Allisyn Gardner and Carroll posted a 2-1 record at
National Elite Prep Showcase held earlier this month.
The National Elite Prep Showcase is an annual stop each
January for girls high school soccer teams that subscribe to the theory you
have to play the best to be the best.
The event, in its 12th year, brought top programs from
around the state and the country to venues across Fort Worth for three days of
high-caliber competition Jan. 8-10 as UIL regular-season play started.
“The purpose behind it was to let coaches — especially club
and college coaches — know that high school soccer around this country is
entertaining to watch, that it’s worth watching and recruiting at,” Fort Worth
Nolan Catholic coach Jay Fitzgerald said. “We just wanted to put a true college
showcase out there.”
Co-hosts Nolan and Southlake Carroll were among 36 teams
that braved cold weather to test themselves against some of the state and
“You get to see where your team is at,” Fitzgerald said.
“You get to find out what is your identity. Who are we? What type of players do
we have? Are they relishing this challenge? You’re playing teams that are Top
25 in the country or have won state championships. You get to identify who
those players are that you can go to battle with.”
Nolan went 2-1 in its three matches, losing 4-1 to San Diego
Cathedral Catholic, which is ranked No. 1 in the country by the National Soccer
Coaches Association of America.
“Some teams get hit in the mouth, and they get right back
up. Some teams, if they get hit in the mouth and they don’t get back up, at
least you learned something about your team,” Fitzgerald said. “Being able to
battle with the No. 1 team and it’s 2-1 with six minutes remaining and we have
a chance to win it, we know now what we have to do to win it. We know what
adjustments we have to make. These are games where you can really figure
Nolan also impressed with a rally against Belton. Trailing
3-0 at halftime, the Vikings scored four goals in the first 17 minutes of the
second half to win 4-3.
“We figured out in that moment, that if we go down in a
championship, or in a playoff game, we know that we’ve done it. We’ve come back
from being 3-0 down. I look at that as being more valuable than anything,”
Carroll also posted a 2-1 record, defeating Fort Worth
Arlington Heights and El Camino (Calif.) sandwiched around a loss to Austin
“You learn a lot, especially when you’re on the losing
side,” Carroll coach Matt Colvin said. “We gave up a goal early in a match and
the way we responded wasn’t as positive as I’d hoped. The adjustments I made didn’t
seem to work. The team learned a lot, and I learned a lot about the team at
Carroll has high expectations this season, and playing in
the showcase provided them an early measuring stick.
“That’s something that we don’t mind figuring out early in
the year, so that when we get in that situation again we’re able to handle it
different. With that type of talent coming in, you’re going to get those
situations and some high-pressure games. Although we’re never looking to lose,
it’s something we definitely learn from.”
Another local team that had a successful showcase was
Keller. The Indians, who were among the Star-Telegram teams to watch this
season, won all three matches, defeating McKinney Boyd, Grapevine and Arlington
Another local team with high hopes this year, Trophy Club
Nelson, defeated Katy Seven Lakes and Klein and lost to Coppell.