The spring travel soccer season is upon us and local teams are preparing for the big kick off with optimism.
Both Southern Indiana United and girls’ club Net-Surfers have numerous teams taking part in various leagues.
And some of these—seven to be exact—will be involved at the end of the campaign in Indiana Soccer’s major travel-team tournaments, the draws for which were made recently.
The State Cup is Indiana’s the top-tier competition and Net-Surfers ’94 will be among 16 taking part this year in the U18 section from May 18 to 20.
The girls, coached by Walter Iglesias, have been drawn with FC Pride, Evansville SC and Columbus Express.
The team is even stronger this year, thanks to the merger of the U18s with the U17s, and they have been hard at practice since January, with several playing indoor at Mockingbird.
Coach Iglesias said he is “very excited” to have such a talented team this year.
“There is a lot of talent and experience on the team,” he said. “After watching both U16 and U17 teams take first and second place last spring, I wanted to merge the teams and get them exposed to a higher level of competition.
The girls will face top competition this spring in the Indiana Soccer League, and will kick off their league season against Tippecanoe Blue on April 7, followed by a home game against Vigo County at John Woehrle Field on April 14.
“The girls deserve it,” said Iglesias. “I am very excited about the season and have plans to play additional scrimmages to ensure we are ready to have a good showing during State Cup.”
Meanwhile, three of the area’s teams will take part in the Indiana Presidents Cup.
The event, now in its second year, is a middle-tier competition between the State and Challenge Cup levels.
The tournament features boys’ and girls’ teams from U11 to U17, with champions from U14 to U17 getting the chance to represent Indiana at regional and possibly national level.
Three of the area’s squads –U16 Net-Surfers and Southern Indiana United’s U15 Strikers and U13 Thunder – will participate in the preliminary round, which takes place from May 18-20 at various venues.
SIU U15 Strikers, led by Mike Berticelli Travel Coach of the Year finalist Paul Duckworth, are fancied to go all the way to the championship decider, with their biggest threats expected to Cutters and Pike.
Both are also Indiana Soccer League rivals, and they will get to play the pair twice before the Presidents Cup takes place.
Net-Surfers U16s, coached by Gary Tanner, will prepare for the Presidents Cup by playing in Kentucky Select Soccer League’s Premier Division. The girls’ first game will be at Lexington on April 1.
SIU’s U13 Thunder also plays in the KSSL and their first Premier Division game is also on April 1 when Mike Campbell’s charges take on Louisville Soccer Alliance.
Finally, Southern Indiana United will have three teams taking part in the Challenge Cup. They include U12 Revolution, coached by Robert Stevens; Russ Corby’s U14 Storm; and U17 Renegade, coached by Jonathon Eade.
Preliminary round games take place from May 18 to 20, with the final round being held from June 8 to 10.