(Missoula Current) A soccer team comprised of 18 boys will make history as the first Missoula soccer team to attend an elite national soccer tournament in Kansas, supporters of the program said Thursday.

In June, the Missoula Strikers FC 2007 Boys team won the Regional Far West President’s Cup Tournament in Salt Lake City. The win qualified the team to participate in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup Tournament.

As such, they'll be the first team from Missoula to attend the National Tournament.

“We’ve been grinding for years to become better players and a better team,” said Landon Zapata, forward for the team. “It feels like all that hard work is paying off and we are really excited to show people what Montana can do at Nationals.”

The team has won the Montana State Championship five times in a row and has attended the regional tournament each year. While they have seen increasing success regionally, they had never made it to Nationals.

But with a 3-1 win over Phoenix United 2007 Elite in the finals of the Regional Far West Tournament, they gained their seat at Nationals.

To attend the U.S. Presidents Cup National Tournament, the team must raise $18,000. They are in the midst of a significant fundraising effort with limited time to secure funding, with a deadline of July 3, 2024.

Backers said Thursday that several local sponsors have already stepped forward to support the team. To help fund the team, please contact Strikers FC at (406) 396-9633 or visit this link.