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 PDA Hibernian Vardar (NJ), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Club v Club Conference.
FK Vardar is the top professional club in Macedonia, where Sunny Naumoski learned the fundamentals of the game. So, when it came time to choose a name for his PDA Hibernian team five years ago, there was only one logical option.
In its first season, that squad—PDA Hibernian Vardar—won only one game. Now the team, which has remained virtually in tact since coming together as 12U’s, is headed to the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships for the first time after finishing second in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Club v Club Conference.
“We have a very close and tight group of talented players with second-to-none core values,” Naumoski noted. “What makes this team unique is the number of players contributing on different occasions.”
PDA Hibernian Vardar’s strong season included victories over the top-ranked teams in New Jersey and Maryland on back-to-back days in the same weekend. Heading into its final game against local rival SJEB Rush, the team knew that it needed a win to secure second place and a spot at Regionals. And Vardar responded with arguably its best performance of the season in a 4-1 triumph.
“I feel we are playing great,” Naumoski said. “We’ve been playing more complete games as the season went on, and we’re peaking at the right time. The boys are ready and looking forward to the challenge.”
The National League EDP Conference provided excellent preparation for that challenge, as Vardar faced competition similar to that it’ll see in West Virginia. The team has also qualified for the semifinals of the EDP Conference Cup, which will take place the weekend after Regionals. That, too, has helped Vardar maintain its focus and keep its eyes on the prize.
“Our goal is to play the right way and dig deep to win while playing a complete game,” Naumoski remarked. “There’s much to be excited for. The players are ready, both mentally and physically.”
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.