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US Youth Soccer National League EDP Conferences - North Atlantic Wrap-Up

By Michael Lewis, 11/28/18, 10:45AM EST


US Youth Soccer National League North Atlantic EDP Conference Wrap-Up

Clarkstown Elite 13U GirlS on course to Finish First in


It's difficult enough to win one title in EDP top-level competitions.
Head coach Danny Samimi is trying to do just that by pulling off two championships this fall season in the North Atlantic competition, one in the US Youth Soccer North Atlantic EDP conference.
Clarkstown Soccer Club captured the 12U title and is fighting for a second in the 13U age group.
Samimi gave plenty of credit to his players, who picked up the lessons in training and transformed them into winning plays during competition. The 13U team performs in the US Youth Soccer North Atlantic EDP Conference.
"Basically, my motto is I give a lot of freedom to my players," he said. "If you watch me coach, I never yell at the players if they make a mistake. I always encourage them to dribble, to keep the ball, possession. Of course, when you do that, it is very difficult to get results, but at the same time I teach them to be very competitive. I try to create challenges for them and reward them for the challenges to become more competitive.
"Two things I am trying to teach them is to be competitive and make quick decisions ... and see the whole game and not just the ball. It paid off. The progression that I saw from the beginning of the season to now is huge. Still, there is a lot to work. The beauty about this game is that there is so much that players can learn. I believe it is our job to teach them with the best of our knowledge."
Samimi could not have asked for anything more or better. 
The side also had the challenge of transitioning from a 9 v 9 to a 11 v 11 full-sided and a larger field. Samimi said the team had some problems adjusting at the beginning of the season. But he did work the entire summer making sure the transition would be easier. Samimi had the team enter several tournaments to work out a new system.
"I got them into the formation, the style of play that I wanted to play 11 v 11," he said. "Four in the back instead of three. Some positions I had to create within the players that we had. By September we pretty much had a good lineup that we were comfortable with and started with that lineup.
"As the season went by, I made a few adjustments and it worked much better. The girls got friendlier with the size of the field and the style of play. I'm very happy with where they are, not just with the results, but the style of play, being comfortable and the tactical aspect of the game that they needed to learn satisfies us."
His side plays a high-paced, pressure game that has been translated into wins. "I always taught them to go and press the player with the ball and win it and open up," he said. "Come together when you lose the ball and open up when you win the ball. So that was the unique thing about them. And we're very fast. I would say out of my 16 players on my 13U, I would have to say probably 10 or 11 of them are very, very fast. They're not necessarily the biggest, but they're very fast. I'm not worried because size doesn't matter in a couple of years, anyway."
Goalkeeper Aubrey Haesthe has been key to Clarkstown's success, while center midfielder Julia Lombardo has been instrumental in the 12U's winning ways.
"They both work very hard," Samimi said. "When I say very hard, they don't miss any practices. They do all the extra work. And they are very committed. Anything I recommended and anything that is possible for them to do and both have improved tremendously. I picked these two players from the second team, the B team. They worked so hard. They became one of the best of both teams. Actually, Aubrey is an 12U that I play with the 13Us. I have two other players at 12U and Aubrey is the best goalie."
That two players from the second team have made an impact and have progressed has been quite rewarding to the head coach.
"Absolutely," Samimi said. "They both progressed very well and impressed me day after day. And their progression doesn't stop. Those are the kind of players, you can really count on them getting far with the game."
His 12U side posted a 7-1-0 record and 21 points, scoring 25 goals and surrendering but three.
"The 12Us, they have been very, very steady and doing good al of the time. as for a record and result, if you look at the record for the last three or four years, we have lost only one game. They are just unbelievable. Any tournament, any competition we go to, what impresses me about that team is that they're very relaxed and very calm. In other words, they all love each other. Anyone who comes and tries out for our team they fall in love with our team. The U-12s are just a great bunch of girls. They are just very calm. They just do the job. They move the ball beautifully and they move the ball, play very nice soccer and are very technical.”
Samimi's days are quite full. He actually coaches three soccer teams, including a local men's college team -- it went 5-8-1 this fall -- in Suffern, N.Y. So he has learned to transition himself from one team to another in the fall. He trains his college side at 3 p.m., leads practice with the 12U's at 5 p.m. before doing the same with the 13U squad at 7 p.m.
"I have plans for all these different teams, three different plans, according to things we have to work on," he said. "In the morning, I have all of the training sessions all planned out, so I just deliver it and it works out perfect. I am pretty used to it right now. I've gotten used to this. This is my third year doing the three teams. Before that, I was doing one team in college."
The 13U  squad will face yet another unique challenge come next March when it competes in the Mundialito tournament in Barcelona as the lone girls’ side in the international competition. Yes, we said the only female team.
Clarkstown sent a video to the tournament directors and requested that that they allow the team to participate in the tournament.
"We got accepted and we're very excited," Samimi said. “The best thing about it is we have a sponsor that is paying for the girls.
"This boys’ tournament is not just a regular boys tournament. This is a tournament where all the top clubs, the academies of the world are playing in that tournament. I am sure 100 percent results-wise we may not do well, but just the fact they can go against these top players in the world and boys and just stay in there, hang in there and compete, I think it will be a great experience for them."

