Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Film on First U.S. Women’s Soccer Champion – SUNY Cortland – Premieres

The story of the first U.S. women’s soccer champion, SUNY Cortland, has been immortalized in a new documentary titled “Cortland to Colorado.” This 66-minute film celebrates the historic journey of the 1980 Cortland women’s soccer team, which drove 1,700 miles in 40 hours to win the nation’s first intercollegiate women’s soccer championship. The documentary highlights their triumph and explores the impact of women’s soccer growth in the United States.

Tracing the Historic Journey

The 1980 Cortland women’s soccer team embarked on an arduous road trip to participate in an invitational postseason tournament organized by Steve Paul, the women’s soccer coach at Colorado College. They drove through cold, snowy conditions and overcame numerous challenges, including accidentally leaving their lifeline of $2,000 on a gas station counter in Kansas. Despite all obstacles, the team emerged victorious, defeating UCLA 5-1 in the national championship game.

Alum game action
SUNY Cortland women’s soccer alumnae play a game during Alumni Reunion 2017.

Impact on Women’s Soccer in the U.S.

The documentary showcases interviews with key figures such as Abby Wambach, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Anson Dorrance, the head coach of the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team. They discuss how the 1980 Cortland team laid the groundwork for women’s soccer in the United States. The film also sheds light on the team’s role in inspiring future generations and fostering the growth of women’s soccer at both collegiate and professional levels.

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Sharing Lessons and Inspiring Others

Members of the 1980 Cortland team hope their story serves as a source of inspiration for aspiring athletes and teaches the value of hard work and determination. They believe that the lessons learned from their journey, including coaching, leadership, camaraderie, and commitment, are more relevant today than ever before. By sharing their experiences through this documentary, they aim to empower and mentor younger generations.


Q: Where can I watch the documentary?
A: The documentary is available online at

Q: Will the documentary be shown in film festivals?
A: There are plans to showcase the film at various film festivals and the 2018 National Soccer Coaches Association of America annual convention in Philadelphia.

Q: Is there any future distribution of the film planned?
A: The film may be aired on PBS affiliates in central and western New York.

Q: Who produced and directed the documentary?
A: The documentary was produced and directed by Joe Calderone of InItIIWinIt Productions, a video production company based in Saratoga Springs, New York.


The premiere of “Cortland to Colorado” marks a significant milestone in capturing the inspiring journey of the 1980 Cortland women’s soccer team. Their dedication, resilience, and triumph have not only shaped the history of women’s soccer at SUNY Cortland but have left a lasting impact on the growth of the sport in the United States. This documentary serves as a testament to their legacy and an inspiration for future generations of athletes.

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