The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series Eastern Regional Championships are currently taking place from now until 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 Baltimore Celtic SC 2002 (MD), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Premier I Conference.
Last year, Baltimore Celtic SC 2002 missed out on qualifying for the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships on goal differential. That only served to motivate the team and set a new focus heading into the 2019 season. Fast forward 12 months, and Celtic is heading to Regionals as the undefeated champions of the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Premier I Conference.
Baltimore Celtic went 8-0-1 in the National League EDP Conference play and scored a league-best 32 goals while allowing just five. The team also performed well in tournament action, consistently finishing at or near the top of its bracket.
“The competition in both the National League EDP Conference and the various tournaments we participated in was excellent,” Head Coach Dave Nesbitt noted. “Being successful in all these events has provided the experience necessary to understand the demand of maintaining a consistent level of performance over the season.”
Most of the roster has been together for just over two years. That group includes Spencer Hanks and Alex Krause on attack, as well as Liam Nesbitt, Alex Grasso and Kyle Waggoner in the midfield, and the quartet of Ben Kropp, Torren Aikens, Cameron Clairmont and Jackson Dixon, who anchored a defensive unit that recorded five clean sheets in nine National League EDP Conference games.
“Each year, we’ve selected players to our roster based on our playing philosophy,” Nesbitt explained. “Our core group has provided the consistency we needed, and we were also to successfully incorporate new players into our system.”
Those groups meshed perfectly into a squad that is ranked No. 1 in the State of Maryland. Now Baltimore Celtic heads to Regionals, where the competition will be fierce. The team will be ready for it, though.
“We’re looking forward to competing at Regionals,” Nesbitt said. “Many of our players have not been here before, and that adds to their soccer experience.”
For Baltimore Celtic’s players, they’re hoping that experience will also include a trip to Nationals in a few weeks.
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.