United Rapids heading west
The Jefferson County United Rapids are taking it all the way to L.A.
The team of third and fourth graders will participate in the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) 50th Anniversary International Tournament in Los Angeles this summer.
Formed in this spring for participation in the tournament, the kids involved all play on separate teams for the Jefferson County Youth Soccer League.
Teams from all over the country are chosen by lottery and this year Jefferson County kids under age 10 were picked.
Pentony said the kids from Charles Town, Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown have come together to form the United Rapids.
“We tried to select a team of kids who have good sportsmanship and will represent Jefferson County well,” he said
He called the opportunity is a “once in a lifetime chance” for this local group.
There are 24 teams picked in each age group from across the United States and Caribbean’s.
“We’re one of 24 counties that were selected by lottery” he said.
“….There’s no chance that these kids are going to get their age group in this county selected again, so its pretty exciting.”
A 14, 15, and 16 year old girls’ team from Jefferson County will also be participating in tournament.
A lifelong local resident, Pentony said the experience is especially exciting for him for multiple reasons.
“When I was their age, I was playing on these fields doing the same thing they’re doing,” he said.
Pentony said he made some of his best friends playing soccer together locally.
Now, he said he’s excited to get to coach his own son and his best friend’s son on the Jefferson United Rapids team.
“It’s really neat for me,” he said.
The AYSO tournament consists of a week of activities.
The first night an opining ceremony will be held.
On day two, the kids will play with other children from around the country in a “good will” event called soccer fest.
After that, the Rapids will play two games a day as part of the tournament competition.
“I think they’re really excited,” Pentony said
“I think they’re proud to do this.”
The tournament will take place the first week of July, so for now, the team holds regular practices weekly in preparation.
The team members and their families are also currently working to raise funds to cover costs for the trip.
A benefit concert featuring local bands will be held at the Blue Moon Cafe in Shepherdstown on May 9. Door fees from the event will go to the United Rapids.
Those interested, can also donate by finding the group’s “Go Fund Me,” page at: www.gofundme.com/7awnjw.
More info about the Rapids can be found by visiting their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/jeffersoncountyunited.