Over the Columbus Day Weekend, the 03 Boys Tournament team drove to the campus of Bridgewater College (Staunton, VA) to play in a “friendly” against Washington Capitol FC’s ’02 team, a solid side that plays in the Elite Player Development League.
The purpose of the trip was to not only get a high level match in, but to be able to play on collegiate facilities while touring both Bridgewater College and James Madison University. Playing on Bridgewater’s Bermuda grass training grounds on what turned out to be an extremely humid and hot day, the ’03 Boys put on a good showing for the college coaches in attendance. Losing 2-1 in an evenly matched game, the boys missed a few quality chances but played extremely well especially when considering both the conditions and the opponent.
“All players in attendance had a good showing. This is a strong group of players throughout the entire roster and all of them played well. Playing against teams that are a bit older and stronger enforce to our players the need to be more technical and efficient on the ball. It was a great day for our NRU players, just with the experience alone” said executive director and ’03 boys coach Jeff Kinney.
Not only did they have the opportunity to play on a college campus and tour the facilities, but coaches from both Bridgewater and JMU attended to watch the match. After the match and tour of Bridgewater, the team grabbed lunch and headed to James Madison to walk their facilities and catch a few minutes of the JMU women’s soccer game.
“Our goal at NRU is to provide playing opportunities to all level of players. We realize that we have players that want to possibly play in college and players that simply don’t have those aspirations. A majority of our players however do want to attend college at some level. These types of opportunities provide important experiences for both. Getting to see college campuses at this level is beneficial to all of our players at NRU”, said NRU Director of Coaching Matt Gwilliam.
The ’03 Boys Tournament team is not currently playing in league play. As a team, it was decided that they would focus on the four scheduled CCL matches, friendlies and showcase tournaments this season over playing in the Skyline. The coaches have seen a huge benefit in that.
“This group as a whole likes to train and get better. We continue to push them and they continue to respond. I’m hopeful that this team continues on this track with our remaining matches in the season”, said Jeff Kinney.
The ’03 Boys tournament team will be headed to the NCFC Boys College Showcase November 16-18 to finish out their season.