A quartet of tired, proud, disappointed, excited, multi-talented young soccer players are back in Eastern Jackson County following a summer most teenagers can only dream about.

Blue Springs South’s Alaina Werremeyer and Brie Severns, Grain Valley’s Raena Childers and Lee’s Summit North’s Emma Willard are all part of the FCKC Academy Blues Elite 17U soccer team that just returned from Frisco, Texas, where they finished second in the nation at the 2018 US Youth Soccer 17U Girls National Championship.

They made it all the way to the national championship game last weekend, where they lost a heartbreaking 1-0 contest to the Rebels 2001 Elite from California on Sunday.

After coming in late in the game as an injury substitute, the Rebels' Ashley Herndon found the back of the net in the 96th minute off an assist from Emma Gaines-Ramos.

“It was an amazing event and an amazing summer,” said Werremeyer, the team’s goalkeeper, a first-team all-state selection this spring who will be a junior at Blue Springs South this fall. “It was so hard to lose that game, especially when they scored so late, but we can be proud of all we accomplished.

“My teammates are all amazing. We have girls from the Kansas City metro area – including Kansas and Missouri – and we became friends and great, great teammates. To make it all the way to the championship, even though we lost, was just a great accomplishment.

“We just got back in town, and we’re all pretty tired, but we’re proud – very proud.”

Severns, her teammate on the elite FCKC team and the Jaguars, agreed with Werremeyer.

“It was a crazy, hectic, wonderful summer and I am so proud to have played with Alaina and all my FCKC teammates,” said Severns, a midfielder/forward who earned all-state honors with the Jaguars this spring. “What is really cool is that we had four girls from here in Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and Grain Valley and a lot of girls we play against in club ball or high school ball.

“That’s what I love most about soccer – all the friends you make, on your team or on other teams. In high school, they may be wearing different uniforms, but they are still your friends and we got to share something that most players don’t,” said Severns, who had one goal at nationals.

“We played for a national championship. It was heartbreaking to lose, it really was, but now we can look back on all our success and take a lot of pride in what we accomplished this summer.”

FCKC was a double qualifier for nationals, winning a fall/winter league title and then winning a Midwest Regional championship in Indianapolis with a 5-0 record and a 5-0 win over Pacesetter Villa Red of Toledo, Ohio, in the championship.

“We worked so hard – practicing five days a week – and all that hard work paid off,” said Willard, a center-back who will be a senior at Lee’s Summit North and earned all-region honors this spring. “It was a crazy summer, but one of the best summers of my life.

“It makes all the hard work worth it when you get to nationals and play for a national championship. We became good friends and teammates because of all the practices we had. It was all pretty amazing. The only downside to all of it was losing the championship game. But we played hard and gave it everything we had.”

The Blues, who were coached by former Kansas City Comets coach Goran Karadzov, went 2-0-1 in pool play, including a 3-2 win over the Rebels team that beat them in the final.

Childers, an all-state selection as a freshman at Grain Valley this spring, had one word to describe the summer: “Fun.”

“It wasn’t fun losing the championship game, but it was so much fun playing with all the great players from Kansas City and becoming a team,” said Childers, who had one goal at nationals. “Soccer is such an important part of my family’s life (her father Brad is a coach at Metropolitan Community College and her siblings have been soccer stars at Grain Valley High School and on the competitive club circuit).

“I am used to playing a lot of soccer and this summer was just amazing – fun and successful and so exciting. I loved every girl on my team and will always think of them as my teammates – even when we’re on different high school or club teams. I will always love them.”