STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
SWEDEN — When Marble Falls High School graduate Macy Hoover walked the stage in 2016, she decided her desire of attending Texas A&M University was greater than her dream to play college soccer.
But a chance phone call in December 2016 put those college plans on hold.
The former Lady Mustang soccer player is representing the United States on the Stars ’N Stripes traveling team while competing in the Gothia Cup from July 16-22 in Sweden. The Gothia Cup is the world’s largest international youth football tournament. The annual event draws about 1,700 teams from 80 countries, which play in 4,500 games on 110 fields.
The phone call in December was from a Dallas team that needed another player during the Christmas break.
“It was a high-level team,” said Macy’s father, Rick Hoover, who is Marble Falls High School head boys soccer coach. “They reached out to me. Macy (went) up over Christmas and played.”
As she was playing for the Dallas team, Stars ’N Stripes representatives were sitting in the stands watching. They must have spotted something in the Marble Falls athlete that drew their interest.
In March, officials contacted Hoover to see if she’d be interested in playing for the Stars ’N Stripes international travel team in Europe.
Rick Hoover said Stars ’N Stripes is the only team from the U.S. that gets invited to compete in the Gothia Cup annually. During Gothia Cup play, the team is called Scandia United.
Before heading to Sweden, Stars ’N Stripes played in tune-up contests that started in Germany. Hoover scored four goals in one game against a German team and two more against a Denmark team in the Denmark Cup.
The elder Hoover said the family receives a nightly blog from the team, but the players aren’t allowed to use their cellphones.
He laughed when asked why his daughter wanted to play.
“That’s the simplest question to answer,” he said. “If you’re a soccer kid and grow up playing, one of your dreams is to play on European soil if they’re highly talented. That’s a big deal. She went into this with a dream of any kid – boy or girl.”
The tradition and history of the game is the allure for the younger Hoover, he added, noting the world’s best female soccer players are Americans. During her younger years, Macy often joined her dad in watching European soccer matches on TV.
“It’s the highest level there is,” Rick Hoover said regarding European soccer. “It becomes legendary. You want forever to get to go to those towns and play. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal.”
Since Stars ’N Stripes is an amateur team and program, if a college program offered her a spot on their roster, she can take it.
Rick Hoover said his daughter is simply concentrating on representing the U.S. to her best.
“It’s a good way for her to end her career,” he said, “or kickstart it.”
Go to gothiacup.se for more information.