Las Vegas girls soccer team takes national title

A Las Vegas girls soccer team can add “national champion” to its resume.

Southwest valley-based Las Vegas Premier Sports Academy saw its 03 Girls Red soccer team bring home the United States Youth Soccer national championship trophy at the end of July after a win in Frisco, Texas.

Led by coach Michael Madrid, the team of 13- and 14-year-olds beat Nationals Union 03 of Michigan 2-0 for the title. It’s believed this is the first time a Nevada team has won a U.S. Youth Soccer championship.

Forwards Olivia Garcia and Samantha Nieves scored the goals.

To get to regionals, the girls first had to win the Nevada State Cup in May and the Far West Regionals in Seattle in June.

After the team won the regional championships, Madrid said, the fact that it would keep playing took a while to register.

“Then there was this realization that we could win this whole thing,” he said. After the regionals, parents scrambled to arrange flights, book hotels and raise money for the next leg of the journey, which began just a few weeks later.

“They’ve won so many tournaments, so that becomes, like, second nature,” Madrid said. “But I don’t think it’s sunk in yet what they’ve done. Not until they get older. … I don’t think it’s sunk in for me, either.”

Madrid got into coaching when his oldest daughter, Jenna, was 5 and continued as his younger daughter, Michelle, joined in. They’re now 13 and 14.

“My dad coached me my whole life,” Madrid said. “We were a soccer family. I figured my dad did it, and I wanted to give back.”

That was nine years ago. Both of his girls still play soccer, and Madrid now coaches three teams for the academy: 02 Girls Red, 03 Girls Red and 04 Girls Red. The numbers refer to the birth year of each team’s members.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — practice days — Madrid works from 5 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Then he changes into his red LVPSA shirt, drives to the Kellogg Zaher Sports Complex north of Summerlin Parkway and starts practice. Many days he’s not done until 8:30 or 9 p.m., sometimes later.

Jacqueline Hillegrass, 14, has been playing soccer since she was 3 or 4 and has been with Madrid for seven years, she said.

“I love him as a coach,” Jacqueline said. “He’s why we got to where we are. Some coaches give up on their players, but he never does that. He always pushes us to do the best that we can.”

Jacqueline, a freshman at Bishop Gorman High School, will play soccer on the school’s team and dreams of going professional.

The same goes for forward Olivia Garcia, 13, who also has been coached by Madrid for much of her life. She’s homeschooled and trains with a shooting coach twice a week, on top of working out at Lifetime Fitness to work on strength and speed.

“My dream is to play on the national team and become the greatest striker in history,” Olivia said. “That’s my main dream.”

Madrid is acutely aware that there has been plenty of sacrifice for every team member and every parent.

“At this age, they’re young women who want to hang out with their friends and go to the movies,” he said. “They have to watch what they eat. They train. They can’t stay up late. A lot of times on the weekends their friends are going to swim parties in the summer.” Instead, on most weekends the girls are at games in the city or traveling to tournaments.

During a Wednesday evening practice at Kellogg Zaher, parents Alexandrea Birch, Dave De La Torre and Terra Pashales sat in canvas chairs and watched Madrid work through drills with their daughters.

Pashales and Birch drive from Henderson to bring their daughters to practice every week and say it’s worth it.

“They show that this is what they want to do every day,” Birch said. “They want to sit in the car for an hour each way to come to practice, so I’m willing to make it work.”

Most of the girls have grown up together, and some parents have spent years together sitting on the sidelines.

“If there really was a perfect storm for a team as far as being winners and supporting each other, this would be it,” said Pashales, a mother of five children, all of whom play sports. “(The parents) all like each other. The kids all like each other. It’s not like that on every sideline.”

Contact Madelyn Reese at or 702-383-0497. Follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like