A trio of East Wake Soccer Association teams had plenty to show for their efforts in the spring season and tournaments that followed.
Among those were the ’97 Hammers Black and ’99 Lady Hammers Black teams, which finished atop their respective First East divisions in the spring. In doing so, those teams earned highly-desired acceptance into the N.C. Youth Soccer Association’s Premier League.
Promotion into Premier-level soccer is reserved for only the very best teams in the state and it must be earned, according to Premier UK Regional Director and EWSA Coaching Director Nathan Bird.
Those results against three of the state’s leading teams foreshadowed things to come in the regular season, which saw the Lady Hammers go 8-0-1. The team led the league with 20 goals against three scored by its opponents.
In the NCYSA State Cup, the Lady Hammers tied CASL Elite Black 0-0 and defeated N.C. Alliance 2-0. They bowed out in a 1-0 loss to Triangle United Soccer Association Gold on what was one of that team’s two shots in the game. A win or a tie would have pushed the Lady Hammers into the tournament semifinals.
“The girls have shown a remarkable work ethic, love for the game and an endless willingness to learn and apply the game throughout the year,” Bird said of the Lady Hammers. “They are a great group of ladies to work with and see develop and gain recognition in recent years. They truly deserve this success and will keep moving forward.”
Competing in the NCYSA State Cup at the conclusion of the season, the Hammers defeated No. 2-ranked CASL Elite Black, 1-0, and N.C. Fusion Premier, 3-0.
“The boys have worked tremendously hard behind the scenes and been pursuing this venture for sometime,” said Bird, who coaches the team. “The boys possess great talent and collegiate prospects for the future.”
The Lady Hammers held off a late rally to win the title game 3-2 over Dixon Soccer Club Storm. The local girls built a 3-0 lead in the first half and refused to give it up before the final whistle.
“The DSC Storm team was able to get two goals, making things a bit nervy,” Bird said. “The Lady Hammers didn’t give up, though, and fought hard to ensure that they came away with the win. They really did well passing the ball and breaking the opposition down and it was very good match to watch.”
The Storm had won both previous games with the Lady Hammers by 1-0 decisions, both sealed with goals in the final minutes.
The Lady Hammers won their first three games of the tournament by scores of 4-0, 1-0 and 1-0, respectively.