SOCA’s high school aged Elite teams have completed their 2018/2019 league play and have racked up success in all divisions, currently placing SOCA at the top of the club-wide table going into the spring season.
All eight of the SOCA U16-U19 boys and girls squads finished in the top four of their respective division. Leading the way are the U18 Boys with a first place finish and undefeated record. The U19 Boys and U16 Girls also hold the top spot in their respective divisions. The U17 & U18 Girls finished second in their group, U16 Boys & U19 Girls finished third and the U17 Boys claimed fourth place.
This remarkably consistent success in the state’s top league is testament to the comprehensive quality of SOCA’s players and coaches. SOCA’s ability to compete and succeed against clubs from much larger population centers results from thoughtful programming, a commitment to player development and continuing coach education. SOCA continues to attract quality players throughout west-central Virginia.
SOCA’s U11-U15 Elite teams will complete their CCL league play during the course of the spring season. First league matches of the spring are scheduled later in March. Final club-wide standings won’t be known until early June. The younger Elite teams will be eager to maintain the high standard set by their older club-mates.
Seven SOCA Elite players are named to the ODP East Region pool of players. The honor of selection to the regional pool allows players to participate in inter-regional matches under the scrutiny of top federation and college coaches.
SOCA has become a regular contributor to the regional squads as a result of the quality environment provided at the club level. Top players are attracted to join peers at SOCA where the training, retention and development enables players to advance their game to the highest level.
Members of regional pools are observed and evaluated for consideration at the national level.
Congratulations to these players for their achievements:
Henry van Wincoop (2002)
Brad Lagrua (2004)
Nigel McLaughlin (2004)
Taylor Diminick (2005)
Michaela Easter (2001)
Jaya Daniel (2003)
Catherine Domecq (2004)
acac Fitness & Wellness Centers recently made a $100,000 donation to the Soccer Organization of the Charlottesville Area (SOCA). The gift supports SOCA’s plans to build a new Field House in the Belvedere neighborhood just north of Charlottesville. The Field House will serve as SOCA’s home and include a state-of-the-art synthetic playing field, fitness room, team rooms, and a café, in addition to the club’s offices and other supporting spaces.
acac, founded in Charlottesville in 1984, operates 13 fitness and wellness clubs in the mid-Atlantic region with five facilities in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. The club is devoted to helping community members “live their best” by offering innovative health and wellness programming and services for all ages.
Community engagement and stewardship is one of acac’s five core values, and the organization takes an active role in the community. acac supports many local non-profits and civic groups, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics, Alzheimer’s Association, and UVA Cancer Center, and has been a long-time supporter of SOCA. The SOCA-acac South Fork Soccer Park was built in 2002 after acac made a lead gift towards the initiative.
“SOCA has built a strong soccer community in our area, promoting all levels of play, for youth and adults,” said acac owner Phil Wendel. “Their emphasis on both player development and enjoyment helps participants stay active in the sport for life, which is an important key to good health. Aiding an organization that impacts nearly 7500 young people and adults each year is consistent with our mission of improving community health and we are proud to support their efforts.”
“We value our ongoing relationship with acac and appreciate their support of our Field House project. acac’s devotion to improving lives through health and wellness is an excellent fit with SOCA’s mission of growing the game of soccer and the many benefits that come from participating in the sport,” said SOCA’s Executive Director, Matt Wilson. “acac has been a great supporter of youth athletics throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle, not just for our organization but other youth sports and high school programs as well. We wouldn’t be able to offer the quality program we do without their support.”
In May, SOCA announced a $200,000 Challenge Grant issued by the Perry Foundation in support of construction of the SOCA Field House. If SOCA is able to raise $200,000 by December 5, it will receive a matching $200,000 from the Perry Foundation to aid in the facility’s construction. With acac’s $100,000, the fundraising count stands at $193,000 toward the goal. Donations can be made at www.SOCAFieldHouse.org. SOCA is a not-for-profit 501-c-3 organization. Donations can be tax deductible.
SOCA’s U18 Elite Boys continued their Eastern Regional League (ERL) success on Saturday, May 12 with a scintillating 1-0 semi-final win over defending national champion Baltimore Celtic. For the SOCA squad it was repayment for getting knocked out of the 2017 Region 1 championship in the final match by the Maryland side.
The win advanced SOCA to the ERL championship match on Sunday, May 13, where they met Lower Merion SC, the only team to beat SOCA in ERL competition. SOCA was down 0-2 before storming back to tie matters at 2-2, only to concede a last minute goal and go down 2-3.
