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Hometown connection helps TJC Apache Ladies soccer team advance to nationals

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 11:19 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Ranked number one in the country, the Tyler Junior College Apache Ladies soccer team is heading to nationals. COVID canceled last season, but in 2019, they won it all. Four players groomed at Tyler Legacy are teammates and are enjoying the ride.

When the district champs leave for nationals to embark on another championship trail, the Apache Ladies will have hometown girls experiencing the time of their lives.

“We all play club sets probably when we were eight years old, so we’ve known each other for a long time,” said Kailegh Minehart, a TJC soccer player.

She and three others played at Legacy when it was known as Tyler Lee, and the familiarity with each other helps a great deal.

“I just think by growing up with people, you know, played with it for so long it’s just a different kind of chemistry, you know, being able to tell how each other plays on the field,” said Gabrielle Wiebe. “How much are the works of just awesome to be able to know and play with them even in a collegiate level.”

Coach Corey Rose benefits from having hometown players on his squads, past and present.

“Tyler Junior College is a community school, and we love to keep the best talent we can locally,” Rose said. “And I think we’ve done that over the past couple of years. We’ve got five or six local kids this year. We have two or three coming in next year, so we like to keep as much talent as we can locally.”

These home towners get the luxury of playing for a top-notch program, and it is one where winning is the standard.

“So it’s super fun playing at home. I kind of feel blessed cause I’ve met internationals; they don’t have their families here,” said Meghan Romines. “But I get my family here. So that’s fine. Especially like them back; they are my former teammates. They get to be here in like and also have new people so that’s fine I’m going to nationals. It’s definitely completely different from high school.”

“I think that I’ve grown around such a great environment, so it’s very, I mean, the culture in East Texas is crazy,” said Jacqueline Wiebe. “So it’s like growing up with all that and soccer and having each other who went to Lee. It’s your support. It’s very similar. So, they all love soccer in East Texas, so they all supported us at Lee, and they all support us here, too.”

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