The Three Rivers Soccer Club has raised the bar once again.
The Pasco-based organization, which sent two teams to the U.S. Youth Soccer Washington State Champion-ships in February and one to the USYS Far West Regionals last month, will be well represented at the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup X in Boise, Idaho.
The tournament, which begins today and runs through Monday at Hubbard Fields, draws elite club teams from around the nation that have qualified via one of 12 regional tournaments across the country.
Three boys teams from Three Rivers -- U17 Pardini, U13 Robles and U11 Pardini -- topped their respective classes at the Seattle regional in late June.
The under-17 squad, coached by Mike Pardini, had their competitive fire stoked after losing in the State Cup championship in February. That loss stung, especially after leading 2-0 at halftime.
Now, Pardini's squad has a chance to take care of unfinished business.
"That was an opportunity for a state championship. It's been a good motivation for us to come back," said Pardini, who kicked up the practice schedule before the tournament from two to three times a week. "Our defense is pretty sound now as a group, and we've got some dangerous guys on the attack."
Derek Zimmerman, an All-CBBN 3A defender for Pasco, missed the State Cup final with an injury and is still recovering from a broken foot incurred in early June. But he'll be healthy enough to join the team starting today.
"We need a chance to redeem ourselves," said Zimmerman, who enjoyed playing against some of his Three Rivers teammates during the boys spring high school season. "Everything is so heated during the high school season, but we were able to get back together and focus."
Cesar Robles, a former Pasco High and Columbia Basin College standout, coached the U-13 team to the USCS regional championship and looks forward to seeing what his team can do against elite competition.
"I am very excited. This is a big step. I know it will be difficult, but I know we'll be up to the challenge," Robles said. "We've got speed, we have strength and we have control. That's a deadly combination if you ask me."
The National Cup is limited to teams from the U13-U17 age groups, which meant Pardini's U-11 team couldn't make the trip. However, Pardini said the younger teams are the key to developing the Three Rivers club into a regional -- and hopefully a national -- presence.
"We're giving more attention to the younger age groups for now. A lot of people volunteering has really paid off," Pardini said. "The main thing was we got organized. We've got great people on the administration side like Chris Mertens, and (coaching director) Chad (Bodnar) had the vision of where we wanted to go."