The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series Eastern Regional Championships will take place from June 27-July 2 in Barboursville, WV. Leading up to the event, EDP will be profiling several of the qualified teams and looking at their journey to this point. The first team featured in the “Road to Regionals” series is Massapequa SC Fury Girls 03 (NY-E), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP North Atlantic Premier I Conference.
“They not only want to win, they don’t want to let up any goals.”
That’s how Massapequa SC Fury G03 Team Manager Larry Ricci summed up the defensive mindset that team trainers and coaches Paul and Nick Bigilin have instilled. And that defense, which allowed just two goals over nine games in National League play, is a big reason why the Fury is headed to the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regionals.
“When our strong forwards score first and get us a lead, the defense is even tougher on opposing teams,” Ricci summarized. “They are most proud of the high percentage of shutout wins this season.”
Goalkeeper Caroline Brucato didn’t surrender a goal until the Fury’s fifth National League game, and she recorded seven clean sheets during a 5-2-2 campaign. Massapequa’s back four of Kiley Conway, Hannah Pugliese, Colleen Dorrian and Kaylin Ricci have been just as lockdown this season, as the team’s two goals allowed were the fewest in the North Atlantic Premier I division.
Their defensive prowess extended to tournament play, as well. The Fury earned a 1-0 win over Alleycats SC (NY-E) in the round of 16 at the EDP Conference Cup, eventually reaching the semifinals of that competition. The team also avenged an earlier loss by shutting out Far Post SC (VT) 1-0.
Facing top competition is nothing new for the Fury, who have enjoyed success at every age level, starting at 12U. The team has either won or been to the final at the State Cup and qualified for either a regional or national event in each of the last four years. This will be Massapequa’s second appearance at Regionals after winning the Eastern New York Girls’ 14U State Cup in 2017.
Massapequa also benefitted from playing against strong opponents week in and week out during the National League season.
“Every game could have gone either way and required every bit of the 80 minutes to play,” Ricci recalled. “We are grateful for the bid to the 2019 Eastern Regionals. Close, early season league wins and the strength of the schedule were keys to qualifying.”
And now that they have qualified, the Fury see no reason why they can’t continue their success and make a deep run at Regionals.
“Our goal was to simply get to this point—reach the Eastern Regionals, win and get to and win the USYS Nationals,” Ricci said. “Now we’re looking forward to playing the tough, top-ranked competition in the group, winning the bracket and advancing to the elimination rounds…all while making life-long memories together.”
Founded in 1999, Elite Development Program Soccer (EDP) is one of the largest organizers of youth soccer leagues and tournaments in the U.S. EDP operates youth leagues for boys and girls ages 9-19, conducts a Futures program for players ages 7-11, and operates U20/23 men’s and women’s leagues. EDP also runs over 20 tournaments each year. One of the major priorities of EDP’s leagues and tournaments is to enable soccer players to reach their full potential, with an emphasis on attending college. More than 3,500 teams participate in EDP’s leagues and more than 170,000 players compete in EDP tournaments annually. For more information on EDP, visit www.edpsoccer.com.