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Neenah U17 boys soccer club books ticket to Kansas for nationals

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Jul 03, 2024

NEENAH — The Neenah boys U17 Soccer Club made program history last weekend when they won the Midwest Regionals of the youth soccer Presidents Cup. Now, they’re heading out to Nationals in Wichita, Kansas.

“I think it's really just a testament to all our effort throughout the year, all of the long runs and long practices, it’s all led up to this moment,” said Neenah senior Grant Romjue.

The club is playing their best soccer at the right time. They've won 14 straight games behind a strong defense, but after a slow start, their offense has come to life.

“We all rely on each other,” Romjue said. “I think that’s a great thing about this team, it’s not one specific player or one specific moment that has defined our season. We all come together. We support each other.”

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Most of the team has been playing together since they were young. A lot of them are a part of the Neenah Rockets high school team that won the FVA in the spring.

“Since 9 years old we’ve been friends,” said Neenah junior Trey White. “We've been together at each other’s hips all day every day. If it’s not soccer, if it’s like, some of us have been basketball teammates even too. So all sports and just knowing all the guys is a great experience.”

The players heap a lot of credit on their coaches.

John Pendergast, their head coach, served in the Marine Corps and instills discipline in the young group.

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“He’s a hard guy, but he gets us to do what we need to do and I think this year, we’ve really stepped up our intensity in practices and different tactics that we’ve worked on,” Romjue said.

Together they’ve made club history by booking their trip to nationals, as they dominated their competition at the Midwest President’s Cup in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“One of the best experiences in soccer I've ever experienced,” said White. “It’s just been crazy playing all these good teams and knocking them out of the water some games.”

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This team isn’t just happy to be one of eight teams in the nation left standing, they said they want to win it all.

“It's definitely a new level for us and we’re going to be playing teams we’ve never seen before," Romjue said. "I'm ready and I hope they’re ready for us.”

If you would like to check out the Neenah U17 team at nationals, download the VEO app where you can watch their games.