The ERL winner is given a spot in the Region 1 championships. Finishing in second place will allow SOCA to advance to the Region 1 championships only if Lower Merion also wins their Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup title. The Region 1 championships will be held in Fredericksburg, VA June 28-July 3. SOCA’s fate likely won’t be known until after the June 3rd EPYSA State Cup event.
For all ERL results, follow this link: http://events.gotsport.com/events/results.aspx?EventID=61319&Gender=Boys&Age=18
Three SOCA-Charlottesville Premier teams and two Charlottesville Classic teams are sitting in the cat bird seat headed into the final stretch of the spring Skyline Club Soccer League season. In addition to the five first-place groups, the U13 Girls Charlottesville Premier team is only two point off the leader in their division, with the Augusta U13 squad close behind.
The U12 Boys Premier, coached by Steve Gunther, are topping their division, three points ahead of their nearest rival with three games remaining. Coach Dan Wilson has his U12 Girls Premier team tied for first in their hotly contested division race.
The team making the strongest statement in league play at this point are the U14 Girls Premier, where Coach Ryan Thompson has his charges sitting on an eight point cushion with three games to be played.
Both the U12 Boys Classic White and the U12 Girls Classic White teams, led by coaches Brian Emert and Schaeffer Somers, respectively; are protecting leads going in to the closing weeks of the season.
For all Skyline Club Soccer League standings, check information here: https://www.socaspot.org/skyline/standings/
A large collection of SOCA players have recently been named to the VYSA State ODP pool. A total of 30 SOCA players made the selection to their age group’s State player pool, with eight boys and 22 girls making the cut.
The tryout process continues with an additional round of evaluation for players on the call back list. These players will receive further scrutiny before being named to the State pool or dropped. SOCA is represented by a significant number of players presently on call back status.
A high honor has been bestowed on SOCA standout midfielder Malcolm Brickhouse, who was named to the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Thanksgiving Interregional 2003 All-Star Team.
VYSA ODP State Pool, SOCA Selections:
Boys 2001 (U17)
Carl McAninch, Adin Skriloff
Boys 2002 (U16)
Boys 2003 (U15)
Malcolm Brickhouse, Ethan Ott
Boys 2004 (U14)
Boys 2005 (U13)
Taylor Diminick, Jalen Holliday
Girls 2001 (U17)
Michaela Easter, Caitlin Matthews, Maggie McMullan, Kendall Piller, Makinna Winterton
Girls 2002 (U16)
Girls 2003 (U15)
Gabrielle Andres, Jaya Daniel, Sydney Dombrovskis, Laurel Molloy
Girls 2004 (U14)
Nicole Bilchick, Reilly Bonham, Kaitlyn Craddock, Catherine Domecq, Erin Grabeel, Madeline St. Amand, Chloe Thompson, Christina Valladares, Grayson Yeager
Girls 2003 (U13)
Devon Higginbottom, Margaret Inge, Kymora Johnson
View the entire State ODP selections by birth year, including call back list, here: http://www.vysa.com/odp/StateODP/index_E.html
Six SOCA players were recently crowned 3v3 Live! National champions. The local boys put together their team to compete in the nationwide tournament, which starts with state competition and progresses through regional and on to a final national event, which took place in Nashville, Tennessee over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Taylor Hogue (U19 Elite), Campbell Brickhouse (U18 Elite), Andrew Weber (U18 Elite), Ahmed Zaatar (U18 Elite), David Smith (U18 Elite) and Alejandro Mencia (SOCA Travel program) have shared experiences through SOCA which helped to prepare them for success in the small-sided format.
The team was led by Coach Wissam Zaatar, a long-time coach in the SOCA and Greene county soccer communities.
Find a local news story here: http://www.dailyprogress.com/greenenews/lifestyles/local-soccer-players-win-national-v-title/article_eb22fffa-d524-11e7-8bcd-f710f1565c60.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share
For more information on the 3v3 Live! Program, visit here: http://www.3v3live.com/hummel
The fall season concluded in grand style for three of SOCA’s Charlottesville Premier boys teams with championship performances at the Capital Fall Classic on the November 11, 12 weekend in Richmond. Over all age groups, U11-U19, the Charlottesville Premier boys posted an impressive 69% winning performance, with 15 wins and seven ties against only five losses.
Both the U16 and U15 squads accumulated perfect four win records by cruising through group play and claiming the title match, with the 16’s blanking FSCI Phoenix 3-0 in the final, and the 15’s fighting to a 3-2 win over WVFC.
The U13 team had only one tie to blemish their record as they earned three wins, culminating with a 2-1 championship victory over league rival SVU. The tournament result was a big turnaround for the locals, who had struggled in Skyline League play, but finished on a high note at the season finale.
