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 Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 02 Boys Black (PA-E), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Club v Club Conference.
For Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 02 Boys Black, the core of the team has been together for several years and enjoyed a good amount of success. The 2019 season was no different, as the Ukies won the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) State Cup, finished first in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Club v Club Conference, and qualified for the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships.
“This has been a ‘next man up’ type of season for this team, and everyone has showed really well,” Head Coach David Castellanos said. “The cohesion and close relationships this team has with each other is the catalyst for all that success.”
That “next man up” mentality has permeated through the roster, as the team boasts a number of individuals who are capable of contributing in any capacity whenever called upon. That group includes defender Cory Bethel, as well as midfielders Joshua Jones and Connor Koschineg. Jordan Kahny, meanwhile, has been the squad’s goal scorer for most of the season, contributing many important tallies.
Philadelphia Ukrainian enters Regionals as the No. 1 team in Pennsylvania and No. 7 in the country. Castellanos doesn’t view those rankings as pressure, however. He sees them more as an acknowledgment of the Ukies’ system.
“Our team goal has been to improve individually and collectively with each practice and game, regardless of result,” Castellanos noted. “We want to make sure we play to our philosophy as a club and showcase well every time we play.”
As for Regionals, Castellanos simply wants his team to keep doing what it has done well all season. If that happens, the results will take care of themselves.
“Every game you play at Regionals is difficult, and you hope to show well,” he commented. “Playing in the National League has helped us tremendously, as you are facing some of the best teams in the country.
“It has been a great season thus far and we hope it continues.”
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.