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Glenn Pursley, Published July 09 2013

Tri-City Storm soccer team makes history

FARGO – When the under-17 girls Tri-City Storm soccer team earned a 1-0 win over Panathinaikos Academy (Missouri) in the regional section of the U.S. Youth Soccer Presidents Cup back in June, they didn’t just win another championship match.

They set a new milestone.

The U-17 girls team is the first from North Dakota to represent the Midwest Region at the tournament, and the first team in club history to make it to nationals.

“I was surprised, only in that we didn’t know what to expect,” said Ben Schneweis, who coaches the U-17 team. “We’ve never been down there as a group and didn’t really know what the competition was going to be like. But as we went into it and started winning games, we started thinking we really could do something here.”

The TC Storm consists of high school athletes from the Fargo-Moorhead area and a good chunk of them have been together since the U-9 age group and during the school year.

With only four official practices between the end of the high school season and the start of regionals, the advantages of having played together for so long were apparent.

In the regional championship at Overland Park in Kansas, Jennifer Marsh, of Fargo Davies High School, scored the deciding goal in the first 15 minutes of the match, and the team was able to hold on thanks to solid goaltending by Jenna Zaeske.

“As the game wore on, we were under more and more pressure,” Schneweis said. “Not only did the field players handle it well, but Jenna in goal was phenomenal. They played with a lot of poise.”

Marsh was the tournament’s top scorer with five goals and helped the TC Storm to a 4-0 record and a tournament-high 17 goals. They beat Lexington Football Club (Ky.) 7-2, Premier Orange (Ill.) 6-2 and Central FC Select Strikers (Wis.) 3-1.

“To look at it from start to finish, these kids deserve a lot of credit,” Schneweis said. “I’m really pleased and really proud of the effort that the kids put in to come together from all the different schools and achieve something that no North Dakota team has ever achieved.”

The Presidents Cup features the best teams from the South, East, West and Midwest Regions and its main purpose is to provide a new level of competition for teams around the nation.

The Storm starts their journey to Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale, Fla., today and they play their first match against Fusion (New York-E) on Thursday at 9 a.m.

“I’m really proud of it,” said TSC Soccer Club director Noel Nyborg. “It makes me feel like we have a lot of good coaches that have done a really good job. We’ve had teams from North Dakota at regionals before, but none has ever advanced.”


Forum reporter Glenn Pursley can be reached at (701) 241-5549