The SOCA U17 Boys Elite have advanced to the USYS Region 1 semi-finals, where they will face Baltimore Bays of Maryland, today, Monday July 3, at 10:00 am. The regional competition is being hosted by VYSA at the Virginia Soccer Training Center in Spotsylvania.
The SOCA boys have cruised through their three group games posting impressive wins along the way: 6-0 vs Lusitana of Rhode Island, 5-1 over Cedar Stars Academy of New York-East, and 4-0 over Alliance FC of New Hampshire. With 15 goals scored and only one conceded, SOCA has been dominant in the group stage.
The semi-final against the Bays will likely be a stiffer challenge. The Bays have also won their three group matches and have compiled 16 goals along the way.
View U17 Boys Region 1 results and schedule here: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2017-Region-I-Championships/Schedule/17U-Boys/Division+1/
The SOCA U17 Girls Elite were nudged out of the semi-final round by a narrow margin in goal difference. The SOCA squad won two matches and lost to eventual group winner Princeton SA of New Jersey.
View U17 Girls Region 1 results and schedule here: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2017-Region-I-Championships/Schedule/17U-Girls/Division+1/
SOCA’s results indicate the high quality of Virginia competition and the excellent preparation SOCA teams receive through the weekly rigors of CCL play.
“We’re proud of our players and are grateful for the fabulous support of our families. Our Director of Coaching, Dan Ensley has done a fantastic job preparing the teams, and now we hope to get the boys to advance to the next step”, said Bill Mueller, SOCA Director of Soccer.
The winter season was once a time of relative quiet in the local soccer scene. In recent years, however, more than 1000 youth have taken to the gyms to feed their soccer appetite though indoor soccer leagues and supplemental training programs.
With the acquisition of the indoor SOCA Training Center, SOCA now has a dedicated indoor training space capable of hosting Futsal leagues and focused Winter Academies. The recently completed winter season saw more than 1300 youth players in Augusta and Charlottesville participate in SOCA winter programming. Traditional WISL play (5v5 format in gyms with walls in play) continued to be a popular option while the initial Futsal league hosted by SOCA exceeded all expectations. Futsal is the world’s version of indoor soccer, which is played to out-of-bounds lines and thus has an increased technical skill demand.
“We believe any reasonable soccer play is beneficial for our youth players,” said Bill Mueller, SOCA’s Director of Soccer. “We’ve been offering WISL for more than 25 years, and we really love the features of limited coaching, no refs, kids forming their own teams, and the general low key organizational component coupled with high energy and super fun play. Clearly we’re fans of that approach. The addition of Futsal to our line-up has been most beneficial for our advanced players. The game has high technical demands and our Travel players certainly benefit from the challenge.”
Mueller, who has been at SOCA for more than 20 years, has seen great advancement in local player quality and in the programming which aids their development. “In one of my first years on the job we tried to implement Futsal play and it was roundly rejected by the players. They wanted to play and enjoy themselves without having to work too hard or have too much skill requirement. Over the years we’ve tempered WISL to be more skillful, but the addition of Futsal was a game changer. And the kids were begging for it! Futsal is a global game and our kids are aware of what is happening in global soccer, so the time was right to move our top players into a Futsal environment with the opportunity we had at the STC.”
In addition to league play, the SOCA Winter Academies have evolved to provide comprehensive skill development training for players at all ages and levels. This past winter the Academy program was overhauled to provide a greater number of individual Academies, but each was narrowly focused by age, gender and level. A key feature was that the size of the sessions was capped to allow for close interaction between the players and coach. A whole series of sessions were offered for Travel players only, allowing them to train under staff coach guidance among their peers. “We found that we had the demand to support single age group Academies for U11-U14 Travel players, and the training environment was terrific. The coaches were able to really focus on fine points of the game and make significant advancement over the winter.” Recreation and Challenge players were similarly served through a variety of skill training sessions, typically using a maximum two-year age grouping.
Early spring season results indicate that the players benefitted from the winter experience. SOCA Travel teams have been racking up the wins at pre-season tournaments at all levels.
Mueller was enthusiastic about the Academy system changes. “We’ll continue to offer both Winter and Summer Academies in narrow age, gender and level groupings. We know that this allows for a hugely beneficial training situation for the kids. We can really make significant progress in a short time period. We’re planning for Week 3 of the Summer Academy to be devoted entirely to Travel players, with sessions offered U10 (Jamboree) through U19.”
SOCA continues to offer ever-evolving innovative programming that helps players achieve their goals. The winter is no longer an off season for committed athletes, rather it is an opportunity to advance skills and game acumen while always preparing for the next challenge.