Local soccer team beats odds to win title
Three days later Casey Wright still couldn’t fathom what his Sparta FC Girls 08 squad pulled off at the Upper90 Challenge in Plano.
With just nine players on the roster (teams play with nine players in this age group) the team went 5-0 to win the title in the span of 36 hours.
“I still can’t believe what these girls pulled off,” Wright said. “It’s amazing.”
Sparta 08 defeated NTX Celtic FC 08G Talvarea, 4-3, in the title game Dec. 2. The finale ended around 8 p.m. and completed a day that saw the girls win three games.
“It was a long day since we needed to leave about 5:30 a.m. to get to Plano for our first game at 8 a.m.,” Wright said. “They were dead going into the championship game but they pulled it out. They played with so much heart. I’ve never seen anything like it. This team is special.”
The squad is made up of mostly 10-year-olds. Playing for the team are Lia Fenton, Kelsey Gilmore, Jordan Hanes, Jayde Hudson, Jordyn Latimer, Isabella Marquez, Sophia Hodges, Jovanika Whitaker and Isabella Wright.
Coach Wright said the key to winning the title was the training and work the girls put in leading up to the tournament.
“We did a lot of running at the Centennial track to get their endurance up,” Wright said. “All that effort worked in our favor.”
The players parents also played a role in claiming the title. Coach Wright said the parents were responsible about what they fed the players between games. Coach Wright also had a solid plan to deal with having no subs. That revolved around a lot of stretching before and after matches.
The squad also adopted a team mentality for the tournament.
“They know that they have to play total team ball,” Wright said. “They knew a lot of teams were going to try to hit us with energy and overwhelm us with their depth and numbers. But they knew if we are the smarter team and play situational soccer we could overcome anything.”
In pool play, Sparta 08 defeated Dallas Texans 5th 08G, 4-2, Sting 08 Cuevas, 2-0, and East Texas Wildcatters SC 08G Balboa, 4-2.
In the semifinals the club topped Liverpool 08 Girls Heighway, 3-2.