Bethesda Roadrunners: History

CHAPTER 1: FLEDGLING DAYS

From the beginning, the Roadrunners were different.

Started by Ole C. Sand as a DC Stoddert Soccer Club recreational team, the Roadrunners played up a year (4 year olds playing U6). While the focus was--and still is--on having FUN, they consistently won. Those two things still set the team apart from the rest.

For the Fall 2000, the core of the Roadrunners merged with new players to form the Bethesda Roadrunners--a U9 NCSL team playing "travel soccer" for Bethesda Soccer Club.

The team's idiosyncratic playing style began to take shape. The Roadrunners play attack oriented soccer, with the defense pushing up quickly. They also play a very skilled game. For that, credit goes to Philip Gyau, Roadrunners' Doctor of Skills. This, combined with individual speed and a developing passing game, made the team almost unbeatable in small-sided 7v7 soccer, either in regular season or tournament play.

As U9s, the team was unbeaten in league play, and won every tournament entered: Olney Labor Day Tournament, Virginia Beach Columbus Day Tournament, Bethesda Soccer Club Thanksgiving Tournament, Stafford's St. Patrick's Day tourney, and the Virginian.


The U10 seasons brought refinement to the team's playing style. Roadrunners developed its passing game, grooming a strategically savvy midfield, a fast and aggressively mobile defense, dynamic forwards, and exceptional goaltenders. In the fall 2001, the team won every league game, ended up first in their color division, and qualified for Division 1 for the Spring NCSL '02 season. RRs was repeat champions at the Olney Labor Day Tournament, the Virginia Beach Columbus Day tourney, and the BSC's Thanksgiving tournament.

In the off-season, Roadrunners won a spot to play at the National Indoor Championship in Ohio, by winning their Regional Championship. Despite playing some of their best indoor soccer ever, they lost 6-5 to the team that ended up winning it all--a team put together from five different select teams in Indiana.

In the spring 2002, the team won the coverted Jefferson Cup, and the PSWI Icebreaker. It won every game in NCSL Division 1 of the regular season, ending up the number one U10 team, of some 75 travel teams in the greater DC-Baltimore area. The RRs single loss (1-2)--in two years of short sided play in outdoor soccer--came against the Lower Merion Velez in the championship game of the 2002 Virginian Tournament.

The end result of the Roadrunners small-sided 7v7 soccer (4 seasons of U9 and U10): in 84 official outdoor games, one loss. In league play the record was 35-0-1, and for tournament play, 44-1-3.

Based on this record, NationalSoccerRanking.com awarded the Roadrunners the No.1 ranking in Region 1 (U.S. East Coast).

The team expanded its roster and strengthen the developmental program for the 11 v 11 play in the fall 2002. The fall season also brought a happy reunion with three once, and now once again, Roadrunners: Philip Gyau, Joseph and Lester.


CHAPTER 2: BIGGER BIRDS, BIGGER FIELDS, BIGGER DREAMS.

November 2002: The Roadrunners finished their fifth consecutive unbeaten season--at least on the pitch--in the NCSL. The U11 players (mostly '92 models) clearly made a successful transition to full size regulation soccer.

The fall season was pitted by controversy and interruptions. Snipper killings in the D.C. area forced game and practice cancellations. The game against MSC United was wrongly terminated by the referee, whose actions were rubber stamped by the NCSL. A forfeit was entered against the Roadrunners.

But most importantly and positively, the season brought the reintegration of Joseph, Lester and Philip to the team. Everyone benefited from their return--the team and every player. And having Dr. Skillz back let the Roadrunners retain its leading edge in skilled play. All in all, a good season, and one which strenghthened, solidified, and unified the team.

The team won all NCSL games it did play, and all three fall: Olney Labor Day, Yardley (Supergroup) Columbus Day,and BSC's Thanksgiving Day, where the Roadrunners shut down every team it played--no goals against.

Roadrunners took a rest for the winter of 2002-2003. And what a good decision that turned out to be!

SPRING 2003

The pre-spring season 2003 was one of almost astonishing accomplishments. In March, the Roadrunners again won the Premier bracket of the prestigious Jefferson Cup in Richmond, playing great teams from N.C. (CASL Elite), and N.J. (NASA United).

On the heels of that victory, Ole was awarded the top youth sports coaching award in the country--the Positive Coaching Alliance's National Award. And a week later, Roadrunners was boosted to the top spot in the national soccer rankings--the No. 1 U11 boys team in the country.

Those milestones kicked off a spectacular--if short--spring season. Roadrunners played only 6.5 games, with 2 games forfeited--one because the NCSL refused to reschedule the first game of the season (against MSC United) so that RRs could play in the PDA (N.J.) tournament; the second, forfeited by a coach who did not want his team "demoralized" by playing the Roadrunners. A third game was cut short because of weather, and the coach decided to take the score as it stood rather than face the Roadrunners again.

For the final NCSL game tally, only 2 goals were scored against the RRs, and one of those, the ref admitted, was a missed call for an off-sides goal.

Tournament play was unfortunately the victim of a very rainy spring. Although the RRs were able to play and win the early tournaments (Jefferson Cup and PDA), the last tournament of the spring--Potomac Memorial Day Tournament--was rained out.

The rain was good for one thing though: The RRs were able to schedule a series of scrimmages against U12 teams at Howard University's beautiful turf field. RRs won all five of those games, including matches against three U12 Div. 1 teams (one of which is now Va. State Cup champion).