BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The sport of soccer is continuing to grow in North Dakota, but three local athletes are way ahead of the game in terms of taking their talents to the next level and being crowned national champions.

We’ve seen them do it all in the Dakotas, a pair of Minot players winning a state championship, and a Bismarck freshman leading the WDA in scoring while earning all-state honors. Now the trio of Maicee Burke, Emerson Perrin and Addison Massey can call themselves national champs.

“It feels really good and you get to be with everyone, so coming all together is really fun,” Massey said.

Burke and Perrin are both Minot High athletes. Massey is a Bismarck High soccer player. The three recently won the US Club Soccer 16U National Cup Championship with the South Dakota United Dynamo.

“Competition this year it just seemed like we could just beat any team,” Perrin said. “We knew we could go into it and we were calm, and we were calm and collected.”

That calm attitude came from winning the national cup as a 15U team, something Burke and Perrin both were part of last year. The experience paid off for the team outscoring opponents 30 to two in the 2022 national tournament.

“Everyone is good and we all know each other well, and we all connect really well, so getting 11 good girls on a field at one time really is a good thing,” Burke said.

However, this dominance doesn’t come easy. With a team made up of girls from North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming training together is quite the challenge and usually happens only once or twice before hitting the national stage.

“It’s easy for us to adjust because we all have to adjust to each other’s playing abilities,” Perrin said. “Usually our first game is a little wonky, but after that, we’re pretty good.”

“When we come together during a game it’s really good because everyone just connects really well even though we don’t get to train a lot,” Massey said.

These soccer stars made the challenge look easy, and they hope to be back in the same position next year.

“Go back to our own club and our own team and high school,” Burke said when explaining what’s next for the team. “They’ll have their high school season first and then we’ll have ours last, and then we’ll get together again and hopefully do it again.”