WEST VALLEY CITY — It's any kid's dream to go to Disney World.

But six local soccer players had another agenda while in Orlando.

The Ruff Riders, a team consisting of 8- to 9-year-olds, was invited to compete in the Kick-It 3vs3 Soccer Shootout World Championships in Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World this last weekend. The players are Trevor Cobb (West Valley), Jarred Jackson (West Valley), Kaleo Angilau (West Jordan), Christopher Trussel (West Jordan), Nathan Gallegos (Kearns) and Colton Thomson (Taylorsville). They are coached by Chris Rilk and Jeremiah Bailey.

The invitation came after they claimed first place in the Rocky Mountain Regional in Colorado last August.

Much like basketball's "Hoop-It-Up" competition, Kick-it 3vs3 is a national tournament for soccer players that begins with several local tournaments. Teams consist of up to six players, with a maximum of three on the field at any given time. There are no goalies and players can only score on their opponent's side of the field. Games are won by scoring 12 points first or having the highest score at the end of two 12-minute halves. The top five teams in each age division qualify for regional tournaments that are held in eight different regions. The national tournament consisted of 44 teams from those eight regions.

Just like a typical Disney sports movie, the Ruff Riders' journey was filled with twists and turns. The team was created last June as a split-off from a recreational team. It cruised through the local tournaments, losing only one game to the Highland Strikers. The Ruff Riders avenged that loss by winning, 7-1, in the championship game of Salt Lake's Kick-it 3vs3 Soccer Shootout.

In the Rocky Mountain Regional in Vail, Colo., the Ruff Riders won their first game, 6-5. They then lost the next three games, putting them in a tough situation to qualify for bracket play. The Ruff Riders had to defeat the Core Marines and hope another team lost its final game. The games played out in the Ruff Riders' favor as they knocked off the Core Marines, 6-1, despite Cobb playing sick, and qualified as the fourth seed in a four-team bracket.

Later that night, Cobb and his parents made a visit to the regional hospital in Vail where they found out he was suffering from an ear infection. Feeling better the next day, he decided to continue to play in the tournament and helped the Ruff Riders stun the top-seeded Colorado Kickers and knock off the FC Bayern team from Colorado, 6-1, in the regional championship game.

In Orlando, the Ruff Riders were swept in all four games after drawing a tough bracket consisting of four other regional champions.


E-mail: jlawrence@desnews.com