LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - In the past 30 years, youth soccer around the country has grown exponentially. States like California, Colorado, and Texas were the leaders of these youth leagues, but don't sleep on the programs here in the Natural State.
Today, the state is producing potential soccer stars as skilled as the rest of them. In fact, a local under-15 Rush Select girls team has the chance to do what no other team from Arkansas has ever done.
"It's a fun ride, but also serious because work has to get done," said Kiley Dulaney, who is a part of the successful team.
These group of girls have managed to win a tournament that named them the Region III President Cup Champions. Winning that title qualified them for the National Presidents Cup tournament which takes place from July 12 to July 16. They are just one of five teams from Arkansas to qualify for the national tournament.
They'll head to Auburndale, Florida where they hope to show the rest of the country how far soccer in Arkansas has truly come. During the Region III tournament, they managed to outscore teams 15-1.
While winning nationals would be an amazing feat, the club they play for focuses on player development. Rush Soccer is a nationally recognized club known for its ability and resources to produce big time stars. One such star is Lindsey Horan, who is one of the U.S. Women's Soccer team's brightest stars.
It's that exact training program that Horan succeeded in that is being put into action right here in central Arkansas.
No matter what happens, these girls are already rewriting the level of soccer played in the state.
While the group leaves Monday for Florida, they still need funding. If you want to donate, click here for their GoFundMe page.