Southern States SC were named the Spring 2021 U-19 Pilot Winners after finishing with an 8-1 record and a +20 goal differential.
“The U-19 pilot has been a huge success for us off the field as well as on the field,” Southern States SC GM Nigel Boulton said. “It has stimulated interest in the NPSL and our club as a whole. Attendance has been better than we thought it would be but the interest generated within the club and from soccer lovers outside our club has also been very positive. This league can set down solid foundations in a professional manner and become an exceptional link between youth and senior levels, be that major or minor league or the collegiate opportunities it will inevitably provide the players. And that’s not to mention the exciting competition and sporting enjoyment it brings to the local community as a whole, dovetailed into the senior level.”
Winger Papi Diouf led the team with five goals, while midfielder Attila Sepkin tallied a team-leading four assists. Sepkin is a recent U-19 addition who will move up to the first team.
Forward Clint Ryals, midfielder Jason Garcia, forward Michael Colburn, defender Noah Roblin, and goalkeeper Ethan Crump are all Southern States Soccer Club academy players who will join Sepkin on the first team. Crump is only 16 years old.
Midfielder Bennett Gibson and defender Garrett Bell are former U-19 academy players who played in the fall pilot and are also moving up to the senior team.
Roblin, Colburn, Garcia, and midfielder Nico Martinez all used film from their U-19 performances to get scholarship offers from colleges.
Head coach Carl Reynolds, assistant coach Romar Smith, assistant coach Cruz Rangel, and goalkeeper coach Antonio Marriel will all join the senior team’s coaching staff.
“The pilot has been exceptional,” Reynolds said. “This was everything we needed to bring the next level of play and competition to our academy players. This dovetails so well from academy to senior team. The academy players have a platform to show their talents and the response has been fantastic. We want to provide a high quality program for our players and the greater soccer community. This has been a wonderful way to do this.”
Marriel was impressed with the U-19 goalkeepers he worked with, including Crump.
“You just look at keeper Ethan,” Marriel said. “He’s 16, who got his chance. Was thrown into the water, deep, and came out swimming. Ethan did not concede a goal in five games to end the season. He has earned his place on the senior team roster.”
Photo Credit: 3S Media