DOwntown United 13U Boys run away with first in


Needless to say, Downtown United Soccer Club coach Jose Luis Rebay was quite proud of his team by running the table in his team's National League North Atlantic EDP Conference this past fall season.
DUSC played nine games and won all nine while outscoring its foes, 16-7 as the best defensive side in the league.
Yet, Rebay was just, if not prouder of his team by the way it played soccer since September.
"I am happy for the kids," he said. "Obviously, you want to create an environment of being competitive and getting the boys used to winning. To me, it's more important than just being undefeated or just winning the tournament. It's the way the way that they develop, it's the way they're willing to play soccer all around, not just putting the ball into the net. It's how we are getting to that point as well, how we're defending, how we have become all-around better players. Our goals go hand-in-hand. Whatever they do on the field. Obviously, it goes hand-in-hand with whatever they do off the field as well."
Downtown United needed to defeat league-leading New York Premier FC, at the time on Nov. 3, to take control of its division. 
"Tough game," Rebay said.
But DUSC showed how tough it was, finishing out the season with three more victories, a 3-1 triumph over Syracuse Development Academy on Nov. 10, a 3-2 win over NY Stars Premier Scorpions the next day, and a 4-0 shutout of MYS Sporting Connecticut on Nov. 17.
"So, it was a very good season for us," Rebay said.
Rebay gave credit to the club for preparing his team well for the competition.
"The club has put a big emphasis on working on skills, our philosophy, the way we want teams to play within the club," he said. "The club is doing a very good job with the youngest players. So when I got this team, players had a lot of good skills and I added something from the tactical standpoint, organization and a little more challenge of competing. That was a good mix to put it together and the willingness to compete and the will to perform."
Despite his team’s undefeated run, Rebay declined to single out any one player this season.
"Starting from the goalkeeper to the center backs to the holding midfield to the forward," he said. "More than anything also it's overall. We've got all of the players coming along very well. Even though some guys maybe impact the games more frequently, for sure, all of the players, the rest of the players have at times been able to impact the games as well; great plays on offense and defense as well. I would put the whole team as well, to praise them as a whole group because they deserve it. Everybody."
"It's a good mix of boys, good skills but also a mentality of competing well," Rebay said. A little bit of discipline, an understanding of how they need to be prepared for every practice, every game, helps that development. I am always looking for the guys to play better. Young kids -- getting good results helps with the mentality because as you know they're very fragile on what they can do. And losing and losing and losing also is not helpful. Happy to win it, happy that we're undefeated. Happier in the way we ended up playing, much, much, much better."
DUSC will celebrate in a low-key way at a team dinner on Saturday night at the EDP Winter Classic in Hammonton, N.J.
After last Saturday's fall season finale, they took a team picture and posted it in the club in Manhattan.
"Regardless how the season went, we always get together for a meal," Rebay said.
"We always do a team dinner at a hotel or a restaurant when we have everybody there. Bonding is a good thing, to become friends. So many kids through soccer and through sport have become friends for life. It's a great situation."
Rebay, the DUSC technical director for teams between 2004 and 2007, declined to single out any one player this season.
With the club's headquarters in Manhattan, its not always easy to find fields for practices and games. The team has split its home games between Pier 40, an athletic facility on the west end of the island, and Randall's Island, which is situated between Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. DUSC has training in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.
"We find different venues," Rebay said. "It is a big challenge in New York City. It is a big challenge that the club is having forever."

