La Cueva soccer team chosen for national campaign


ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- An Albuquerque high school team that’s been a powerhouse in New Mexico is about to get some national exposure. The players and coach have caught the attention of Dick’s Sporting Goods. The company brought crews into town to document Hell Week.

“I, personally, have over 300 wins here at La Cueva, I have nine state championships as the coach,” says La Cueva Head Varsity Girl’s Soccer Coach Amber Ashcraft.

With stats like those, it’s no wonder Dick’s Sporting Goods chose to highlight La Cueva High School’s Girl’s Soccer Team.

For the past couple of years, Dick’s has chosen a  handful of schools across the country to feature in a documentary-style series called Hell Week.

It’s named after what’s called the most brutal week in high school sports– when players return for practice after summer break.

The sporting goods store has spent days at the northeast Albuquerque high school, taking photos of their two-a-days for for social media and shooting for a mini-documentary that will eventually be posted on Dick’s website.

The team hopes some of the clips may even be used in Dick’s commercials.

“You usually see all these teams like on commercials for Dick’s and stuff and they’re like, going all hard and stuff and you’re like, why can’t our team do that and then they pick you and you’re like, do we do that?” says varsity soccer player Stephanie Lloyd.

La Cueva Coach Amber Ashcraft is the only female high school girls’ soccer coach to have 300-plus wins under her belt. That’s not to mention the fact La Cueva has won 14 state championships in the past 26 years.

This Hell Week will be one the La Cueva Girl’s Soccer team will never forget and it’s not just because of the cameras at practice.

Last season, they failed to make it to semi-finals for the first time in the team’s history. It’s why they’re gunning harder than ever to make it to state.

“I think La Cueva’s future is always trying to get to the state championship,” says Lloyd.

Ashcraft remembers getting the call in early July.

“I said, yeah we were interested and so kind of getting everything, the ball rolling took a couple of weeks and then had a couple of interviews and got a phone call and said that we’ve chosen your school!” recalls Ashcraft.

Yet, the team didn’t find out they were chosen until just last week.

“It was weird getting used to because they would stand in the middle of the field and you’d be like trying to do something and they’d be right there and you’d be like, oh, I can’t do that because the film crew’s there,” explains Lloyd.

Players trying out for Ashcraft’s team say the camera crews were added pressure.

“It’s kind of challenging because you’re kind of like trying to showcase your skills and everything but then there’s like cameras there and so you know that they’re seeing everything,” says player Kathryn Lloyd.

It’s pressure they believe will only grow as the team is recognized as one of the best.

“I think it kind of puts like a target on our back, knowing that this is telling everyone that we’re good,” says player Kate Browning.

Ashcraft says it’s a move that will put New Mexico soccer and La Cueva into the spotlight.

“We have a lot of championships and we’re steadily in the running for the state tournament every year and I think that this just kind of puts us on the map,” Ashcraft says.

La Cueva is the first stop on Dick’s Hell Week tour. After they wrap up in Albuquerque, they’ll head to three other schools across the country.

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