Local soccer teams making their marks

Two groups heading to compete in regional matches

Photo provided The RVSC Select Riot U-15 team celebrates their West Virginia State Cup victory May 26. The group along with the RVSC Select Impact U-13 team are preparing for regionals June 28-30.

PARKERSBURG –The future of high school soccer in West Virginia is looking bright, and now that future will be on display in eastern regional competition from June 28-30.

The River City Soccer Club Select soccer teams are looking to leave a mark on some stiff competition, as this year’s regional matches emanate from the Shawnee Sports Complex in Dunbar.

Coach Eric Harvey’s under-15 girls’ team and coach Scott Limer’s under-13 girls’ team won their respective West Virginia state cup titles and are moving on to play teams from all around the country. For the U-13 Impact squad, it won in penalty kicks to capture its second consecutive championship (this iteration of the Riot won a cup title as a U-12 team). The U-15 team three-peated (they won cup titles as both a U-13 and U-14 team) thanks to a 2-1 win in double overtime. Both teams qualified as one seeds for the state cup tournament through league play, and Sunday’s championship games proved how good they were throughout the season. The dynasties for Harvey and Limer are on, as they are hard at work preparing for regional matches.

The opponents have not been named for the U-13 and U-15 teams, but preparation is key. Luckily for these girls, they have been here before. Harvey’s Riot consists of a large number of players who will play for PHS or South in the future. Some of these players already play for either team, as their freshman seasons happened in 2018.

That experience could play right into their hands.

“Well, this team is made up of primarily PHS and South girls. I’ve got nine girls from South that either already attend South as freshmen with Samara Nunn and Hannah Habeb, and then I’ve got seven others who will be freshmen there next year,” Harvey said. “I’ve got five on the team that will either attend PHS or they already play there. With Kendal Domenick, Emma Fleming and Audrey Campbell, we’ve got two others that will be freshmen next year.”

Limer’s Riot remains largely unchanged from previous years, which has been a key to the squad’s chemistry. While their U-15 counterparts are mostly centered on the Parkersburg area, Limer’s group comes from three different parts of the state.

“We’re a little more broad as far as our locale than, say, the U-15 team,” Limer said. “Our younger team, because of the splintering of some of the clubs around here, is a nucleus of girls from around here and also from Ripley, Ravenswood and a girl from Hurricane.”

Limer said the northern-most point of the team is indeed Parkersburg, but Ripley and Sissonville are also key meeting points for the team. When the team can’t all meet in Parkersburg, they make the long haul to one of the other two cities just to practice.

In spite of logistical issues, this team keeps winning. A core of girls starting at age 9 in the Select Riot system have stayed together to make another run at the eastern regional.

Both teams enter group play against 11 of the finest opponents in the east, and they are guaranteed three games to try and win their group in order to move onto regional semifinal action. The 12 teams are split into groups of four, and the teams in those groups play a round robin schedule.

Last year, Harvey’s team went 0-3 with a short bench, but Harvey says “the sky’s the limit” in regard to how far his team can go. Limer’s crew is hoping for a reversal of fortune from a year ago. They went 1-2 in their group, and Limer’s goal is to leave the group with a 2-1 record.

No matter the result, the groups are representing the Mountain State with everything they have. The girls are making memories along the way and reminding us all that soccer is alive and well in West Virginia.