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 Real Jersey FC 2004 (NJ), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the New Jersey Youth Soccer State Cup.
Winning the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championship is tough to do. Winning it in back to back years is even harder. Winning three in a row? That’s an even more daunting challenge. But that’s exactly what Real Jersey FC 2004 will attempt to do.
“This team is undefeated for two years at Regionals since becoming age-eligible, and we look to continue that for a third straight year,” Head Coach Jon Kopytko remarked. “Last year we were able to win Regionals without conceding a single goal throughout the whole tournament.”
It wasn’t just last year’s Regionals where Real Jersey played stingy defense, either. Whenever Real Jersey plays, goals are hard to come by for the opponent. Kopytko believes that his back line of Braden Short, Nick Yushchak, Charlie Kitch and Joey Cino is one of the best back lines in the country on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball, and the foursome are a nice complement to the talented players Real Jersey boasts in the attack and midfield.
That prowess on both ends of the field has led to another successful campaign for the top-ranked team in New Jersey. Real Jersey won the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association (NJYSA) State Cup and has already clinched a spot in the National Championships. Now the focus shifts to capturing another Regional title.
“Our goals to date have been met,” Kopytko said. “But we have other goals in place, including Regionals. We look forward to defending our title for the third straight year.”
And if trying to win a third consecutive Regional championship wasn’t enough incentive, Real Jersey can also draw inspiration from the way its 2018 season ended.
“Last year, we won the Eastern Regional title but lost the National Championship Game in heartbreaking fashion,” Kopytko explained. “It definitely serves as motivation going into this summer.”
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.