Jefferson County-based soccer club committed to quality growth.

The Eastern Panhandle Inter-County Soccer Club (EPIC) started in 1994 with the simple intention of teaching kids how to play soccer correctly and giving them a competitive environment in which to play the game. As with most things these days, what started simple grew to, well, something much more complex.

Though the intention hasn’t changed, really, the way in which good soccer players are developed gets more entailed every year. And though my own personal perspective is over 30 years old, the level of play that young children are capable of these days is almost impossible for me to comprehend.

Twenty-five state titles since 1994 might suggest that EPIC should leave well enough alone. But last year, EPIC took a hard look at itself and decided that if it was really going to develop good soccer players, and teams capable of competing in the leagues to the East and State Competitions to the West, then it needed to make a few changes.

EPIC dedicated itself to developing the best academy in the Panhandle, and to ensuring the academy is the foundation of the club—utilizing its best coaches to guarantee that our players receive the best training and most fun out of soccer this side of the Shenandoah and Potomac.

EPIC also made a commitment to its coaches in the form of paying for licensing progression, which comes with expectation that coaches will pursue the licenses and act and coach professionally. EPIC also promotes a culture where coaches are the front line in cultivating not just good players, but good people.

Ultimately, EPIC dedicated itself to building the most competitive teams possible. Some mistook this intention to mean that EPIC wanted to put winning in front of development—but anyone that knows soccer knows that winning doesn’t come without development. EPIC just made the decision to be clear on what it was developing towards—teams capable of playing at a high level and winning state championships.

Change will bring growing pains, but the history of EPIC and the decision to build the club on the academy ensured stability through change. The commitment to coaching, youth development, and competition will ensure a healthy future.

Recognizing the value of community interaction, the 05 Boys team teamed up with the EPIC Board and Director of Coaching to bring the Derechos EPIC Freestyle Challenge to life. The end-of-season event is basically a soccer carnival, featuring events like a 40 yard dash, juggling, a crossbar challenge, goalie wars and, of course, freestyle. The first two years of the event have featured exhibitions by Bashir Hooper (international freestyler) and Chris Hudler, former DC United academy coach and current director of DC Scores.

The FREE and open-to-anyone event grew tremendously from the first to second year, and promises to continue that trend—representing a great way for local players to have some soccer fun and introduce themselves to the club.

EPIC is a small club, always has been. But it is now structured to not only grow, but to grow with quality, and continue its EPIC journey. For more information, or to register a player to the academy, click here.

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