The South Sioux City Strikers will begin regional play in Ohio on Saturday.
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) -
Metro boys soccer teams had a great spring, with West, Bishop Heelan and South Sioux all going to state. Many of those players have teamed up to play for the South Sioux City Strikers, a 15-and-under squad that will be competing in a big regional tournament in Ohio.
The Strikers haven't lost a match in the past year after winning the Nebraska State Cup to qualify for the 13-state regional at 22-0-1. They've been playing together for years and made regionals two seasons ago.
The players compete against each other on their high school teams but play as one as they try to qualify for nationals.
"We're not like those teams from Omaha or big cities where people come and they have tryouts and the best stay," said Kenan Najdawi. "We're a team that's been together since U-11 and U-12. It's not just one person that does everything. The whole team's been working together to get better."
"We're not a team that needs to get a lot of goals," said Nathan Gobell. "We can just put one in and our defense will hold them and we'll get it."
The Strikers will compete in a four-team group against teams from Ohio, Rapid City, South Dakota and West Des Moines. In their last 22 wins, 12 have been by shutout.
They feel they have a good chance to advance past this regional and into the national tournament.
"We've played teams from Costa Rica, Canada, then lots of Minnesota teams, and those teams are all high-level, premier type teams and we've always come in either first or second in those tournament," said coach Scott Barber.
"They put in their time to be this good," said coach Joe Delperdang. "But the fun thing is, they get together after practice and have a lot of fun together, even out with each other."
The Strikers leave for Ohio on Thursday and play the first of three pool play matches Saturday against Ohio.
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