The Austin Texans, a team in US Youth Soccer’s U16 division, are one of just four teams left playing for a shot at the President’s Cup, USYS’ national championship.
“It’s a really big deal to me and to everybody else,” Petey Ruiz, Texans defender said. “Just making it to the end is phenomenal. It’s not somethign that heppens all the time.”
“I think we’ve all worked really hard all this year, we’ve been playing as a team this whole year, this whole season, and I think we’ve earned it,” Texans forward Kyle Dvorak said.
The Presidents Cup, Youth Soccer’s national championship, is in South Carolina this year.
“To, in the first year, not only win a state championship, which was nice, but to win a regional championship and now go represent the state and the region in that platform is extremely humbling,” Texans head coach Jose Reyes said. “It’s very motivating.”
The Texans’ run to South Carolina has coincided perfectly with the World Cup. That tournament has provided not just motivation for these athletes, but plenty of support from the community, as well. The Texans even went out to the Long Center for the city-wide watch party for the US versus Belgium game.
“The reception we got from the folks at the Long Center that day was fantastic,” Reyes said. “Everybody was really supportive. Think they probably benefitted more from the well wishes more so than the monetary benefit, which was nice, too.”
“We’re all watching the World Cup, we’re all using it as motivation,” Leon Tannenbaum, Texans goalkeeper, said. “Tim Howard motivates me as a fellow goalkeeper.”
“We all have certain stars we look up to, like Dempsey, Altidore. I think they all show us how to play, and it’s really exciting.”
It’s definitely not the World Cup, but for the Texans, the President’s Cup is just as good.