Maddie Brock likens the twice-a-day training for the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy 94 Premier girls team to “boot camp.”
For enduring it, Brock and two other rising seniors from Roberson will soon get the reward.
Brock, Mercedes Ducker and Emily McCord are starters for the Greenville, S.C.-based CESA squad that won the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Championship on June 21.
As a result, they now get to play in the USYS national tournament held July 25-29 in Rock Hill, S.C.
“We had to go through a lot to get here, but it’s all been worth it,” Brock said.
“I’m really looking forward to nationals. I know it’s going to be tough competition, but it should be a good experience.”
All three Rams players already know where they will play beyond high school.
Brock is a midfielder who has committed to Wake Forest, Ducker will continue her career as a forward at Western Carolina and McCord is expected to play at the next level as a defender for Presbyterian.
Ducker had a goal in the Region III championship game — a 2-1 victory over the Bradenton (Fla.) Flames. McCord provided the game-winning assist.
“For me, this is a huge deal,” McCord said.
“It’s kind of amazing to go down there and accomplish something like this. It’s a little overwhelming.”
Parents for the girls take turns car-pooling them down to Upstate South Carolina for games and workouts.
“It’s great that the chemistry we have together in high school goes right on to CESA,” Ducker said.
“Winning the regional tournament was a really big achievement for our team. Now we’re ready to go and try to win nationals.”
Brock, Ducker and McCord were All-Mountain Athletic Conference and All-WNC selections for longtime coach Rob Wilcher this past season.
McCord was tabbed the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.
With their return in 2013, the Rams should once again be in the mix to win a MAC 4-A championship.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the girls and something that will definitely help them in their careers,” Wilcher said.
“I’m sure it’s something they will be able to look back on with fond memories. We’re losing several really good players (to graduation), but with these girls as the backbone of our team, we’re looking forward to next year and having some more success on the field.”