Passion breeds success

Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor
Submitted photo
Davyn Hoffman proudly displays his awards for being selected Player of the Month for March as well as Player
of the Year for the Wyoming Soccer Association with his parents, Bryce and Amy Hoffman, and
sister Brooklyn, a winner in her own right.

While it may not be true for the United States, soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and soccer fans are among the most loyal and passionate of any there is. Perhaps distance running could compete with the familial environment soccer fosters, however as a team sport, it has no rival.

Here in Newcastle, there is a strong community of soccer lovers that has, in the past year, had two of its young athletes represent their town and the sport well by being recognized for their dedication and talent.

Davyn Hoffman, a sixth grader at NMS was awarded the Spotlight Player of the Month for March by the Wyoming Soccer Association, so when the family headed out to Casper on Saturday, March 4th for the soccer banquet, he was thinking that he would be recognized in that realm. He had no idea there was much more awaiting him.

Not only was Davyn the Spotlight Player of the Month, he was also soon to find out that he had been recognized as the Wyoming Soccer Association’s Player of the Year which is an honor awarded to only one player in the state regardless of age group.

“I was a little nervous because I guess I didn’t really know what to expect,” Davyn admitted. “Once I realized that it was me, I was pretty excited! I just couldn’t believe it would be someone from a small town when there are all these kids from Gillette and Casper.”

Prior to the announcement of Davyn as the winner, the announcer described the recipient and as she did so, Davyn’s sister Brooklyn and he began a whispered debate regarding who that might be.  

“When they were talking, I just knew it was Davyn because of the things they were saying,” Brooklyn grinned. “I just kept saying that I thought it was him.”

“I didn’t think it was me until they said that the player liked Chelsea [England] and that they shag balls at high school games,” Davyn added. “When they talked about liking WWII and space, it didn’t ring any bells because that was three years ago that I liked that.”

All debate ended with the announcement of his name. As he went up to accept his award his family was there to celebrate his success.

“It was pretty cool to see Davyn recognized for his hard work and for what he brings to the field,” nodded his mother Amy. “He has been a huge fan of the game, getting up early on weekends to watch the Premier League games, and has played every season since he started as a U6 player. He also has been playing indoor soccer for the last few years, and is just very committed to the sport.”

Brooklyn, a fifth grader at NES, was also recognized this past year for her talents on the pitch as she tried out for, and made the 307 Soccer team which brings together the best players from around the state. Last summer, she attended three weekends of tryouts in Casper and was rewarded for her efforts by being offered a jersey.

“I was nervous to try out because I would be playing with a lot of girls that I didn’t know, and playing at such a high level stressed me out a little bit,” Brooklyn admitted. “It’s different playing on the 307 team, mainly because I play defense for them where I play center attacking mid for my team here in Newcastle.”

Since then, she has competed with 307 in two tournaments. The first took place in Las Vegas, Nevada over Thanksgiving where the Wyoming squad was narrowly defeated 1-2 by Hawaii in the championship game to finish second. The second was in Mesquite, NV February 2nd-4th where 307 dominated their competition, coming home with the championship trophy and ending the weekend only being scored upon twice. 

The 307 team held one practice before the Las Vegas tourney, however, Brooke’s local team had a tournament in Belle Fourche that weekend, and as local obligations trump 307 obligations, Brooklyn played with her Newcastle team instead of going to the practice. As such, she only participated in one practice with the 307 team before they played in their first tournament.

“I was pretty nervous going into the first one especially, because I didn’t know what to expect, and it also felt like there was a little more pressure,” Brooklyn admitted. “But, I felt better going to the second one because, as a team, we had more experience playing together and I knew what to expect.”

The Hoffman children have been blessed with athletic ability, however it takes more than talent to achieve the level of success they have. It takes passion and commitment, not only on the part of the athletes, but also on the part of the family.

Bryce and Amy Hoffman have been a huge part of fostering their children’s love for the game, and for supporting them in their soccer endeavors. Both parents played as children, starting with the U8 teams here in Newcastle. Though Amy graduated before soccer became a sanctioned high school sport at NHS in 2005, Bryce was able to play for the Dogies his senior year. 

Both parents have consistently coached teams for the club over the years and Bryce was the head girls soccer coach at NHS from 2012-2019.

It is not surprising therefore, that the love of the game came naturally for Brooklyn and Davyn.

The familial connection goes far beyond the Hoffman household, however. Within the soccer community, more so than other sports it seems, there is a strong connection between everyone who loves the game.

“You develop a soccer family. With both kids’ teams, we travel to all the weekend tournaments and there is a large group of parents that support their kids,” Bryce explained. “We build a pretty cool camaraderie with those families on all those weekends. It really brings people together.”

Dogie fans can expect to see more from the Hoffman kids, as well as other up-and-coming little Dogies, as they age up to be able to play on their middle school and high school teams, but for now, Newcastle can be proud of how these two young athletes have represented their sport and their community.

“It’s cool that both kids from a small town are making a positive impact in soccer, both in their community and at the state level. It’s something we couldn’t do if we didn’t have such a supportive soccer community here in Newcastle,” Bryce insisted. “Our local board is pretty amazing as are the parents here. It has created some pretty cool opportunities that our kids have benefitted from. There is such a dedication and passion for the sport, and it shows.”

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