LAKEWOOD RANCH — Out-of-Door Academy eighth-grader Emily Camire didn’t know what to expect when she stepped onto the soccer field last July and came face to face with her new Braden River Soccer Club Maroon team.
Camire had played with a few of the girls before on other teams, but it was the first time the 13-year-old sweeper and the rest of the U13 girls team would be playing together as a whole.
“I was excited, but I was also kind of nervous and not sure how we were going to do,” Camire said. “I was hoping we would get this far, so I’m really glad we did.”
The team, which began its season in September, showed signs of promise early on, but it wasn’t until three weeks ago when the Rage won the Region C Championship that coach Robert McNab realized his team definitely has the potential to win a state championship.
“This is the first year they’ve been together, and we have a lot of new members,” McNab said. “Did I think they would make it this far? Not at all because they all come from different past styles, but they executed the plan perfectly, and I’m really happy and excited for them.”
After advancing through the preliminary rounds, the girls defeated St. Pete Everton 2-1 in the semifinals March 20. The following day, the Rage defeated the Lee County Strikers 2-0 to capture the Region C Championship.
“I didn’t think we’d make it this far, but we’ve worked really hard,” 13-year-old Kendall McNab said.
“We work well together and have a lot of teamwork, and I think that’s how we’ve been able to win,” she said. “We’re just cool (on the field) — we don’t yell a lot. We’re nice to each other and we’re all friends.”
As the Region C Champions, the Rage will now advance to the semifinals of the President’s Cup.
The team will play the Pinecrest Premier Soccer Club from Miami at 9 a.m., April 10 in Auburndale.
“They made it to the Final Four, which is cool,” Robert McNab said. “They work hard, but they have a lot of fun too.”
Following the Region C Championship, the girls returned to the practice field to prepare for their next opponent whom they’ve never faced before.
“We’re going to need to be really fast, strong and technical with the ball,” Kendall McNab said.
Her father agreed.
“It’ll be interesting because they run a different style than we’re used to, so it should be a good educator for the girls,” Robert McNab said.
Following the President’s Cup, the Rage will more than likely compete in a few more tournaments before trying out for the U14 girls team in May.
For more information on the Braden River Soccer Club visit www.bradenriversoccer.org.
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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