2014 Virginian Elite Showcase is last hurrah for Leesburg FC U-19s
The 2014 Virginian Elite Showcase marks the end of an era for the Leesburg FC Avalanche U-19 girls squad, and other teams like them, as many players get set to graduate high school and some move on to play college soccer.
Avalanche head coach Chas Sumser has led the team since it was part of a rec league back in 2006, and this season will say goodbye to his graduating class which departs eight members of the original squad.
Sammy Barta, Ashley Cole, Stephanie Davis, Kaitlyn Ferrara, Anna Fiorellino, Jenny Gallagher, Dana Mouritzen and Allyson Schwind have all been with the team since its beginning, and will play in their final tournament together at this weekend’s Virginian Elite Showcase. It will be the team’s fourth Virginian tournament since 2009.
“I don’t want this to end, and I don’t think the girls do either, but it has been a fantastic journey every step of the way,” Sumser said.
“Some girls have come and gone, but there is a nucleus that is solid and will last forever in friendships beyond the soccer field,” he continued. “The fact that we’re still here, when many other teams have folded, is a testament to chemistry and commitment to teamwork.”
Leesburg FC Avalanche’s two assistant coaches, Chris Giangi and Tony Soukup, played for Chas during their youth soccer careers. The team manager is Sumser’s wife Sally, which has given LFC Avalanche a family atmosphere over the years.
“It feels almost like a sisterhood more than a team,” Sally said. “They realize that they’ve had something special and they’re enjoying their final season together, and savoring all the different parts of being a team.”
All of LFC Avalanche’s 16 graduating seniors will be moving on to to four-year colleges in the fall. Many will be going to in-state schools including Virginia, James Madison, Virginia Tech, Radford, and Christopher Newport. Others will attend Notre Dame, Stanford, Penn State, and High Point. Schwind will continue her soccer career at Shenandoah University.
The team will finish with an overall record just over the .500 mark, but Chas said it was never about wins and losses for their group.
“It was mostly about team and effort,” he said.
Leesburg FC Avalanche will play one of the first games of the tournament on Saturday at 8 a.m. against SYC Thunder Blue in Bracket E of the girls U17-19 showcase division. They take on two other Virginia teams on Sunday and Monday, with a 9 p.m. start against LMVSC Patriots and a 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Arlington Atletica Red respectively. All three games will be played at Evergreen Sportsplex.