Tryouts for new semipro soccer team this weekend
BY ASHLEY TEATUM (STAFF WRITER)
Published: March 6, 2013
After competing in high school and college, Pittston Area resident James Bell had few outlets to pursue his goal of playing soccer at a higher level.
He played with the Pocono Snow in East Stroudsburg for three years, but the long commute for practice and games was too much.
Taking what he learned from his experience at nearly every level of soccer, Bell is starting a local semiprofessional soccer team.
And he is looking for players to fill the roster.
The Electric City Shock will compete in the Keystone Conference of the National Premier Soccer League, the same league as the Pocono Snow.
Tryouts for the Shock will be Saturday and Sunday at Riverfront Sports on West Olive Street.
“This is something I wanted to do for a long time,” Bell, 25, said. “This is the next level of soccer for this area.”
The NPSL is the fourth and lowest tier of the United States soccer league system, in which Major League Soccer is at the top. In addition to the Pocono Snow, FC Sonic (Allentown), the Morris County Colonials (New Jersey), Jersey City Eagles, AC Crusaders, Junior Lone Star FC (Philadelphia) and Buxmont Torch (Ottsville) all compete in the Keystone Conference.
Bell, who will be the head coach of the team, said he is still searching for a venue the Shock can call home. Their season begins mid-May and runs through July, making it ideal for the college student home for the summer or high school students looking to step up their game.
The Shock won’t compete as a full-fledged member of the NPSL until the team has completed a season, but this year’s schedule still will feature competitors from the Keystone Conference.
“Most of these players in the area stop playing soccer and go to football or baseball because there’s the NEPA Miners, the Electric City Chargers, there’s the Moosic Mets,” Bell said. “They’re all pretty much the same level we’re at.
“It will give them something to look up to. It’s really just about branching out and helping them achieve something that myself and the people my age and even older didn’t have when they were their age.”
The Pittston Area graduate competed at Penn State Worthington Scranton and Keystone College. He participated in the Toronto FC open tryouts and trained with two United Soccer League teams – the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2007 and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2011.
Rob Havard, Coughlin boys soccer coach and Upper 90 South soccer academy director, will join Bell as an assistant coach, and Scranton Prep boys soccer coach Sean Curry, who heads the Upper 90 North program, will be involved as well.
“There’s nothing like this within an hour, an hour and a half of this area,” Curry said. “This is the way you get to your college team. This is how you improve your game outside of college.”