• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Alison McNeal, right, kicks into the goal during practice at the East Boulder Rec Center on Thursday. The FC Boulder 01 Girls Elite soccer team will compete in the Far West Regionals in Hawaii next week. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Kate Bethune, of Monarch High, during practice at the East Boulder Rec Center on Thursday.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Reilly Madden, of Boulder High, during practice at the East Boulder Rec Center on Thursday.



FC Boulder 01 Girls Elite roster

Dakota Anderson, MID, Monarch

Kate Bethune, DEF, Monarch

Emily Cameron, MID, Monarch

Alicia Cardenas, FWD, Erie

Nailah Harpring, FWD, Monarch

Alison McNeal, FWD, Erie

Reilly Madden, DEF, Boulder

Adriane Mason, FWD, Fairview

Sara Reardon, MID, Boulder

Tori Rydzeski, MID, Brighton

Blythe Sales, Fairview

Morgan Stone, DEF, Boulder

Ellie Stuckrath, MID, Mountain Range

Kiley Sweet, MID, Monarch

Marissa Weygandt, GK, Boulder

The FC Boulder 01 Girls Elite soccer team has had its share of ups and downs over a recent stretch, but they are riding high after becoming just the second Colorado team to win the United States Youth Soccer Desert Premier League back in March.

The rewards for the winning that regional competition were twofold, and the first of those unique opportunities comes next week as they travel to Hawaii to compete in the Far West Regionals with the chance to advance to the national championships in July.

Also, the team earned a chance to play in the prestigious USYS National League for the 2018-19 club season, guaranteeing further competition against some of the best teams in the nation.

Both the Far West Regionals and the USYS national schedule are seen as excellent opportunities for the team, which is comprised mostly of student-athletes from Boulder County and Broomfield County.

“We faced a lot of adversity this year early on, and I think it’s just a really strong message that we not only overcame that but were able to achieve something no one in our club has done before,” said Monarch High School rising junior Kate Bethune, one of five MoHi girls on the squad. “I am really proud of all of us. We’ve been through a few coaches and our club had kind of a rough hit, too. But it’s good that we can make this strong message.”

FC Boulder has long been on the map of Colorado soccer, but this is the first Boulder team to have won the DPL — going 5-1-1 over the course of two long weekends against teams from Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Associations from the states represented must apply teams into the league and be approved by the USYS.

The team, coached by Fields Brown, departs on Saturday and will begin group play on Monday at the Waipio Soccer Park in Honolulu. Sixteen teams are divided into four groups, with the top two in each group advancing to the quarterfinals on Friday.

“First of all, it’s just really exciting. But we get challenged right away in our first game against one of the best teams in the nation, so we’re expected a real hard match,” said Boulder rising sophomore Sara Reardon. “It’s really great to come together. We don’t really see each other by the high schools we go to. I think we all identify as playing for FC Boulder and it’s a really cool thing.”

While some of the girls have already made verbal commitments to colleges, both the Far West Regional tournament and the National League schedule through 2018-19 will draw the attention of college coaches as a recruiting platform. Just 32 teams from all over the country get to play annually in the National League.

“It’s a really good opportunity to play at the highest level and get to see different styles of play,” said MoHi rising senior Dakota Anderson, who is already pledged to Illinois State. “In the DPL, teams played different ways and it’s a cool challenge to see how we could hold up. It’s good to prepare for college play, too. We have six to eight players already committed and it’s just good to have that preparation.”

“It’s just really cool that we get to play National League,” added classmate Emily Cameron.

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24