"Last season was probably the most spectacular season a boys team has had in the club to date," 2001 Boys Head Coach Ian Simmons described the current state of emotions at the club "with a state championship followed by a national championship. That was really something very special. It's a group of guys who've been with the club for many years, about 75% of the team have been there since the 11U days. I even had 4 or 5 players on the team who've been with me since they were eight years old. And so to succeed in that way, and to win a championship at that level, to do it as a group who have been with the club and bought into what the club does...To see the team work its way up to that level...its really tremendous"
Add to that, that fact that a trip to the state house in Trenton doesn't happen to many teams. "It was a great experience," '02 Girls Head Coach Barbour explained after the Senate's recognition. "You don't get many opportunities to go into a place like that. To be amongst all of the senators, all of the representatives, that was a neat experience. The girls obviously were taken aback and obviously excited about the opportunity to be recognized and definitely deserved. That whole experience was awesome for myself and the team."
A resolution was read and then the senators approved it. The teams were called up. For the 2002 girls squad, there were seven representatives from the players, who all reside in the South Jersey area. For any youth soccer club, winning a national championship is a big deal, most likely a once-in-lifetime experience. Winning two in one year? Now, that can be placed into the incredible category.
"Winning a national championship is a big deal in youth soccer," Wiesmore said. "There's thousands of youth soccer teams throughout the country. To be able to progress ... and be able to make it all the way to the top and be No. 1 is a pretty special honor."
"It meant a lot," said Barbour, whose teams competes in the National League. Before Barbour took over the team three years ago, the Girls 2002 side had an earlier opportunity to reach the national championship but lost all three of its preliminary matches.
"They just wanted the opportunity to get back," he said. "Adding on the new players to the team obviously made the team a lot stronger and for them, all the hard work they had put in, with the training with me, three to four days a week and training on their own, I know it meant a tremendous amount to them. It's something that we had set our goal on from the end of the year when we lost in the regional semifinal, which took us out of contention to going to a national championship. That was in their mind up until the moment they won."
"For the club, it's just a tremendous opportunity to have these young women to represent the club and for the club to get the recognition it deserves. Having some of the best players in south Jersey playing for the club and myself and the coaching staff, we dedicate a lot of time and effort in order to help these players become better players and better citizens."
"It meant a lot for me just as a coach for the amount of time I had put in—the amount of time I missed away from my family. In the end, a great experience (given what we accomplished)."
Echoing the amount of pressure and strain on a team en route to a national championship game, Simmons described the conditions his 01 Boys team had to face. "The championship weekend they played five games in five days, in altitude, 95-100 degree weather," he explains, "(They) showed the kind of mental toughess and commitment is really remarkable...We at the club are super, super proud of this group of guys and what they managed to do."