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Road to Regionals: Future Soccer Academy

By Joe Clifford, 06/21/19, 2:45PM EDT


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 next team featured in the “Road to Regionals” series is Future SA 05 (NJ), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP North Atlantic Premier I Conference.

In just three seasons, Future SA 05 has gone from the 32nd-ranked team in New Jersey to No. 5 in the state.  And now, after finishing first in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP North Atlantic Premier I Conference, Future is heading to the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships.

“This feat could not have been attained without our hard-working, talented players and their dedicated parents,” Head Coach Riza Uku remarked.  “We have players from numerous towns throughout Bergen County representing a multitude of ethnic cultures. This diversity empowers us to come together as a strong team.”

Nearly one third of the squad has been playing together since the 9U level.  That unit includes goalkeeper Andrew Avalos, midfielders Paulie Smajlaj, Cameron Raymond and Jayden Kim, and forward Leo Lleshaj, a stellar group that forms the core of the starting lineup.

After dealing with some injuries in the fall, Future refocused itself for the spring National League Conference season.  The team set a goal of winning the division…and that’s exactly what Future did! With a 6-1-1 record, the squad finished two points ahead of Long Island Premier FC (NY-E) in the final standings.

Future’s penultimate National League Conference game against Torpedoes SC Red (NJ) was played in the pouring rain.  And Uku’s team responded with arguably its best effort of the season in a 2-0 victory. Future then clinched first place with a 1-0 win over Cedar Stars Bergen (NJ) in its season finale.

“Having gone through a year of the National League and playing against highly-ranked teams from the tri-state area, these players are excited for the opportunity to compete in the Regionals, where their training, perseverance, commitment and passion for soccer will be evident on the field,” a proud Uku said about his club.

As for his goals at Regionals?

“I just want to see everybody play to the best of their abilities and have fun!”

About EDP

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