HARLINGEN — The summer of soccer continues.
Fresh off winning the Regional Presidents Cup, Klarissa Gonzalez and the Houston Dynamo STX GU17 team found a way to keep the magic alive.
As the best soccer team in the region, Klarissa and the Dynamo STX GU17 traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for nationals — the 2016 U.S. Youth Soccer National President’s Cup, held July 14-17.
They returned as the best U-17 soccer team in the country.
The Dynamo STX hoisted up the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship trophy after defeating the FC Warriors Blue 99 (Las Vegas) 3-0.
With the win, they became the first Rio Grande Valley soccer team to do so.
“When the final whistle blew I got chills and thought to myself, ‘We just won nationals! We are the best team in the nation!’ All the hard work and all the long commutes to McAllen paid off,” Klarissa said. “We showed everyone that the Rio Grande Valley has talent.
“It felt so amazing because we never thought we would win nationals. When we did, it felt surreal and we all thanked God that he has given us the chance to win nationals and we are hoping to come back again and win it all again.”
However, while there may have been a fairytale ending, it certainly didn’t start off that way.
Klarissa and the Dynamo opened the tournament with a 4-0 loss to the FC Warriors Blue 99.
With their backs against the wall, they responded with a 2-2 draw against KC Prime Academy Navy 98/99 (Missouri) and a 4-0 victory against the Union Lady Dragons (New Jersey).
“After we lost our first game we thought we weren’t going to make it and have to go home in third or fourth place,” Klarissa said. “But the next game we started getting into our rhythm and we started getting at it.
“We are going to take a short break and then get back at it again because the fall season is coming up and our goal is to just get better, get far again and just keep chasing our dreams.”
The weekend before, Klarissa and her team traveled to College Station where the club qualified for nationals after defeating top teams from Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas and the North Texas regions.