La Roca U14 to be third Utah team to advance to a premier national tournament

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The La Roca U14 Premier girls club soccer team is looking to make history.

They are the third team in Utah to ever advance to a premier national tournament.

Utah teams have never won a game in the tournament - and La Roca U14 is looking to change that.

The team was established in Utah in June 2005, and since it started the club has quadrupled.

"We started 10 years ago, La Roca with 25 teams,” said La Roca U14 head coach Francisco "Pancho" Ovalle. “Right now we have over 100. We have La Roca south from the Utah County area until Ogden teams."

Some of the girls have been on this team have been with the club for 5 years. They said the team has been a work in progress, getting better every year.

"In the beginning we're just starting off trying to learn to play soccer, but as we progressed with time, you can see it clicking a little bit easier. Our passes are getting harder," teammate Olivia Wade said.

All of their hard work is paying off with a trip to national in Maryland to play against some of the best teams in the nation.

"Huge teams, ya know?” Ovalle said. “Big dogs. So we are really proud to get there and Maryland is a huge event. I don't know how many teams, but more than 60 teams with the best level of coaches with the huge ceremony. It's something amazing, every dream for every single girl who plays soccer."

"It's amazing and it's really hard because every single practice you have to work as hard as you can,” teammate Bryce Reynolds said. “We have a coach that pushes us really hard, and it's a dream to even go to this tournament."

Even though no other Utah team has won in the tournament, they said this year will be different.

"Of course we are going to win it all," teammate Harely Turnbow said.

"I'm positive we can win," Wade said.

Ovalle added: "We are going to win. We are going to win. That doesn't change anything. We prepared ever single practice, every single session we are doing game analysis, we take care of the food, we take care of the sleep, we take care of everything. This group of girls is going for the dream. This is the first time. I don't think a Utah team won one in national ever. We are going for the first one for sure, I can guarantee you that."