by Lisa Sillaway


The Orange Army showed up Saturday and so did their Wings. Fans made the trip from Wichita to Denver and watched their team take down the Colorado Rumble, 19-3.

"We had just about the same amount of - if not more - fans than they did!  How cool is that?" enthused Coach Roger Downing.

The Wings beat the Colorado Rumble 13-0 early in their season, as well as the Colorado Inferno FC 6-5, both at home. The decisive victory of 19-3 in Denver gave the Wings their biggest success of the season so far.


Today they go into battle with the Colorado Inferno who, going into the weekend, had a 10.3 goals-for average and a +23 goal differential. The Wings are close to the Inferno with a 10.2 goals-for average but overpower them in goal differential with +64.  The Wings take on the Inferno at 4 p.m. CST Soccerhaus in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"We have beaten both of these teams before, but it is always harder to win on the road," said Downing.  "The Inferno we beat in OT at home, they are a great team and winning here on the back-end of the double header will be tough, but we will welcome the challenge!"

But the massive win in Denver on Saturday is a great confidence boost and springboard into today's game.

 "We hope to keep the momentum into today's match.  It will be a tough one, but we will be up for the challenge!" said Downing. "The past two games we have bought back in on getting behind the ball and defending.  We are scoring some really good, unselfish, team goals.  This is not a selfish team and it’s contagious."


The game against the Rumble was a bit rough, with multiple blue and yellow cards and a spate of fouls. The players are showing a little late season wear-and-tear.

"We are a little banged-up.  Jared Robbins is out this weekend with an ankle and knee issue.  Other than that just some wear and tear on some of the guys," said Downing.

The players who are feeling the season are being tended to, don't worry. The Wings have a team of their own that provide care - both on and off the road.

"It’s important for players to have what they need before they actually need it. Traveling our full staff allows us to provide them with the best care. Our trainer is Sara Miller from Mid-America Orthopedics and our team Message Therapist is Eddie Ulloa. Both companies are critical to our success," said owner Blake Shumaker.

Sara Miller has been training for this job for years. She earned her undergraduate degree at Kansas State University in Kinesiology and then added a Masters in Athletic Training at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.

While on the road, Miller is makesing sure she not only knows her players, but also her surroundings.

"I make sure to know where the AED and closest medical personnel are during the games. I also make it a point to introduce my self to the officials, so they know to look out for anything out of the ordinary and to signal me on when there is an injury on the field," said Miller, who also takes care of most teams as they come into Hartman Arena. Working on an athlete whose history she isn't familiar with can sometimes be tricky but so far, so good.

"So far, I haven’t run into any problems. But, there can always be one instance where an athlete goes down on the field and it could be because of a pre-existing condition. Because of this, the hosting Athletic Trainer can be at a huge disadvantage when they are assessing the situation. As the hosting Athletic Trainer, we don’t know if they are supposed to be taking certain prescription medications or be following any specific restrictions regarding play," she said.  "So to counteract this, I always make sure I talk to the coach of the opposing team to give them the rundown of who I am and what I do. When I’m with the opposing teams coach, we essentially make a plan in case one of their athletes were to get injured on the field and the expectations of me if this were to happen."

Miller impresses the Wings she cares for and the opposing team, but she also is making an impression on the young girls in the arena.

"I never really thought about that until a little girl came up to me after a game. The mom explained to me that she would get super excited every time I went out onto the field. The mom also said that the little girl wanted to be a part of the team some day, and she explained that my job was one way to do just that," said Miller. "Over the years, I’ve never really considered myself as a role model or someone that can set an example for the next generation to look up to. I’m still so young and new to my field, I don’t put much thought into the fact that I am a female in a very much male-driven sport."

Little fun fact about Miller? Her dream job is working as an Athletic Trainer for Cirque Du Soleil - treating a whole different kind of athlete.

The Wings take on the Inferno at 4 p.m. CST, Sunday, March 8 at Soccerhaus in Colorado Springs, Colo. Live Streaming information will be available, along with a live Tweet and FB thread, online as we near gametime.


The fledgling team is looking forward to their upcoming road trip to Colorado, but players and staff can't help but anticipate coming home to Hartman Arena and bringing the playoffs to the fans in early April. Orange Army, they are counting on you as their sixth attacker.

"It’s bigger than a home field advantage. We know the best indoor fans are in Wichita and our players are extremely excited to get to provide those meaningful championship games at Hartman Arena," said Shumaker.

All March games will leave the men in orange without their sixth attacker - the Orange Army. Shumaker is confident that the extended slate of away games will be only positive for the 40th anniversary season and hopes that fans will keep tabs on the team during their road trip.

Tickets are on sale for the championship weekend and can be purchased at the Hartman Arena Box Office or via Ticketmaster online.