MANCHESTER >> Not many high school girls get a chance to play for a national championship, but Burr and Burton rising junior Hannah Pinkus will get that opportunity this weekend.
Pinkus plays for the FC Stars, a club team based out of Massachusetts in the U-16 Elite Clubs National League championships being held this weekend at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, Md.
"It's amazing to be playing for a national championship," Pinkus said. "My team set a goal to make it to finals this year and to be that close to it is so surreal."
The 32-team World Cup-style tournament, takes the best club teams from each region across the country to battle for a national championship.
Most players that play in the tournament go on to play college soccer at the Division I level and some have even moved on to play for the U.S. Women's soccer team.
After winning the Northeast region championship, the FC Stars advanced past the group stage of the tournament by knocking off last year's champs So Cal Blues, then won their quarterfinal 1-0 against the Eclipse Select Soccer Club from Chicago to advance to the Final Four.
Pinkus has been playing for the FC Stars for the past two years, driving two hours from Manchester to practice with the squad so she can continue to take her game to the highest level.
"I love playing soccer and getting a chance to play on a very good club team like this is an honor," Pinkus said. "When I'm on a soccer field, I'm the most comfortable and being able to play for this team and BBA has helped me become a better player."
With a powerful style of play on the field, Pinkus has transformed herself into one of the best soccer players in the state of Vermont, recently giving her verbal commitment to play for Colgate University in 2018.
Pinkus is not the only BBA player for the FC Star, as classmate Georgia Lord also plays, but she will not playin the championships this weekend after sustaining a concussion last month.
Playing for a national championship, Pinkus hopes that will show the schools in Vermont that BBA has talented girls on their squad.
"I think being on a good club team and playing for a national championship shows that there are some great players from Southern Vermont and at BBA," Pinkus said. "BBA is a small school, so people in the state tend to overlook us, but I think our play the past few years and the fact that Georgia and I are playing for the Stars has given us more respect."
Pinkus and Lord helped BBA reach the Division I finals this past season.
Reaching the nationals has brought the pair a lot of support.
With Hannah's mother, Katie, posting how her team does on Facebook and sending out press releases to publications in the area, it's been a topic of conversation throughout the area.
"The past couple of weeks I have people in the town, most I don't even know tell me congratulations and say good luck to me," Pinkus said. "It's a really cool feeling to that happen to you and it's great to know that people in this community support you."
Pinkus's whole family has been very supportive, traveling with her to practice and going to every one of the games in the tournament, which recently meant traveling to California for the group and quarterfinal stages.
"It's been a blast following Hannah during the tournament and we couldn't be prouder of her," said Brenton Pinkus, Hannah's father. "I know she is a little nervous about playing in the championships this weekend, but I think she will do just fine. I think her and the Stars have a good chance at winning the title this weekend."
The past month as been crazy for Pinkus, but she said she has loved every minute of it.
Now with the Final Four this weekend, Pinkus is ready to give it her all and help her team become national champions.
Not only that but help bring a national championship to BBA.
"The team and I have worked really hard to get this point and I think we're all ready it give it our all this weekend. Pinkus said. "Winning a national championship will be amazing and I think something that can be shared with BBA, cause they have helped me in this journey as well. I'm just ready to give it 100 percent this weekend."
The Final Four round will be played on Friday, followed by the championship game being played on Saturday.