Newcomers Parsippany 14U GIrls dominate after slow start in US YOUTH SOCCER NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH ATLANTIC EDP CONFERENCE


Life in the U.S. Youth Soccer National League North Atlantic EDP Conference did not look very promising to Parsippany SC 14U Girls in September.
The New Jersey club had gone winless in its first two matches and hadn't celebrated a goal yet.
Being the new kids on the block and moving up from Premier II, meant an enormous challenge for Parsippany, but the girls met it and then some.
Not only did Parsippany improve, but it won the division with a 5-1-1 record while scoring its opposition, 14-7. The team was going to go up against the likes of the Junior Rhinos FC 05 and the Syracuse Development Academy, two established clubs.
"It's pretty exciting," head coach Stephanie Zalewski said. "I don't think any other team even expected us to win. So I think it's pretty awesome for us. We're not really a well-known team in comparison to some of the other teams in our division soI think it was really good for the girls to come out on top. We started out the season a little bit rough."
Last spring Parsippany finished atop Premier II and earned promotion to Premier I.
"Going into the new season we were a little bit nervous in general," Zalewski said. "Moving up a division, the top division, we had a couple of big names in our division like Syracuse and the Junior Rhinos. We knew they were pretty good. I don't think anyone thought we were going to win."
Parsippany kicked things off with a scoreless draw at the NJ Stallions Academy on Sept. 9 and followed them up with a 3-0 road loss to Farmingdale SC Rebels United three weeks later.
Then everything fell into place. Parsippany rattled off five consecutive victories to grab the lead before
The team scored its first goal in a 1-0 home win over Fairfield United SA 05 Girls on Oct. 13 and followed that up with a 3-1 result over Syracuse on Oct. 20, a 4-1 triumph over MYS Sporting CT on Oct. 21, a 3-0 blanking of the Junior Rhinos on Oct. 27 and a 3-2 win over Stony Brook Arsenal on Nov. 3.
Zalewski said the turning point was securing that first win, just for team spirit and motivation.
"Getting the first win and the first goal was pretty motivational," she said. "The Syracuse game was probably the best game that we played. We started out kind of slow again. we pretty dominated the second half and came out fired up and scored three goals in the second half to beat them. Three very nice goals, too."
The coach explained the slow start as the squad added six new players. Last year's starting goalkeeper couldn't play due to a concussion that will force her to sit out two years. The team also welcomed a central midfielder as well.
"The first two games was learning to work as a team, getting the new players up to speed," Zalewski said. "That was probably part of our slower start."
The new goalkeeper, Ella Clausi, acquitted herself well, playing every minute of every game.
"She's stepped up," Zalewski said. "She's still learning. She's new to the team, new to the league. She had come from a lower team last year. She made a couple of pretty big saves for us during the course of the season. She made saves when she needed to."
Zalewski praised the performances of five other players -- center back Mia Niziolek, team tri-captain Jackie Walsh, a center back, Samantha Heusser, a forward, Amanda Green, a midfielder-forward, and forward Kate Loncare.
"Mia was just very, very solid for us in the back," Zalewski said. "She stopped a lot of the opponents' opportunities and built us from the back to create changes in the midfield and up top. So she was a very solid defender for us all season. always playing against tone of the opponents' better players.
"Jackie created a lot of our opportunities. She had a couple of free kick goals and a few assists this season as well.
"Amanda is our workhorse. Amanda is the kid that is always pretty positive and encouraging and is the worker. She is the lead by example type of player. She's always motivation for the team. Usually Amanda and Sam are the two that get the team going and focused and motivated."
There was no celebrating winning the fall season.
"We pretty much knew if we won our final game we would win the division," Zalewski said. "We had to tie or win just to make sure we won it. They were excited. We had a cup game the next day as well. They were happy. We also didn't play well in our final game, so I don't think there was too much celebration."
No surprise for this group, this Parsippany team likes to take care of business and keep moving forward.

