Chicago Rogue Football Club’s U14 team (from left, top row) Josh L (coach), Matthew R, Brayden G, Andrew G, James A, Miguel C, Julian H, Zachary T, Benjamin Vega (coach), and Pablo V (coach); (from left, bottom row) William J, Dylan L, Jan P, Michael S, Giovanni O, Angel S, Julian M, Benjamin S, Charlie H, and Caleb T. (Diego V, not pictured). (Supplied photo)

Chicago Rogue Football Club’s U14 team (from left, top row) Josh L (coach), Matthew R, Brayden G, Andrew G, James A, Miguel C, Julian H, Zachary T, Benjamin Vega (coach), and Pablo V (coach); (from left, bottom row) William J, Dylan L, Jan P, Michael S, Giovanni O, Angel S, Julian M, Benjamin S, Charlie H, and Caleb T. (Diego V, not pictured). (Supplied photo)

Local youth soccer team wins state cup, could see Mickey at nationals

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By Isabella Schreck

Chicago Rogue Football Club’s U14 soccer team has the chance to play in the national championships at Disney World – if the boys can win at the regionals Friday in St. Louis.

The team does hate to lose, said head coach Benjamin Vega, whose team hit the road for St. Louis on Thursday.

“These kids have a huge heart,” Vega said. “They battle – they compete. They’re good with the ball. They’re technical.”

At the Midwest regionals, the team will play the Kentucky state champion Friday at noon. The boys then play Saturday and Sunday, and if they do well, they will advance to the semifinals Tuesday. The finals will be played Wednesday. That winner will advance to the nationals next month in Florida.

U14 became State Cup Champions earlier this month after winning the quarterfinals and semi-finals 1-0.

The youth soccer club, which began play only three years ago, is based in Lemont and has teams ranging from 16 years old to 8 years old. Players come from across the south and southwest suburbs – and even some live in Indiana.

Vega said most of his U14 team has played together since they were 6 years old, and that bond is one of their strengths, in addition to their work ethic and attitude.

To prepare for the regionals, Vega focused on player maintenance.

“It’s been more just keeping them busy, trying to recover our injured players and just working on different things like set pieces,” he said. “We’re trying to get everybody 100% or at least the closest that we can get them to 100% so we can go and represent regionals very well.”

When reflecting on great team moments this year, Vega attributed a game in late April to a boost in the team’s confidence and momentum. Four key players were missing from that three-game battle in Rantoul, but the team was able to come back with two wins and one loss.

“The boys just played their hearts out and came back with two wins and one loss, which was big,” Vega said. “It gave us our confidence back, and we were able to manage the rest of the games, and it just kept getting better.”

The national championships run from July 17 – 23 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. Vega said his team is “very, very excited” about the possibility of competing in Florida.

“We’re really looking forward to continuing to keep learning because they’re still young,” Vega said. “It’s going to be a great experience for us, going to regionals. So, we want to keep learning, but we’re also confident that we can represent pretty well. We’re gonna work hard and hopefully we get to visit Mickey in July.”

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Comings & Goings: Palos Jewel, Oak Lawn Mariano’s to be sold in merger deal

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Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 10, 2024

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