Local Staff Sgt. gets selected for All-Armed Forces tryouts

Staff Sgt. Taryn Hale works through a drill during practice at Earhart Field. Hale has been invited to compete for a spot on the All-Armed Forces Women’s Soccer team.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Staff Sgt. Taryn Hale, 17th Operational Weather Squadron, has been on quite a whirlwind over the past six months.

Just arriving at her new duty station back in December, Hale reached another milestone April 27, when she received notice that she was selected for the All-Armed Forces Women’s Soccer tryouts in Fort Bliss, Texas from June 2-19.

If selected to be on the All-Armed Forces team, Hale would move on with the rest of her teammates to the 2018 Conseil International du Sport Militare (CISM) World Women’s Championship, which will also be held at Fort Bliss from June 20 through July 5.

“I didn’t find out until the 27th, which is when they officially sent the emails out,” she said. “It’s awesome. It feels really, really great. It feels good to have a chance to go and try to show what I’ve been working on my whole life almost.”

When she arrives in Texas, Hale, who is now 25 and has been playing soccer since she was 13 years old, said that while the year has been moving at a fast pace, it would be nothing compared to the speed at which she’ll face at Fort Bliss.

After listening in on a couple of chat rooms, Hale said that she knows that the other invited women are taking their selection very seriously.

“It’s exciting, but slightly intimidating,” she admitted. “These players that are trying out also are pretty serious. A lot of them come from four years of school training experience, so it’s going to be like an uphill battle. I expect it to be very high intensity.”

While in Hawaii, Hale has been playing intramural soccer and is also working out with the Armed Forces Hawaii Futbol Club, an all-men’s military soccer squad that won its bracket at the Defender’s Cup Tournament last year.

Hale said that although she loves the experience of practicing and playing on an all-men’s team, she noted that the camp and tournament at Fort Bliss is for women only.

“It’s all girls and in the military. You don’t get to experience that much,” Hale pointed out. “I’m the only girl out here, so it’s going to be fun to play with all girls again.”

Hale grew up in Patterson, California, and started to play soccer while she was in middle school.

After being introduced to the sport, Hale said it didn’t take long before her pastime became her passion.

“When you start off, it’s just for recreation,” said Hale, who went on to become a three-time captain of her team at Patterson High.

“But the older you get, it becomes more competitive. Two years after I started playing, it became a routine and kept my interest. Everyone’s interested in something that they are good at.”

With so much talent arriving at Fort Bliss, the coaching staff will gauge the players on conditioning in addition to how well they perform at the tryouts.

Going into the training camp, Hale said that she understands what she does well and what she’ll have to work on once she gets there.

“Probably my biggest strengths would be my passing ability and ball control,” she noted. “I have a pretty decent shot and I can cross the ball very well. Speed is not one of my greatest assets in comparison to other people, but we’ll see.”

Although Hale said that she’ll take things one step at a time, but if she does make the team, she’ll get to experience another thing that she has never done as a soccer player.

The CISM tournament is an international event that features clubs from all over the world.

“I have not played on a scale this large, but I imagine that soccer is soccer,” she said. “I’m sure teams from other countries have different ways of playing and different strengths, but that’s the same with any team.”

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Category: Sports