–bringing home the top place trophy in both instances.

Yes, Donahue represented the Wyoming All-Star gold team back in Gillette at the Wyoming High School Soccer All-Star soccer games, winning 3–0 against the white team. But that was two weeks ago, this week he rejoined most of his Wyoming All-Star teammates and traveled south to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for the Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament. 

After playing the Forward position on the pitch for most of his soccer career at LVHS, the future Grand Canyon University student switched to the Wing Back position for the All-Star game and the Steamboat Tournament due to the sheer talent on the team at his usual location on the field.

“They were loaded at the Forward position,” Donahue said about his team, “I understood if I wanted to start I had to go to Outside Back, but I was just happy to play with some high level soccer players.”

High-level is one word to describe the team, but after they won the Steamboat Mountain Tournament there is another word to describe them: Champions. 

Donahue’s team, named Golden Boys Football Club (GBFC) ‘22, started off the tournament with a 1–0 win against a tough Metasport BD team out of Utah which Donahue said got the ball rolling in the right way.

“Getting that first win definitely helped us get in the right mind,” Donahue said after the tournament. 

After the first victory of the week in the oldest, toughest bracket of the entire tournament the GBFC team the CASA CASA Thunders out of Colorado, a team that pushed Donahue and the All-Star team close to the brink but Golden Boys of Wyoming pulled out the 2–1 victory before heading into the weekend of even tougher competition.

They would easily handle the North Denver Rush team early Saturday morning by a score of 6–1, with an assist from Donahue helping add to that large victory, which helped secure a spot in the championship game. 

That game would end up being against the hometown team, the Steamboat Springs YSA Club, and was played on one of the biggest fields at the entire tournament. This was only fitting for Donahue and his All-Star teammates as they had proved they were the toughest battalion of boys on the pitch in their bracket, so a home-field advantage being in the opponent’s favor was the least they could do to even the scales.

In the end it wouldn’t matter much, Donahue and the GBFC team handled the Steamboat Springs boys by a score of 8–1 and showed the rest of the tournament how dominant they were.

“It felt great to win it all like that,” Donahue said about the victory, “Beating pretty good teams just to beat the best team in the tournament like that, and by that many points, it just felt good.”

With a 4–0 record on the week, a fun experience in one of Colorado’s most beautiful cities, and a giant trophy to ease Donahue out of his high school soccer career it was a bittersweet ending to the time he’s spent on the pitch for the past three years.

“I think I’ve definitely been dealing with that for awhile,” Donahue said about the thought of actually leaving high school soccer behind, “But I’m keeping the dream alive, I got a couple of JUCO offers…and I can still play club or intramural soccer at [Grand Canyon University].”

Donahue and his All-Star team held up the Steamboat Springs trophy after beating some of the toughest competition in the country in the most experienced, toughest division of the tournament

While Donahue enters into a new era of his life, one that is filled with more than high school sports and high school life, he couldn’t help but reflect on everything that soccer gave him during his time at LVHS.

“Coach [Dean] Schaff helped me quite a bit, he helped me be the player I am today,” Donahue said about his soccer coach, “the one thing that’s disappointing is that we couldn’t bring home the [State] trophy though.”

Even without that state trophy in his palms, Donahue has shown what a Lander Valley Tiger can do on the soccer field and that success does not come in the same shape and size for everybody.

Congratulations on a successful, championship Summer and good luck in the future Mr. Donahue!