Boys and Girls All-Star Football Games Return for First Time in 25 Years | Local
It’s been 27 years since Chris McMackin represented Campbell County High School in the Wyoming Boys All-Star Football Game.
McMackin, a 1994 Campbell County graduate, was instrumental in bringing home Camels’ first state football title in the school’s history. Almost three decades later, Camels’ first state title remains the last on the program.
McMackin became the coach of his alma mater four years ago. While the Camels aren’t state boys or girls’ soccer champions this year after both teams were eliminated in the regions, McMackin has given Wyoming soccer players an opportunity they have been deprived of for nearly a year. of three decades.
The Wyoming All-Star Soccer Games have been contested twice after McMackin graduated from CCHS. But after the summer of 1996, the Wyoming Coaches Association stopped accepting them entirely.
“The people who were running it at Casper, they kind of had no one to take the torch and hold it up,” McMackin said. “So he just fell by the side of the road.”
After resuming the CCHS soccer program in 2017, McMackin decided to revive All-Star games. His main motivation was the memories he made as an All-Star when he was in high school.
“I still have fond memories of playing there in the 90s,” said McMackin. “I think if I dig deep enough in my closet I’m sure I might even find my old jersey hanging somewhere.”
What’s special about the All-Star Game is giving student-athletes a chance to play in a final soccer match with and against the best competition in the state. Similar to how football has the annual Shrine Bowl, the All-Star Soccer Game features senior graduates from Grades 4A and 3A.
More than 70 seniors have been nominated this year and the 27 high schools that have high school soccer will be represented this year, McMackin said. The rosters will be announced next week after the state tournament.
“I don’t think they’ll ever have another opportunity like this where you bring all of this talent together on one pitch,” McMackin said. “Most of the time, they clash, but this will be an opportunity to mix the kids up and make new friendships.”
Playing with this level of skill and competition is another opportunity for players who haven’t made it to college to be spotted one last time. As the former assistant coach of the Gillette College women’s soccer team, McMackin remembers recruiting players the summer just before the start of the new school year.
As the main event organizer, McMackin plans to use his connections in the soccer community to let area college soccer coaches know of the matches in case they need an additional player or two in their training. programs.
Football, basketball and volleyball continued with summer all-star games for years, while the football season ended with the state tournament. This year, players from all corners of the state will have the opportunity to show their talents one last time in a friendly environment.
The game won’t just be a singular event where kids come to play football before they leave town, McMackin said. The games will be a three-day event that will include training and practices, player activities and a skills clinic for local youth soccer teams.
The skills clinic will be led by star players who will help children ages 5 to 12 with drills improve at the game, said McMackin.
The Wyoming Coaches Association unanimously approved the return of the games last year. The games were originally scheduled to restart last year before being canceled due to COVID-19.
After years of waiting to give soccer players the recognition they deserve, McMackin is more than excited to see his dream of four years ago finally come true.
“It’s kind of an honor to be chosen to play in a game like this,” said McMackin. “You can play one last game and represent your school and your community one last time. I see the Shrine Bowl for football and all-star games for basketball and volleyball and see no reason why football players shouldn’t have that same opportunity.
The games will be played at Thunder Basin High School. The Bolts will host the games because the school has the most fan space compared to CCHS and Gillette College, McMackin said.
The amount of bleacher space was important to McMackin when deciding where matches would be played. This is because he expects a strong participation from the Gillette community.
The Boys and Girls All-Star Games will be played on June 19.