Players of the VSA Heat U 17, National Champions, earn scholarships, score longterm friendships, from soccer

10:20 PM, Sep 3, 2012   |    comments
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HAYMARKET, Va. (WUSA) - What does it take to be the best?

After an undefeated season, the VSA Heat U 17 girls soccer team,  won the National Championship.  In the tournament last month, the girls played four games, scored a total of 14 points and never gave up a goal.

Their coach Steve Smith said, "We are up 4-0 at the half. We just needed to keep them focused. "

The final game's score was 6-0. Goalie Taylor Kerxton had a lot to do with that, but gives credit to her defenders.

Taylor said, "I would say, best defense in the nation, without giving up a goal."

Her dad Jeff Kerxton said,  "After the first game, they beat a team that was ranked top, then they had all the confidence in the world."

The VSA Heat travel team was formed 10 years ago.  In 2007, 9 News covered the U-12 team when it was third in the nation. Five of those girls are still with the team, still giving it all they've got.

Now the players come from four counties, Prince William, Fairfax, Fauquier and Stafford, and as far away as Richmond.  Meghan Cox is from Springfield.

 She said,"It's a good half hour drive, two-three times a week out here."

To play at this level, the sacrifices are shared by their families.

Vanessa Kovar said,  "I don't remember the last time we took a family vacation."

Soccer mom Julie Wagner agreed that "It's a financial and a time commitment. But if your daughter loves it, you can't not do it."

For the best players, that cost may pay off in scholarships, which is ringing true with the VSA Heat.

There are 17 high school seniors, one junior, and they've all been offered college scholarships to play soccer at Division One schools. Some have even been given full rides.

Savannah Miller will play for Auburn next year, and Taylor Kerxton will play for Wake Forrest.

She said, "I'm excited about playing against VT [Virginia Tech]... it's a dream come true to play in the ACC pretty much."

While soccer has caused them to miss out on some of the social aspects of high school, they say it's taught them to be disciplined.

While the girls now look toward their futures, playing soccer in college, and maybe beyond, they say they'll cherish the years spent working hard playing the sport they love, with their best friends.

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