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    Last week, the Sparta FC Girls 16U team became the first team in the club’s history to play at the US Youth Soccer Nationals. The team, which is made up of mostly local players, went 1-1-1 in pool play but didn’t advance to the knockout round. Shown are front row, from left, Nicole Lares (Cleburne), Shea Moore (Burleson), Nevaeh Johnson (Kennedale), Reagan Easter (Joshua) and Apolonia Wright (Centennial). Back row, Damaris Deschaine (Fort Worth Paschal), Jordan Walker (Burleson), Grace Jordan ( FW Paschal),

Sparta FC team plays at Nationals

Fourteen years after its inception, Sparta Futbol Club reached the pinnacle of club soccer in the United States last week as its girls 02 Elite team played in Frisco at the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships.

“This is by far the best team we have had,” said Lee Hefley, who coaches the team and is also the club’s founder. “We have had a good team for a while. It’s all homegrown talent that we have built up and developed.”

Burleson and Centennial’s girls soccer programs have three players each on the team.

The Lady Elks on the team are forward Maycie Massingill, midfieler Jordan Walker and defender Shea Moore. The Lady Spartan contigent of Apolonia Wright, Kayla Smith and Cooper Cowan all play defense.

At Nationals, the squad played in Group A with teams from Utah, California and Wisconsin. The other group featured club teams from New Jersey, California, Utah and Pennsylvania.

The team went 1-1-1 in group play but didn’t advance to the knockout round.

Entering the final game of group play on Thursday, Sparta needed a win to reach the semifinals. The team took an early 1-0 lead against Legends FC Academy from Chino, California. But in extra time, Legends scored to tie the match denying Sparta a trip to the semifinals.

In its opening match on Tuesday, Sparta lost to La Roca FC from Layton, Utah, 4-0. On Wednesday, Sparta defeated North Shore United from Cedarburg, Wisconsin, 2-1.
Spartan reached Nationals by winning the Southern Regional in Greensboro, N.C.

In pool play, the team went 2-0-1 with 11 goals scored and one allowed. The squad defeated the Charlotte Predators, 3-2, in the quarterfinals and United Futbol Academy from Cumming, Georgia, 4-0, in the semifinals. Sparta topped Rise Soccer Club from Houston, 2-1, to take the title.

Massingill scored seven goals at regionals and Jordan tallied four goals.

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