COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Three local soccer stars are making the most of their time in Colorado.
When they’re not on the field, they’re likely planning their next adventure, somewhere near water or deep in the Rocky Mountains.
For the last two years, Josh Phillips, Jordan Burt and Josh Suggs have played alongside one another representing the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
For each of them, living in Colorado has been a dream come true. Outside of playing professional soccer, living so close to the Rocky Mountains has proven to be the perfect hook.
“The opportunities that are in Colorado are amazing and I’ve gotten to experience so much of it in Colorado Springs with the proximity to the mountains and rivers and lakes and it’s been fun,” said Phillips.
“I’m a big outdoors man and we have a lot of down time in which we go out and explore and there’s millions of places on our list to go so it’s just a really exciting lifestyle,” said Burt.
It’s the kind of lifestyle that led these sportsmen to a different sport.
“My teammate Jordan Burt put a fly rod in my hand and took me out, said you’ve got to learn how to do this and after some very frustrating experiences, I kind of figured it out and really took to it,” said Phillips.
“Eventually I just took him out and you could just see it, he loved it,” said Burt. “So from there on out we just started talking about doing it all the time and we haven’t turned back.”
Combining their professional talent with their passions off the field– that’s something the guys say is hard to find in any football club.
“Just coming into the team and having guys that actually had the same interest as me was strange and at the same time I loved it,” said Suggs. “I told them I don’t want them to play anywhere else next year just because I want us all to stay together because I don’t know what it would be like going to another team and not being able to talk to guys about the stuff we talk about.”
“Usually it’s soccer 100 percent of the time and I know for me, I need that balance to think about other things and to have other passions,” said Burt. “I get really excited when I’m talking about fishing and hunting. We carpool to practice everyday and that’s all we talk about so I think that’s definitely brought us closer together.”
All three guys say it comes down to a healthy balance.
On the field, it’s all about business and most times it’s loud, aggressive and even tiring but out in the mountains it’s the exact opposite.
Ankle deep in a river in the middle of the mountains offers these guys a different type of sanctuary.
“We’re out here grinding all day on the soccer field and then to just go be in the mountains on the river and catching these amazing species in a very simplistic way is pretty cool,” said Burt. “For me it just rejuvenates me and gives me energy.”
“It’s very different because when I’m on a soccer field, everything is very high energy,” said Suggs. “It’s like your amped up, you’re fighting for everything, it’s very competitive where as when I go fishing, it’s more about relaxing, getting my mind off things, just kind of enjoying the moment.”
Along the way, they’ve snapped hundreds of pictures and videos of their experiences.
“Last year we saw every major animal species but a cougar which was cool,” said Phillips. “I don’t know, it’s just something about the back country just draws me to it and I can’t get enough of it.”
The three of them combined have more than 45,000 followers on social media, which is why they decided to create Backline Outdoors — a website dedicated to all things outdoors.
“It’s a play on words since we’re all defenders for the Switchbacks,” said Phillips. “We are collaborating with companies around the nation and the globe actually to provide a media outlet and also promote social issues like protection and conservation.”
“It’s really happened pretty organically where brands and companies and different organizations want us to provide content for them so we we’re like why don’t we do something a little more official and that’s kind of what we’re all about,” said Burt.
So whether it’s on the pitch performing under the lights or in the streams watching fish rise to flies, these three best friends say Colorado has given them the chance to share their passions together.
“We get to come out, train in the morning, we’ll leave around 12 o’clock and be in the mountains by one fishing,” said Suggs. “So honestly I don’t think we could really beat that. I don’t know that any other place in the country is as good for that.”
It’s a rare opportunity they hope to never lose sight of.
“On the purest level it’s just about us doing what we love and sharing it with the world,” said Burt.
If you’re wondering what they do with the fish, the guys say it’s all catch and release. On top of the three, Josh Suggs’ wife Gabi and their son Sage often accompany the group.
If you want to catch the three in action out at Weidner Field, the team is scheduled to play this Saturday, May 27 starting at 7 p.m.