For the Iowa Rush North 14UG soccer players, winning the State Cup seemed like a dream.
On June 2, the team’s dream became a reality, when they won the Iowa Soccer Championship Series’ State Cup title. To bring home gold, the team, seeded No. 6, prevailed over No. 1 WDMSC Royal, 2-1.
Iowa Rush North 14UG head coach James Price thought his team played a hard-fought tournament at the State Cup.
After winning one game and tying two others during the first part of the tournament, the team advanced to the State Cup semifinals, which featured four teams: No. 1 WDMSC Royal, No. 7 CRSA, No. 6 Iowa Rush North and No. 4 JUSC Premier.
“Once we got through to the semifinals, we felt like anyone could win it, really,” Price said. “You need some luck, and you have to be good at certain times.”
After a bumpy first half against the defending state champions in the State Cup final, Price said the team had to find a way to win against West Des Moines.
“The girls are pretty resilient,” Price said. “It was really about who was going to score the next goal, and we were able to find a way to do that. It’s a really good group of girls, and they work really hard.”
Lindsey Overmann said winning the State Cup was a feeling unlike any other.
“It was unbelievable,” Overmann said. “I had shivers, and I was crying because I was so happy.”
The Iowa Rush North 14UG team has 14 players on its roster from various places throughout the Cedar Valley, including Sumner, Dike, Denver, Waverly, Cedar Falls and Waterloo. During the run at the State Cup, three players from Pella and the Iowa Rush South team joined the Iowa Rush North team.
With the State Cup title under their belts, Iowa Rush North extends their season to the 2019 Midwest Regional Championships, which will be held June 21-26 in Saginaw, Michigan.
Price said while winning the State Cup was a great experience, competing in the regional tournament is something special.
The Midwest Regional Championships aren’t a new tournament to Price, as he’s also the head soccer coach at Upper Iowa University in Fayette and has gone to the tournament for nearly 20 years to recruit new players.
“Regionals is a great experience,” Price said. “I thought it would always be fun to have a team in it that I coached. To be honest, I didn’t think it would be this group, this early. It’s a really cool event, and we get to represent Iowa against other teams in the Midwest.”
Kylie Morrey is looking forward to seeing how her squad from Iowa stacks up against the other competition from the Midwest.
For her, it’s just an honor to be at the tournament.
“Knowing that we are going to play the other best teams in other states, it’s like we are the best of the best," Morrey said. “It’s just amazing.”
It’s quite evident that all players on the Iowa Rush North 14UG team know that the Midwest Regional Championships aren’t going to be easy.
That’s why they devote their time, effort and dedication to practices three times a week at the Waverly Soccer Complex.
“We have to come to practice every day and give it our all,” Natalie Burman, an Iowa Rush North 14UG soccer player, said. “If we practice how we play, we will definitely do good.”
During practices, the team often works on set pieces, penalty kicks, shooting, finishing and technical work.
At the Midwest Regional Championships, Iowa Rush North is in Group D, which also includes Missouri’s Sporting STL 05 Academy, Wisconsin’s Madison 56’ers U14 Girls Red and Michigan’s Nationals Tricounty 05 Girls Black.
Iowa Rush North will play each of the teams in their pool, starting on Friday, June 21 against Nationals Tricounty 05 Girls Black at 1 p.m. Then, on Saturday, June 22, Iowa Rush North faces Madison 56’ers U14 Girls Red at 11 a.m. and on Sunday, June 23 at 9:30 a.m., the team will take on Sporting STL 05 Academy.
Overmann is excited to see some new competition at the regional tournament and is hoping Iowa Rush North can improve as a team.
“I’m just looking forward to playing the best people out of everywhere,” Overmann said. “It’s new competition. I think we need that, because then we can become a better team.”
While this season has been notable for the Iowa Rush North 14UG team, one thing that Burman has enjoyed most is being able to play soccer with her teammates.
“My team has just really pushed us to do our best,” Burman said. “Every player encourages each other, and we just get along really well.”