COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – On Friday May 21, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC played their first league match at the brand new Weidner Field. Midfielder Austin Dewing played his final game with the club. A 2018 graduate of the Airforce Academy, he was being reassigned by the U.S. Airforce, leaving for pilot school.
Austin Dewing Says Goodbye and Thank you to Soccer, for now
The game ended up not going the way Dewing or the Switchbacks wanted. They started well, with the 24-year-old having the primary assist to Hadji Barry for the first goal in the stadium’s history.
Colorado Springs Through and Through:
New Mexico United’s experience and talent saw the game out, taking the lead 2-1 early on in the second half. Colorado Springs got nervous and chased the game unsuccessfully. NMU got a goal in stoppage time to win 3-1. Dewing was subbed off 70th minute and was named MOTM.
“It’s tough. That was the end of a long career and my identity for a lot of years. A lot of happiness, but a lot of sadness. Grateful for the moments I had.” Dewing told Last Word after the game when asked about being subbed off in the second half.
He leaves the club having scored a goal and four assists, one of each coming this year.
“I’m extremely grateful and blessed to have made it this far and played this long.”
Dewing is as Homegrown as it gets for a USL city and club that hasn’t had an academy for very long. He was born and raised in the Springs. As mentioned, he attended the Airforce Academy just up the road. In 2018, he played in the PDL with the Switchbacks U-23 team.
Leaving Soccer for a Greater Purpose, for now:
“For Austin, we wish him the best. He’s a great kid and he’s worked his socks off and he did again tonight. I’m sorry we couldn’t send him off the right way. He’s going to go and do well in anything he does. His work ethic, his attention to detail, and commitment are phenomenal,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Brendan Burke after the game.
His professional careers (soccer and the military) have all happened within the shadow of Pikes Peak. He’s as Colorado Springs as it gets. He had in excess of 30 family members and friends in the crowd for the match.
The only thing that could possibly take him away from his club and his home town is the path he committed to when he enrolled in at the Academy. His gratitude, humility, and patriotism radiated when asked about it postgame.
“It’s an emotional game and I’m an emotional person. It’s a majority positive emotion but it’s never easy to leave.”
When asked about whether he’ll play soccer again, Austin left the door open. Other graduates of the military academies have continued to play while having significant military duties. At 24-years-old, he’ll be done with his five years active duty requirement before he’s 30. A return while fulfilling his requirements to serve in the reserves is not out of the realm of possibility.
Last Word: Gratitude and Humility in Service
I’ve spent some time around active military personnel and current/former members of the military academy. As someone who never served in the armed forces, I make an effort to always thank them for their service genuinely and spend a moment or two learning about them. Universally when I’ve said “thank you for your service,” they say something to the effect of “no, thank you for your support.” Austin Dewing was no different post game. The Airforce is getting one hell of a human being who’s going to become one hell of a pilot.
Photo by Matt Pollard.