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 New Jersey Rush 02 Grey (NJ), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP Mid Atlantic Premier I Conference.
For New Jersey Rush FC Grey, last season was marked by inconsistency and mixed results. The team did reach the final of the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association (NJYSA) State Cup (where they lost in extra time to the eventual National Champions) and qualify for the US Youth Soccer National League, but Head Coach Chris Pettit was ultimately left wondering what might have been.
This season, he got the answer. The Rush made the NJYSA State Cup Final for the second straight year and went a perfect 7-0-0 in US Youth Soccer National League EDP Mid Atlantic Premier I Conference play to qualify for the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships.
“We have been very successful this season,” Pettit said. “Winning becomes a habit, so it’s nice to have that confidence to take to Regionals.”
That confidence comes, in part, from the team’s closeness. The core group of players has been together for nearly five years, which has, naturally, created a bond between the players, parents and coaches…and some superstitions.
“While the coaches are not superstitious, the girls—and parents—are,” Pettit commented. “If we win on a certain field, we need the same dugout. If we are on a winning streak, we need to keep the same colors.”
Whether it was wearing the same uniforms or something else, Real Jersey displayed the consistency their coach was looking for all season long. Despite facing opponents with different styles of play, dealing with injuries and different playing surfaces, even running up against adverse weather conditions, the team was able to adjust to those challenges and book its ticket to Regionals, which was one of its goals heading into the year.
“Our goal this season was to be more consistent, regardless of the opposition we encounter and use that consistency to qualify for Regionals,” Pettit explained. “Now we’re looking forward to showcasing our talents at the next level against top teams from within the region and get the recognition our performances this year have deserved.”
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.