By Kevin Perrington-Turner, Contributing Writer
SHREWSBURY/NORTHBOROUGH – A handful of area residents helped their club soccer team claim a national championship in Colorado last month.
The girls’ youth soccer club FC Stars ECNL White won a National Cup XX U14 Super Group championship with a 1-0 victory over Real Colorado in a finals game held in Denver.
The team is coached by Mike Foley and is based out of Lancaster. Before the National Cup, they competed in the Massachusetts Regional Cup back in April. They played four single-elimination games in the tournament, eventually winning a state championship title and a ticket to Colorado.
Shrewsbury resident Caroline Kelleher will be heading to Worcester Academy next year and appreciates the experience this tournament run gave her in her final season before high school.
“It was honestly crazy,” she said. “We’ve been working to go national league for three years, so going out there was a lifetime experience. For the next season, all the teams are going to change, so we wanted one last run as a team and we all wanted it so bad.”
Even with the pandemic reshaping their season, the team found a way to make things work and hone their skills. They wore masks, took temperatures and obeyed other familiar protocols.
“With the pandemic, we had to do Zoom calls and dribbling on Zoom calls,” Kelleher said. “It was really hard for us to practice. Before practice opened, we were all doing our own training together on the field. We were trying to make the most of it.”
Northborough resident Natalie Alverenga, meanwhile, will be entering eighth grade next year. She also enjoyed her experience in Colorado.
“When I first got there, I couldn’t really believe it because I had never been to a place like that,” she said. “I was just excited, happy, and nervous because it was a pretty big deal. We were playing against some tough competition.”
Although Alverenga may soon be playing against opponents who are older than her, she feels hopeful on what the future holds for her.
“I think with how this season has been going and how I’ve been doing, I’m pretty hopeful about my soccer career,” she said. “I had to give it more attention because it was hard to practice over a Zoom call.”