BINGHAMTON (WBNG) - There's another team in Binghamton gearing up to compete for a National Title. The U16 Greater Binghamton FC Club heads to Frisco, Texas this weekend to compete in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.
"I haven't been around a group of 15, 16 year-old girls that are as eager to learn as they are," said head coach Taylor Schram
The U16 select team is a youth girl's soccer team who were all born in 2001 and live within an hour of Binghamton. Six of the girls helped Chenango Forks capture a state championship this past year.
"We are real competitive because of this," said Chenango Forks sophomore Emma Bough. "So, it makes us really competitive during high school soccer."
Most of the girls have been playing club soccer since they were nine years old and last November a mandated rule change by U.S. soccer brought this team together.
"Instead of going by age specifically, they go by birth year now," said Schram. "So, they were two separate teams before that have now merged together as one."
Needing to blend two styles of play, GB FC Select brought in Assistant BU Women's Coach Taylor Schram to lead the way.
"I use to make rules early on in the season that they had to be with a different partner for every warm-up of a game," said Schram. "Someone that they are not typically with. So, the McKnights could never be together because they are always together."
As the girl's first female coach and a former Penn State Nittany Lion, Schram has quickly become a mentor to the girls.
"She's a great role model for us because we can look up to her and know she was an amazing player," said Vestal junior Victoria McKnight. "So, we can look up to her and know we can be amazing too."
"That's kind of why I do what I do," said Schram. "I love the game. I feel a huge responsibility to give back to the game because I wouldn't be me without soccer."
These teenagers are well aware they could be spending their summer by a pool or on vacation, but none of them seem to want to.
"Soccer has always been my favorite thing to do, no matter what," said Victoria McKnight.
"I think playing competitive is fun," said Bough. "I just like the rush."
"I'm always having fun doing it, so I don't mind it at all," said Vestal junior Olivia McKnight.
First game is Tuesday morning against Legends FC O1 Academy, a team out of Southern California.
"Really within the past couple of months, things have started to click," said Schram. "So, I think that we are just going to go focus on game one and I think we can do it. I think we can win the whole thing."
"It's just a one in a lifetime opportunity to play for a national championship," said Victoria McKnight.
At the regional championships in Virginia, GB 01 Select won all five games they played, out-scoring their opponents 14-to-one.