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Park City girls soccer player uses experience in Colombia

Miners senior Coral Crossland moves the ball upfield in Park City’s 5-0 victory over Payson on Sept. 26. Crossland, who is the senior captain and leader of the defense, was essential in leading the Miners to the second round of the state playoffs in their first season in class 5A.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

It’s safe to say that South America has played a huge role in Coral Crossland’s life, both on and off the soccer field.

When Crossland returned to Park City as a sophomore in high school, she knew that she’d play soccer for the Miners. After all, she just moved from Colombia, where soccer was more of a religion than just a game.

“People think they know how obsessed South American countries are with soccer, but until they’re living there and seeing it every day, they have no idea,” Crossland, now a senior, said. “Soccer just means so much more. … I mean it’s all they do from the moment they can walk. Even if they don’t play soccer as a sport, the kids who just play it for fun are still that much better than everyone else.”



Crossland’s family moved to Colombia from Seattle when she was 10, where she learned a different style of soccer. Although she didn’t play very much for a women’s team, she did spend a considerable amount of time going up against the boys. But through the physical and technical battles, Crossland developed a style that became a positive when she moved to Park City.

“Down in South America, girls soccer isn’t quite as established as it is here, but it’s definitely growing,” Crossland said. “The one club team down by where I lived only had, like, eight girls on the team, so we played with the boys a lot. Nearly every weekend, my sister (Maude) and I would just play Saturday games with the boys, and that’s where we learned the most.”



That experience eventually proved vital to the Miners soccer program when Crossland returned to Park City.

A stalwart on defense since she became a Miner, Crossland stood out this season. She helped lead the Miners into Class 5A, where they overcame some growing pains to finish third in Region 8 and earn a 3-1 victory over Bountiful in the first round of the state playoffs before falling to Skyline in the second round.

“Coral was essential on our back line and as a captain,” said Micaela Carriel, Park City head coach. “Her relentless effort on the field was not only vital to our success, but it easily transitioned to the classroom and the relationships with her teammates. I expect a lot of my seniors, and even more of my captains, and Coral represented that perfectly.”

Crossland took on a leadership role this past season that was just as essential to the team’s success.

Nominated as a captain for her maturity and poise, Crossland did something this past summer that helped transform her as a person when she traveled Ecuador to take part in Broadreach, a global educational and adventure program.

She chose to take part in a three-week medical camp where she spent her time learning medical terminology in Spanish, shadowing multiple local doctors and assisting them in any way possible.

“It was beyond a life-changing experience that it’s something I know I want to do later on in life,” Crossland said. “Not only did we get our wilderness aid, we traveled to clinics in more rural areas and really saw how some people live and what they lack in medical resources. It really inspired me that one day, I want to go and do something like ‘doctors without borders’ just to help people.”

Crossland attributed her three weeks in Ecuador as a big help in learning how to be a leader for the Miners. Often soft-spoken and not one to get on anybody, Crossland now had the confidence to challenge her teammates in a productive manner while being mature enough to know when to stop or change direction.

But with the season now over, Crossland is looking forward to the next step in her life — college. She’s not sure if soccer is what she will be doing in college, but she doesn’t know if the medical field is her calling.

“I’ve always wanted to do something with Spanish, but after taking that trip this past summer, I know that I want to combine that and medical,” Crossland said. “Anytime you can give back in this world, I think it’s a good thing. … So that’s what I plan on doing.”


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