Ed DeVincent is athletic director at Liberty High School during the week, and many weekends as well.
He coaches with the Freedom Soccer Club and develops players for the Lions boys soccer teams. DeVincent has coached with Freedom for a number of years. Players graduate from there to Liberty and Century.
DeVincent has coached some boys at Freedom since they played under-8 soccer. He has worked with them and watched them develop.
Now they are beginning to show what a big asset they will be to their high school programs when they move up.
DeVincent’s Freedom under-15 team has 12 eighth-graders who will make that jump next fall.
He fills out the roster with ninth graders from school soccer teams.
The two groups combine to form his Freedom Flash White under-15 team. And those kids have cut quite a swath through the local soccer world in this season’s early going.
After Freedom’s first outing of the year at the Aug. 11-12 Hershey Cup tournament where it made it only to the semifinals, the team has gone 14-1.
During that time, it has won two tournaments and is 4-0 in its EDC soccer league’s under-15 division.
On Aug. 25-26, it went 6-1 to win the under-15 championship in Gettysburg’s Battlefield Blast soccer tournament. Its only loss was in an abbreviated pool game.
Most recently, Freedom played in what DeVincent considers its most competitive tournament of this year. This was the Rush to the Cup soccer tournament in Germantown on Sept. 1-2.
Freedom swept to victory in that one, winning all four games. Three came by by shutout.
One doesn’t have to ask why Freedom has done so well. Simply look at its diverse scoring, defensive and goal tending statistics to understand why this team has been so good.
It opened in Germantown on Sept. 1 against Virginia-based LMVST. Freedom jumped ahead 2-0, but its opponent then cut that lead to 2-1.
That was the last goal anybody would score on the local kids for the rest of the tournament.
The Flash White won that opening game 5-1.
Sam Allen scored two goals. Austin Wadlington, Jarod Kuether, and Jordan DeVincent each scored one. DeVincent also added an assist.
Freedom blanked Bethesda 3-0 in its second game. Gavin Spath scored two goals and Gavin Rudy had one.
After that game, Rudy would also make his mark on this tournament in another capacity.
Goalkeeper Hutton Steier, who along with Cole Forman had been outstanding in the net for Freedom this year, was injured in the second game.
Rudy, a midfielder who had played very little in goal, took over the spot for the last two games and shut out his team’s final two opponents.
In the semifinal, Freedom blanked MSC Academy 5-0.
In that one, DeVincent scored two goals. J.J. Weber, Ethan Spath, and Sam Kashima, none of whom hadn’t scored in the prior games, each added a goal.
That brought on Lower Merion for the championship.
However, Freedom Flash White jumped on the Virginia squad for four first-half goals and went on to win by that 4-0 score.
Gavin Spath and Allen each scored two goals. DeVincent added three assists.
“(Lower Merion) had a lot of talent,” Ed DeVincent said. “But we went up on them early, and it’s tough to come back. We just put the pedal to the metal.”
The coach also complimented another substitute — Brayden McGraw, a Century ninth-grader who filled in on defense at Germantown and also did the job.
The coach felt Lower Merion compared very favorably to a Hershey team that had beaten Freedom in the earlier Hershey Cup tourney.
“We didn’t have our full roster against them. It was a lot like a practice game,” he recalled.
In soccer you need defense, and DeVincent’s team had a good one. In its last 17 games, it has allowed only eight scores.
Besides excellent goalkeeping, the team also has good men out front on defense.
The six defenders who have regularly played there this year are Matt Fabian, Kuether, Brady Dillon, Steve Cox, Edwin Blyden, and Noah Davis.
DeVincent, whose Liberty soccer program stands to inherit about half of this team’s eighth graders next year, naturally wants to prepare them for the rigors of High School soccer.
DeVincent said “the key is to get better; it’s all about development right now. The goal is to get these kids to play soccer the right way and to get them ready to go to high school next year.”
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And it looks right now like he’s going to get them there.