More than 230 youth boys and girls soccer teams, including 11 from Boise, will compete in the Far West Regionals in Phoenix this week.
Of the thousands of players, Hannah Frakes story is different.
Shes a midfielder for Boises U-17 FC Super Nova team, a senior-to-be at Mountain View High who has already committed to play soccer at Boise State.
But that barely scratches the surface of her real life story.
Frakes, 17, and her four sisters Miranda, 20; Chelsy, 18; Megan, 16; and Lacy, 13 have essentially raised themselves after leaving a mixed-up parental world of drugs and neglect. Frakes father, currently in prison, has battled drugs for years, and the whereabouts of her mother are unknown.
They ended up leaving us at home at all hours of the night, coming in at 3 oclock in the morning with different people in and out of the house, Frakes said. Needles were found numerous times, we were on all sorts of financial aid. We just couldnt depend on our parents for anything.
Three years ago, with both parents behind bars and as Hannah, Miranda and Chelsy considered their two younger sisters, they gradually made the decision to detach themselves from their parents and find a new place to live.
We just started hanging out with our friends more, spending the night at their house more, Frakes said. Nobody really knew anything about what was happening to us about the abuse because it was embarrassing for us.
Even with different families taking them in, its still been tough for the five Frakes sisters. They are now scattered throughout the Treasure Valley with the two youngest in foster care, but building relationships has been a struggle.
Each of us has probably moved to three different families in the last two years. Thats really hard because you lose best friends, Frakes said. We hold a bond that not a lot of sisters can hold because weve had to support ourselves. All the struggles weve been through, weve made it with each other and depending on one another.
Frakes relishes the chance to play soccer and enjoys the camaraderie with her other family her teammates.
Ive always trusted in soccer to be my therapy. I can forget about school, forget about home and I can just come out here and give my heart out, said Frakes, who verbally committed to Boise State in March.
FC Super Nova coach Eric Simmonsen said Frakes is very much a lead-by-example type of kid.
He has coached Frakes for the past two years and has watched her persistence spread to teammates.
She used to ride her bike from down by the mall to here (on Lake Hazel Road) because thats where they were living and no one would bring her to practice, Simmonsen said.
Now Simmonsen, Frakes and her teammates are focused on Far West, the major regional soccer tournament that takes place every summer.
FC Super Nova qualified by winning the State Cup in Boise over Memorial Day weekend. Winners of the regional tournament advance to the national championships in Rock Hill, S.C., in July, though no Idaho team has ever reached that far.
Last year, Frakes and her teammates won the Presidents Cup national title in Des Moines, Iowa, and the National Cup X in Meridian. FC Nova will play Tucson Soccer Academy at 8 p.m. Monday, with games scheduled throughout the week.
Frakes thinks her teams experience and chemistry will benefit them in Phoenix.
We have to have each other to make it through certain games, and no matter what were going to have to be a team if we want to be champions, she said.
I feel like as a team weve grown into more of a family, we can call each other sisters and were really happy to have each other around. Im really proud to be a leader on this team.
TREASURE VALLEY TEAMS IN FAR WEST REGIONALS
U-13 Idaho Rush Nike The team won in penalty kicks in the State Cup final to punch its ticket to Phoenix. It reached the quarterfinals in last years Far West Regionals.
U-14 Boise Nationals Liverpool Talented and always pressing the defense, the Boise Nationals hope to make their first trip to Far West Regionals one to remember. In my opinion, (this team) has the most attractive style of play of any team currently competing in Idaho, any age group, Boise Nationals technical director Coe Michaelson said.
U-16 Boise Nationals Celtic Making their fourth trip to regionals, the Boise Nationals U-16s are capable and determined to make it through pool play.
U-17 Boise Nationals Premier Two years ago, this group advanced to the regional finals, and could do more damage this week. We have confidence that we can beat anyone that we face on any given day, Michaelson said.
U-18 Idaho Rush Nike Idaho Rush hung on for a 3-2 win over Idaho Thunder (Post Falls) in the State Cup finals and are making their second consecutive regionals appearance.
U-19 Boise Nationals Premier The scrappy U-19s are making their fourth appearance at regionals. What makes this group special is that they have exceptional competitive character and just find a way to get results, Michaelson said.
U-13 FC Super Nova The team blew away the competition in State Cup pool play, then won close semifinal and final matches to earn a trip to Phoenix.
U-16 FC Super Nova No one scored against the team at State Cup, so defense is a strength entering regionals.
U-16 Boise Nationals Boise Nationals enter regionals as a wild card after losing on penalty kicks to FC Super Nova at State Cup.
U-17 FC Super Nova The squad outscored opponents 18-1 at State Cup.
U-18 FC Super Nova In last years regionals, this group blew through pool play with a 3-0 record before losing in the quarterfinals.