“There’s a dynamic on this team that’s hard to describe,” says Shannon Revelia, when talking about the Carolina Mountains Soccer Club’s U13 girls team, which won the NCYSA third division, West, with a record of 8-0-2, this spring.
Comprised of 11-year olds, the talented group of athletes stood cleat-to cleat with older, bigger and more experienced teams and triumphed — one game at a time.
The difference between the CMSC U13 team and its opponents is coach Liz Epps.
Epps’ passion for soccer, as well as her care and support of the players on the team, is evident from the moment she steps onto the field. She’s not only determined to develop solid soccer players, but also to mold strong, caring and respectful young women.
“CMSC is a great organization that focuses not only on what skills are needed to play soccer, but also on leadership, teamwork and perseverance,” said Jody Wijewickrama, whose daughter, Sofia, is on the team.
Epps’ approach to coaching is multifaceted.
Her first goal is to develop in her players the skills needed for on-field success. Second, but equally important, is to use soccer as a way to build life skills — such as respect for teammates, parents, coaches, opponents, referees and themselves.
Finally, Epps focuses on teaching the girls to support and encourage each other, on and off the field.
The end goal is to help the young women grow both as soccer players and individuals.
“These girls [CMSC U13 ] constantly...support one another. I have never seen a group so unselfish in their play. They pass, defend and advance the ball as a unit,” said Shannon Revelia, whose daughter, Analyn, plays on the team.
Epps believes the fall season will be especially interesting, as the squad is hoping to move up a division in its own age group.
“We had a growing year in the 2018-19 fall and spring seasons, playing a year up and moving from 9-versus-9 to 11-versus-11,” Epps said. “These girls are on the cusp of greatness and I can’t wait to see how much they grow. They’re like sponges, and really want to learn. I feel honored to have the opportunity to continue developing these girls.”
Members of the CMSC U13 girls team are as follows: Naomi Miguelez, Mya Burrows-Kurr, Karena Cline, Cecelia Morgan, Eireann Marcus, Hannah Downs, Sophie Matz, Emma Johnson Busbin, Jessica Hernandez, Kate Clark, Gracie Rinker, Luci Snyder-Lowe, Ava Bonomo, Lily Holt, Chloe Crisp, Analyn Revelia and Sofia Wijewickrama
Tryouts for the upcoming 2019-2020 season are Tuesday, May 28, at Hazelwood Elementary School. There’s no cost for tryouts.
Additional information and details regarding summer camps, cost of competitive soccer and tryouts can be found on CMSC’s website: cmsoccerclub.org