BOISE, Idaho — Soccer is the most popular game in the world and the Idaho Cutthroats are on their way to becoming a soccer staple in the Gem State.
Idaho Cutthroats FC’s Club Director Kelly Potter said, "Through the UPSL (United Premier Soccer League) we are amateur level, but it's a semiprofessional level of soccer. So, amateur meaning that our players do not get paid, but the level of soccer is just right under the professional level.”
Hector Palacios founded the team over seven years ago with the hope of giving young soccer players in Idaho an opportunity at the sport.
"In my era, no opportunities at all. Either you were that talented to go somewhere, or there was nothing there. You lost your dreams, you know what I mean?" Palacios said. "That's why I started it because there is more opportunity now than ever.”
An opportunity, current player Cody Guthrie had when he finished college.
“Having a platform to know that after college, or anything that you play here, it doesn't mean that it has to stop. You don't have to travel anywhere else to get that recognition. You can be here and know that the cutthroats will put you on that level to be seen the way you deserve to,” Guthrie said.
Aside from giving players a chance at the sport, Palacios said he also wanted the state to also be a part of this journey.
"For me, it was more about representing Idaho, so we thought about the cutthroats, the fish. It's the state fish for Idaho,” Palacios said.
The Cutthroats have played teams all over the state and last year took their skills internationally.
"Last year was the first year that we had an invite to go to Mexico to play in Querétaro. They picked the four best teams in the United States to play against the four best teams in Mexico and we were one of them,” Palacios said.
From there, they were the only U.S. team to place, allowing them to expand their resources.
"From that, we hired a professional coach,” Palacios said. “Thank God for these kids; to see if we can get somewhere and get avenues to get scouted, to send players over there for them to have something for their dream to play soccer."
Even local companies and organizations across the state are supporting the owner and players' dreams.
Drip Drop Distro’s President Douglas T Campbell Jr. said, "If you talk to Hector, he'll tell you his dream is to bring a team here that plays, and people show up. And I just think it's super important for the community. Soccer in Idaho, why not?”
The Cutthroats are thriving internationally and in other states and hope that this will be the beginning of a long-lasting legacy.
"To be honest it feels cool to know that you are the trailblazers. To know there isn't a pro team out here, and that we're next up, and to lay the foundation for the next generation of soccer players,” Guthrie said.
"Boise, Idaho, isn’t really well known for soccer, and we're trying to make that change,” Potter said.
Watch more Local News:
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist:
KTVB is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.