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Road to Regionals: Next Level Soccer

By Joe Clifford, 06/28/19, 12:15PM EDT


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 NLS Ajax 06 (MD), which earned its Regionals berth through its performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Premier I Conference.

NLS Ajax 06 has come a long way from its earliest days of playing 9v9 games with a roster of just seven.  This year, in its first season of the 11v11 format, the squad features a full complement of players.  And that group is headed to the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships as the unbeaten champions of the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Premier I Conference.

“The boys have accomplished the impossible in such a short time, and they are just getting started,” Head Coach Rafik Kechrid said.  “They have all eyes on them, and I think they’re loving this feeling while continuing to work hard.”

Every player is involved in Kechrid’s system, and each has had a role in Ajax’s success this season.  Olivie Mancia is the team’s top scoring threat, while Diego Lanchipa, Kevin Quincin, Daniel Ramirez and Oscar Noriega-Ovando have contributed plenty of goals, as well.  That unit scored 21 times in eight National League EDP Conference games and enters the Regional tournament as the top-ranked team in Maryland.

“We have a highly attractive and attacking style,” Kechrid explained.  “We work hard and have fun.  When we score goals, we celebrate.”

Kechrid feels his team has plenty left to accomplish, too.

“Qualifying for Regionals and the 2019-20 National League were some of our goals this year,” he commented.  “We reached those goals, but we aren’t finished yet.”

After reaching the final of the Maryland State Cup and going 6-0-2 in the National League EDP Conference, there’s no reason to think Ajax’s journey won’t continue.  The team now has its sights set on winning Regionals and advancing to the US Youth Soccer National Championships.

About EDP

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