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 West Morris SC Premier 05 Red (NJ), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP Mid Atlantic Premier I Conference.
From their earliest days playing together at the 8U level, the girls on West Morris SC Premier 05 Red have taken the field the same way. With a cheer of “3-2-1 Rockets!”
That group (the original Rockets) has been joined in recent years by some of the best players from surrounding towns, creating a local “travel” team that has become formidable on both the regional and national level.
West Morris has consistently finished towards the top of the table in league play and has been to three State Cup semifinals in the last three years. This year, their efforts have been rewarded with a No. 2 ranking in New Jersey and a berth in the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships.
“Last season I would call a ‘setting the table’ season,” Head Coach Tom Brandt said. “Our EDP bracket was one of the top-ranked divisions in all of EDP, and we finished second. It is then we realized that we could compete with some of the best teams in the country.”
Qualifying for Regionals is simply the next stage of a natural progression for West Morris. And the team feels that its success against top competition has prepared it well for the challenge.
“The best thing about the National League structure is that win or lose, each week you’re playing a great opponent,” Brandt recalled. “Over time this makes your team better. We have learned much from these experiences and have grown from each win and loss.”
Win or lose, the experience of playing at Regionals is one that West Morris won’t take for granted. And the team is looking forward to showing what it can do while proudly representing local “travel” teams everywhere.
“Heading to Regionals, we are extremely grateful and excited to be here,” Brandt exclaimed. “We are also anxious to show the youth soccer community what a ‘town’ team can accomplish with hard work and dedication.”
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.