Let me be the first to thank each and every one of you for your great support of the East Bladen High School soccer program this past year. It has been an historic year for both our men’s and women’s teams. All three of OUR teams (varsity men, varsity women, JV boys) won Conference championships going a combined 33-0-1 in conference while also compiling a combined overall record of 46-3-1. Both of our varsity teams hosted first- and second-round NCHSAA playoff games.
Our men’s and women’s teams were also winners off the field. Our players were involved in the Elizabethtown Optimist Club Christmas Tree and BBQ Sales. The leadership amongst our teams are currently in the process of forming the Junior Optimist Club at East Bladen High School. One of greatest times and moments every year is when we help with Special Olympics. For the second year in a row our program put together Olympic Town for the Bladen County Special Olympics and helped athletes participating in the games.
We wrapped up the girls season less than week ago. Sitting on that field after the game in a moment that should feel empty and sad, it hit me hard and I was moved by other emotions. I looked around and watched as people gathered to talk, hugged, and shared moments with each other. I saw people at a game that I have never seen before. As 10, 15, 30 minutes elapsed, those people were still there enjoying each others company and congratulating the girls on their season.
What you all have done for our kids as well as for myself is something that I will never be able to repay you for or thank you enough. The past two seasons have been historic for both our Men’s and Women’s teams on many levels. What sticks out the most above the wins, is the support for our program. I continue to see the crowds grow. I have seen faces who attended their first game this season and continue to come back. There has been a following of fans that attend away games. Those gestures have made it more than just a sport with fans, you have become part of OUR FAMILY.
You have helped to push our players to be the best players they can be on and off the field. You have helped to create players who play hard for our community. Because of your passion and support WE were able to have one heck of a home field advantage. You have helped create one of the best soccer facilities not only in the region but in the entire state of North Carolina. You have helped us to establish a culture here and be more than just sports teams. Your support has helped create the East Bladen High School soccer program.
As we move into the offseason and look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2018-19, I can tell you that all of us in our program are as excited for the future as we have ever been. We have a proven winning formula both on and off the field. You have helped a fire burn within our players and within our coaches. Your support and following is the reason why I love calling Elizabethtown home. As an alumni of East Bladen High School, I have great pride for our school and our community. We look forward to many great seasons to come and to sharing all our successes with each and everyone of you.
Coach Jay Raynor
East Bladen High