By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
Just a few days removed from helping their travel team win the U.S. Youth Soccer Presidents Cup national tournament, Amsterdam's Cassandra Robataille and Monica Rouse still smiled each time the words "national champions" were mentioned Wednesday.
"It's still in the cool phase," Robataille said.
"It was definitely a surprise to win it," added Rouse. "We wanted it so much, though."
Robataille and Rouse made their way back to Amsterdam from Florida Sunday, just hours after winning the national tournament with their teammates on the Capital United Blue Fusion Under-17 squad. The duo was on hand at Wednesday's Amsterdam Mohawks game at Shuttleworth Park, where Robataille and Rouse -- who both play for the Lady Rams -- were brought onto the baseball diamond and applauded for their tournament victory.
"Everyone has been saying 'congratulations,' and it's been very nice because it was their support that helped us get there," said Rouse, who had visited the park with her soccer teammates in early July to receive donations to help with tournament expenses.
"People saying 'congratulations,' it makes me feel good and reminds you of all the hard work you did to get yourself there," Robataille said.
The girls' team went 2-1-1 at Lake Myrtle Sports Park in Auburndale, Fla., capturing the championship with a 3-0 victory against a team from Washington. Rouse registered a bunch of assists during the course of the tournament, while Robataille was named the weekend's top goalie.
"It was a lot better experience than watching from the bench," said Robataille, who is in her first season as the squad's full-time goalie.
For Rouse, the trip was her third with the team to the national tournament. After placing in fourth place in 2011 and third in 2012, she said this was the year for the club to break through and win the title.
"Each year was a better step toward winning the whole thing," she said. "This year, it turned out for us."
The duo is just a few weeks away from starting practice for the Lady Rams, where Robataille and Rouse will be expected to help lead the squad in the Big 10.
By then, the glow from their big weekend might even have dissipated enough for the girls to fully appreciate it.
"It's definitely still a shock right now," said Rouse. "It's still settling in that we won it."