The U9 division soccer team emerged with a 25–0 record.
The Moorestown Hotspurs played 25 games this year. The boys’ U9 division soccer team squared off in 10 games in the fall, competed in six tournament games and played hard in nine games this spring. The team did not lose a single one of them.
“It’s quite an accomplishment to go through with an unblemished record,” Hotspurs coach William Gill said. “What matters most is the kids continued to improve as soccer players as the year went on and became better teammates.”
On Sunday, May 20, the Hotspurs played their final game of the season against the Voorhees Wolfpack in what Gill described as “a tale of two halves.” He said a lot of the first half of the game was played on the defensive end with the Hotspurs only scoring two goals. The second half, by contrast, the Hotspurs took the play to the Wolfpack and ended up scoring four more goals, according to Gill. The Hotspurs emerged victorious, 6–0.
Gill said he attributes much of the Hotspurs’ success to having a superior group of players from a technical standpoint. He said he and fellow coach Andrew Aplin had a roster filled with exceptional athletes who are supportive of one another.
The team’s 12 players are a combination of second and third graders. In the fall, the team practices twice a week, and at least once a week in the spring. Gill said the Hotspurs are a receptive bunch when it comes to training.
Gill said his players are a “special bunch of kids.” He said from passing, utilizing teammates’ skills and generally helping each other out, the team meshed well together, and whenever they were challenged, they rose to the occasion.
“Every single time the kids were in a tough game and being really challenged, they responded with a mix of grit and determination that was exceptional.” Gill said. “That speaks even more than the wins and loses.”
Hotspurs goalie Tommy Thornton said their coaches helped prepare the boys well for their wins. He said he had the Hotspurs’ kicking the ball hard and far during every practice and trained them with difficult drills. He said at any given practice, they passed the ball, ran the field, did laps and shot goals.
Nathan Rivera, who plays striker and midfield, said his fellow teammates are always encouraging.
“Our teammates are so nice,” Rivera said. “Even if we missed a shot, they’re like, ‘It’s OK. You’ll score the next one.’”
Gill echoed Rivera’s sentiment. He said the boys are excellent teammates to one another, and at the end of the day, their record is not the most important takeaway of their season.
“They all came away with more love for the game,” Gill said.