The Porter Ridge Athletic Association U-12 soccer team will move up in age group together rather than splitting up as many recreation league teams do.
Eagles head coach Gareth Taylor is not sure they will have as much success as they did this past spring, but that doesn't matter. The Eagles are such a good collection of personalities and players that parents agreed it was best to keep the team intact.
"I certainly think the kids can handle moving up and will do just fine," Taylor said. "Maybe one-on-one they might be physically outmatched, (but) they can handle it and will do really well together.
"We all felt the best thing to do was to keep this team together."
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The Eagles had an undefeated regular season, finishing 8-0 against Union County teams. Then they were invited to the Statesville Regional Recreation Championships on May 22.
The Eagles won the tournament, finishing with three shutouts behind 11-year-old goalkeeper Fabian Cajas. The Eagles had a 5-0 win against Asheville's ABYSA TC Crush in the final.
The 11-0 Eagles were led in scoring by 12-year-olds Andrew Curcione and Paxton Doby.
"This team is just such a great mix of people that keeping them together makes so much sense," Taylor said.
"I have been doing this for six or seven years and have never seen a team with this kind of chemistry. They are all friends on and off the field and really work well together as a team."
The Eagles, made up mostly of kids who will attend Porter Ridge Middle School next year, excel on the field, but it is the way they act that most impressed Taylor.
"Their sportsmanship is what is really commendable and makes them stand out," Taylor said.
"They are all very mature, and when their opponents get knocked down, which happens a lot on this level, they are the first to extend their hand and help them up."
The Eagles will play in 14-U in fall. The team has scrimmaged against teams in the 14-U division and held its own.
"No matter what, they have the right attitude and go about the game the right way. The best part is the sportsmanship they show and how they act to each other and their opponents," Taylor said.