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 HMMS Impact Eagle FC (PA-E), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Premier I Conference.
Every time HMMS Impact Eagle FC needs a big goal or a jolt of motivation, Head Coach Steve Snyder breaks out his lucky dollar. That dollar must’ve seen a lot of use in 2019, as the Impact scored 39 goals to lead the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Premier I Conference.
A team with so much goal-scoring punch naturally has a number of talented offensive players. Lora Bertram paced the Impact with 22 goals and nine assists, while Julia Raich has 20 goals and 17 assists this season. HMMS also boasts a pair of superb on-ball defenders in Carly Smith, who’s committed to Division I High Point University, and Bloomsburg College-bound Maddie Davis.
That group has been playing together since the 9U level, and they still know how to have a good time on the field, while also honoring a tradition they’ve had since the very beginning.
“Although the roster has evolved over the years, a core group of players have kept our original 9U pregame cheer of ‘Beat ‘em, bust ‘em, that’s our custom,’” Assistant Coach Mike Raich detailed. “It keeps fun in the game even as the pressure gets higher.”
HMMS Impact went 7-1-1 in the National League EDP Conference, finishing just one point out of the top spot in the standings. The team also enjoyed a successful run in the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) State Cup, defeating rivals in the quarterfinals and semifinals before losing in the final.
“Our focus every year is to win the Eastern PA State Cup and qualify for Regionals and a shot at Nationals,” Raich explained. “We made the final (of State Cup) and fell short, but our ultimate goal is still in play.”
This season marks Impact’s return to the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships after a three-year absence. And the team has had success on this stage before, having won the title in 2015 and following that up with another strong performance in 2016.
Is another deep run in the cards for the 2019 Impact? They don’t see why not.
“We’ve played five other Eastern Regional qualifiers this year and competed well,” Raich said. “Our team is ready to play on this stage.”
And, if they need a little extra luck, Coach Snyder’s dollar will surely be making the trip.
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.