High-Scoring Long Island PRemier 14U Boys win US YOUTH SOCCER NATIONAL LEAGUE


There is little doubt that Elvin Vasquez has one talented team that plays in the US Youth Soccer North Atlantic EDP Conference Boys 14U Premier I League.
Long Island Premier FC captured the Boys 14U division with an 8-1 record, having outscored its opposition, 23-8.
Yet, the New York-based side most impressed its coach when it wasn't hitting all its cylinders against Future SA on Sept. 29.
Yet, Long Island managed a 1-0 victory more recently at Northeast Elementary School in Amityville, N.Y.
"That's the game we didn't play good, but they pulled the game off," Vasquez said. "Even though we couldn't play the way we wanted to, those are the games that sometimes when you don't play the way you're supposed to, you work hard and you put your heart into it and you come together as a team. I think that was the game that brought the boys together and made them stronger."
In other words, while talent might be vital to a team's success, there are other aspects to the game as well.
"Exactly, exactly," Vasquez said. "That's one thing that I always teach. When we can't play the way we know how to play the way we want you guys to play, just work hard, work as a team, work together. Hard work pays off. Most of the time it pays off. And if it doesn't pay off, hard work is always good things to see."
Long Island Premier clinched the fall title with a couple of games remaining. "It's always nice to see that," the head coach said.
In the past few seasons, LI was always in the mix, battling for the league lead or title, but had fallen short, finishing second or third.
"But because we were trying to play good, we lost games that cost us the season," Vasquez said. "That's what makes it so special this season. We still kept our game. They still played the game we were teaching them. This time we were able to win the league. That made it special. They made it very unique for the boys as well. Eventually, as you get older, playing good soccer, playing the right way is going to give you what you're looking for, what you want. That's what makes it very special with them because they were able to finally to understand that you can play good soccer and win at the same time. And they saw it this season."
This year, the squad put it all together.
"The season it went good, it went good," Vasquez said. "It started a little slow with the boys getting into the game, our game fitness and stuff. Once they got into that rhythm, we started playing very good soccer, every single player started playing good. With that, the results came. It's always nice to see when you play good you get the results as well.
"It was tough. It wasn't easy. It wasn't as easy as it may look. It was a hard, difficult season. We played some difficult teams, some well-coached teams. Some teams are very strong and try to play the right way, which is nice to see. The boys did great."
Vasquez's expectations for his team was simple and to the point: improve individually and as a team.
From that, winning will take its course. And in this case, it did and then some.
"My expectation every season is to be better, making sure the other players are better than when they started, the team is better than when the season started, the developmental part of the players, which is the most important thing to us, at Premier FC," Vasquez said. "We started at a certain level. Our goal is for at the end of the season each player to be that much better than we started. If we win, it's even better because the boys are able to see you are able to play good soccer and win. Sometimes it doesn't go that way. ... By the end of the season, they feel they got that much better that they are more confident with the ball and work on the mental part of the game, which is very important."
Vasquez was most encouraged by the many cultures that fused together to form a winning closely bonded side. LI Premier included players from South and Central America, the Caribbean and the United States.
"It’s very nice to get along," he said. "The parents, the players, we all want the same thing for the program. It's about the boys playing the game, learning to play the game, developing, having a good time, but learning at the same time. Enjoying the game. When they're on the field, they're one team there are no nationalities. There's just one goal for everyone and that's to play the game the right way."
While Vasquez has stressed that soccer is a team game, he has realized that he has a key player or two. One is Eric Martinez.
"Eric is a standout player," Vasquez said. "The team is always backing him up. The team is always working hard for him and he's always working for the team. It’s a nice little thing to see."
Hugo Rodriguez is another player.
"They're our top-level players," Vasquez said. "The boys are working together with them and make them even better. I definitely would give the team the credit. We have those players who make the difference. They know what we have. They all know what we can do and they work hard together."
That's when the team will celebrate winning the fall season championship and other teams in the club that won as well.
"We have different nationalities, different ethnic groups," Vasquez said. "We ask everyone to bring a typical dish from their country and we all do something at the field, which is nice. Everybody, the whole club is together there."
And it's never too early to start looking ahead to the spring. Vasquez said he was considering several competitions, including the EDP Spring Classic March 16-17, 2019, "which we've done before."
"It's a great start, a great preseason event," he said. "It gets the teams ready for the season."
As it turns out, LI Premier certainly had a great fall season.

For more information, visit the US Youth Soccer National League North Atlantic EDP Conference page.

For more on the US Youth Soccer and EDP Soccer partnership, visit our US Youth Soccer homepage.