YOUTH: CANTON'S MCROBERTS REACHES NATIONAL FINAL WITH NUU
(2022-07-25)BY CHRIS MANNINGNorthern Tier Sports Report
Area athletes prepare for their freshman year in a lot of different ways, Canton’s Alexis McRoberts played in a National final.
McRoberts, the younger sister of Camille McRoberts, will be joining her older sister this year on the Troy Trojans as they defend their NTL title, but first she was part of the Northern Union United Soccer Club, and they took home a few titles of their own.
The NUU 08F Valor won the Eastern Pennsylvania President’s Cup and the USYSA Eastern President’s Cup en route to being runners-up at the USYSA National President’s Cup. The team finished the year ranked 20th in the nation for their age group, 10th in the region, and fourth in Pennsylvania East.
“It’s amazing,” said McRoberts. “I’ve never been on a team that made it to Nationals before, so it’s truly a blessing to be able to do that.”
Alexis used to play up with her older sister’s teams.
“I’ve never really played with girls my age,” she explained. “And my parents just started looking for teams around us, and they found that this team was really good. And I tried out, and made it, and I’ve been on it ever since.”
The team is a Premier Elite, but Alexis wasn’t fazed in the least, especially since she’d always played with the older kids.
“I’ve always practiced with Camille’s team, which made me better,” explained Alexis. “I mean, the girls are obviously way bigger than me when I played them, but I think it really helped me become the player I am today.”
It’s usually a clash of styles for Alexis when she comes down to her own age group.
“It’s completely different because it’s two different games,” said McRoberts. “The older girls pass a lot more, and the younger girls, we just kind of kick the ball more. But, with this team, it’s just like my older team, we pass together, and play together really well.”
The biggest change was the direction they had to travel. Before Alexis played out of the Rochester and Binghamton areas, this team is based out of Lewisburg.
“Those were even further, so this is closer,” said McRoberts. “But a lot of the teams we play are from bigger cities. It’s unbelievable that a team from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania made it to Nationals.”
At the Pennsylvania’s Cup they went 6-0 and out scored their opponents 34-1. At the Eastern Regional they went 5-0, and out scored their opponents 14-0.
At Nationals they went 2-1-1, falling in the title game 3-0 to the FC-1 Academy Elite Blue out of Illinois. They had beaten them 2-0 earlier in the tournament, but it’s always tough to beat a good twice.
Alexis starred on the defensive end, playing defensive midfield, and was part of a crew that allowed just six goals out of 15 high level matches in the three tournaments. They've allowed just 11 goals out of 24 matches this spring and summer.
“When I first joined the team, our offense was our strength,” remarked McRoberts. “And now it’s our defense, our defense is unbelievable. They don’t ever come out, and they are really amazing.”
It’s this type of experience she’ll be bringing to a Trojan team that said good-bye to their starting back three, known as their ‘Three Amigos.’
“I think it will obviously be an advantage because I have more experience,” said McRoberts. “But I think just practicing with them is amazing.”
She’s also excited because she’ll be able to play with her sister.
“We play well together when we used to play,” said Alexis. “We don’t even have to communicate with each other, we can just know what each other is going to do.”
With her on defense, and Camille, a more attacking midfielder, they'll try their best to control the pitch.
“Both of us have grown up playing wherever we need to play, so we can play offense and defense,” said Alexis. “I just feel most comfortable (in defensive midfield), and I like playing defense. Defense is just as important as offense.”
She credits Camille with getting her start in soccer.
“My sister had always played, and then I just started playing with her,” explained Alexis. “It’s really a privilege because she challenged me in ways, and then I challenged her in different ways. We give each other a run for our money. I mean, we don’t really play against each other, because we kind of hurt each other a little bit. We train together and stuff, but we try to take it easy.”
Several years ago Troy entered into a co-op with Canton, and it’s certainly paying off. The NTL Player of the Year last year was Warrior Emmi Ward, and the Trojans will feature several other Canton players this year as they look to defend their crown.
“Nobody really thinks of Canton as a soccer town, because we don’t even have soccer,” said McRoberts. “But to say that a girl from Canton made it to Nationals is amazing.”
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY BRANDY MCROBERTS
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