Siler City FC shifts plans, will offer travel soccer in 2021

Tryouts for boys’ and girls’ teams to begin this month

BY VICTOR HENSLEY, News + Record Staff
Posted 5/12/21

SILER CITY — If you live in West Chatham and are interested in travel club soccer this fall, you won’t have to look very far.

After previously planning to offer nothing but recreation leagues …

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Siler City FC shifts plans, will offer travel soccer in 2021

Tryouts for boys’ and girls’ teams to begin this month

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Posted
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SILER CITY — If you live in West Chatham and are interested in travel club soccer this fall, you won’t have to look very far.

After previously planning to offer nothing but recreation leagues in 2021, Siler City Futbol Club — an entirely non-profit youth soccer organization based in Siler City — has announced that it will host tryouts for its boys’ and girls’ competitive travel soccer teams later this month.

This comes as a major shift for the organization, representatives of which told the News + Record in March that competitive travel soccer teams likely wouldn’t be a possibility in 2021 as it tries to slowly build its brand and limit its offerings in its inaugural year.

Now, it’s expanding its plans for the fall, allowing a new batch of opportunities for teens in Siler City to play against tougher competition than recreational soccer provides.

“Recreational soccer is a wonderful thing,” said Keith Shea, travel team director and interim vice president of Siler City FC. “But with travel … it forces you to grow in what you’re able to do. We’re able to offer teams that have the ability to play competitions to continue to challenge (the players) and allow them to grow.”

One of the primary drivers behind the decision to offer travel teams was the success of the only active travel soccer team for Siler City FC this spring, the U17 boys’ team, that’s dominated its competition in 2021.

The U17 team — a former member of the Chatham Soccer League that was left out of the league’s partnership with Triangle United and was eventually scooped up by Siler City FC — has put the SCFC crest on the map in tournaments across the state.

In three tournaments so far this year, the U17 team has taken first place in its division in all three, compiling a 10-1 overall record and earning plenty of medals along the way.

“The success they’ve had on the field has really been beyond what, certainly, my expectations for them were, having not competed in so long,” Shea said. “I think that’s created a lot of momentum that we’re seeing in the community, a lot of excitement. And we thought the sooner we could build off of that, the better.”

It’s difficult for Shea or anyone else to predict how many travel teams will take the field for Siler City FC both this fall and next spring without seeing how many players show up to the tryouts that start next week, but optimism remains high.

“For the first go-round, I would consider it very successful if we were able to put out, say, six teams over the course of the year,” Shea said. “We know there are families out there who have kids that want more than what rec is going to offer and I think we can provide something here starting sooner rather than later.”

While details are still being finalized, Shea said that the hope is for the club’s travel teams to play primarily in a U.S. Club Soccer league consisting of two dozen other organizations and teams from North and South Carolina. They’ll also register for and compete in outside tournaments.

In order to avoid conflict with the Jordan-Matthews — and other high schools’ — soccer seasons, boys aged 14-18 (U15-U19) won’t tryout until after the fall soccer season for play next spring, while girls aged 14-18 (U15-U19) will tryout this month for play in fall 2021, but won’t play in spring 2022.

Tryouts will take place on the following dates:

• Boys’ tryouts: Tuesday, May 18, and Thursday, May 20, 6-7:30 p.m. at Chatham Middle School

• Girls’ tryouts: Tuesday, May 25, and Thursday, May 27, 6-7:30 p.m. at Chatham Middle School

Players on the club’s travel teams will have the opportunity to represent Siler City across the Carolinas, Shea said, gaining recognition for the city in places that may not be familiar with it, just as the U17 boys’ team has done this year.

“In the first tournament (the U17 team) played in, the first time the club had ever put anything on the field, teams were looking around saying, ‘Siler City FC? Who’s this?’” Shea said. “And by the time they had finished rolling over three pretty good teams in a college showcase tournament, the question was the same but the tone had changed to, ‘Who are these guys?’”

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

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