ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Cottonwood United is one of the newer soccer clubs in the area, being around for less than five years and it was a rough start.

“It was a struggle for them to really come together and play as a team, communication was something that was lacking on the team,” head coach Byron Godbee said.

But now they’re starting to grow, both with numbers and their success level. The 03-06 boys have been on a roll since the fall and recently won the Alabama State games to punch their ticket to the State Games of America in Iowa later this month, the first time this club will be going to nationals.

“Very excited, it’s a good opportunity to play with other outstanding players so I’m pretty stoked about it,” player Moises Parra said.

“Our boys have just been playing phenomenally lately. They just turned it on last fall playing really good,” Godbee added.

The team is going in there with high expectations, but says they’re excited to get more exposure on themselves and the club, all while representing north Alabama.

“I think we’re going to do good, represent Alabama really well. It’s a good experience for further experiences in my career,” Parra said.

“It gives them the opportunity to play at the next level, hopefully, they’re going to look at going to schools that they may not have had the chance to look at. I hope it can do the same for these young men and allow them an opportunity that they may not have been able to achieve before,” club president Craig Stults added.

The success has already helped the club continue to grow all while giving more kids in the area the chance to play the game.

“We started with just one team and now we’ve grown into a team that has 11 teams this coming up fall, we’ve got boys and girls teams and it’s just really spoke to the need for a higher level of soccer here in Athens,” Godbee said.

Soccer at the State Games of America begins in Iowa on July 29.