To be able to participate and test your skills in a national tournament is a thrill of a lifetime. It's a thrill that the girls on the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow American Youth Soccer Organization under-14 squad will have a chance to do this summer.
The team will be competing in the AYSO Nationals July 4-11 at the West Palm Beach International Polo Club in Wellington, Fla. The nickname of the team has not been determined yet.
"We're going to let the girls come up with a couple of names and choose one," Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow coach Hossein Fassa said. "I like the fact that they are going to come up with the name because it helps get them more involved in the process."
The team has been involved in preparing for the national tournament since the fall when it started to compete in what Fassa referred to as "an extra league." It's a league where the competition is greater than a normal AYSO league.
The national games take place once every two years. Fassa said that teams apply to the organization for the tournament and are put into a lottery. Once they found out in the fall that they were selected to compete in the tournament, the team has been working hard in preparation for the nationals. The chance to compete in a tournament like this means a great deal to the players.
"The players love the idea of competing in the nationals," Fassa said. "This isn't the first time Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow has sent teams to the nationals. Two years ago we sent three teams to Hawaii for the national games. The players then had a great time and this group is excited about going this time. It encourages the girls to work extra hard to get ready for the nationals."
To take a trip like this with this age group, it has to be one that is mature and trustworthy. Fassa said that his group of girls fits that description.
"I have known these girls since they were little, so I know they can handle it," Fassa said.
Fassa, who has been involved in AYSO the last 11 years, likes that fact that everyone knows and trusts each other in AYSO, thus making a trip like this possible.
"One thing I love about that is that you coach your own kids," Fassa said. "People in the community know your kids, you know their kids. The kids see you in the street, they know who you are. One of the things I love about AYSO is that it really brings the community together. I also like the volunteer aspect of this. Everyone in AYSO is a volunteer and I feel that's important."
What's also important is raising money for the trip and there will be a fundraiser for it at Grape Expectations, located on 92 North Broadway in Tarrytown, 8 p.m., May 14.