• By Coach Jake Dunn, Special to the Sun

Bluegrass SC era comes to a close as under-18 boys’ season ends in Kansas

Playing in the regional tournament meant that this team won the Kentucky President’s Cup, and would be competing against the victors from other Midwestern Region states for a chance to play in the National Finals. We were put in a group with the winners from Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Nebraska. All three of our games were played at 7 a.m. CST and those were on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. With kick off being so early, we took the field at sunrise with our warm-ups taking place while the air was crisp and in the temperature was in the mid-50’s. This experience gave the players a chance to compete against other quality players in the region and was a good chance to be identified by college coaches and scouts. This put our team up against other teams we wouldn’t typically see or know much about. Our team especially had some players who couldn’t make it for one reason or another. We had brought up some younger players from the U-17 boys’ team, and although the level of play didn’t drop, these were the first games these players had played together and at times it showed. At events like this, playing the games are only a small portion of the experience. It started out for most of our players with a nine hour (or longer) car ride from Kentucky to Overland Park, Kansas. We then played one game a day at 7 a.m. and had the rest of the day to do whatever. These moments surrounded by their friends are ones players never forget- whether it’s at the pool, playing FIFA video game tournaments in someone’s room, shopping, or going to see a movie. We typically ate dinner in a larger group consisting of most of the team. Then we would wake up the next morning and do it all again. Overall, this experience is one of a kind and you take away more than wins and losses. You take away the feeling of competing at a high level. You take away the feeling of representing your state. You feel that heartbreak when results don’t go your way, and most importantly, you have lots of memories (good and bad) that you can look back on. This team was the last team to put on the “Bluegrass” jersey before becoming Kings Hammer Bluegrass and did so with great pride!

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