When the River City Athletics soccer club was formed in Bangor a year ago, Club President Dennis Mullins was hoping it could attract 200 players.
It attracted 270 players, according to Mullins, and four of the club’s age group teams won Maine State Cup championships in their first appearance at the tournament.
Two other teams lost in the title games.
That tied River City with the Waterville-area Central Maine United Soccer Club for the most State Cup titles.
“It turned out great. It really did,” said Mullins, who also coaches the Under-12 and Under-14 girls teams.
“We were very happy with the year,” said M.J. Ball, the coaching director for River City. “Our goal was to continue to develop soccer at a more affordable price. And we not only won state championships, we also won [two] championships at the Amherst [New Hampshire] Memorial Day Tournament.”
The state champions were the Under-12 and Under-14 boys teams and U-16 and U-18 girls teams.
Ball coached the U-18 girls and U-14 boys teams and Mark Dieuveuil coached the U-17 boys. Harry Dieuveuil coached the U-12 boys team and Yates Murphy directed the U-16 girls team.
The U-12 girls and U-17 boys teams lost in the finals. The U-16 and U-18 girls teams won championships in the Amherst tournament.
River City had 13 teams in all in its inaugural season.
“We’re way ahead of schedule and the word on the street is that we’ll have even more kids next season,” said Ball.
The four State Cup championship teams played in the Region 1 Tournament in Barboursville, West Virginia, this past weekend but went a combined 0-10-1.
The U-18 girls earned the tie, 1-1, against the West Virginia state champs.
Mullins said next year should be even better, especially from an organizational standpoint.
Last fall, because they were still putting the club together, “we didn’t have any tryouts until mid-November.
“Compared to last year, we’re going to be much more organized. We’re going to start our tryouts on August 1,” said Mullins. “That will also give new players a chance to meet the coaches before school starts. Then we’ll have another round of tryouts in mid-November.”
They will have two eight-week winter training sessions, one of which will begin in November and the other will start in February.
It will consist of a 90-minute workout once a week. It costs $100 for each eight-week session. The team is based at Fields4Kids on the Beal College campus in Bangor.
Ball and Mullins said they do everything they can to accommodate the players’ schedules.
If they can’t make a training session with their age group team, they will be slotted into another age group, most likely the one below or above, so they can still get in their workout.
“We keep it flexible,” said Mullins who is cognizant of the fact some of their players are also juggling other sports.
River City has players from all across eastern Maine and as far away as Houlton.
They begin their spring season in the second half of April with the culmination being the State Cup Tournament and the Region 1 championships.
That will cost $325 plus the cost of a uniform if the player hadn’t already played for River City.
That season involves one or two practices a week and Mullins said teams played between 12-16 games during the season.
The youngest age group is U-10 but Mullins would like to begin setting up training sessions for younger age groups.
The Under-10 teams play six versus six; the 11-12s play eight versus eight and the older age groups play the traditional 11 vs. 11.