(HERSHEY-HARRISBURG, Pa.) − In honor of its 10th Anniversary, the Hershey Soccer Club (Hershey SC) announces a collaboration of four Central Pa. leading youth soccer clubs to form an Advisory Board to enhance the recruitment and training of regional young male soccer players. To better compete at the highest amateur levels, this new Advisory Board comprised of Hershey Soccer Club, Capital Area Soccer Association (CASA), Penn FC and Eagle FC leaders will support the Men’s Hershey FC National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Team and the Central Pennsylvania United Under 23 Team (Central Penn United U-23). The Board’s focus is the creation of a single Men’s Hershey FC NPSL team of exceptional athletes through high-level development, recruitment and training of young soccer players from Dauphin, Cumberland, Lebanon and Perry counties, as well as a heightened fan experience.
“Over the years, these community clubs and directors have informally worked together to improve the players and performance of area youth soccer clubs. However, this dynamic collaborative effort is designed to build a single top-flight team,” said Tony Potter, president of Hershey Soccer Club. “The advisory panel is excited and dedicated to creating top-level soccer in our highly competitive East Region of the NPSL with a specific focus on developing players for college and professional play.”
Eric Pettis, the former owner of the Harrisburg City Islanders professional soccer team, is a catalyst for the initiative.
“As community-based clubs, Hershey SC, CASA, Penn FC and Eagle FC are committed to continuing the long tradition of putting the larger central Pennsylvania soccer community first,” said Pettis. “We encourage local young men with a passion for elite soccer competition, and the personal dedication required to be a successful teammate, to try out and earn the right to play with the best. We are hopeful this new alliance leads to a top-tier NPSL soccer team in Central Pa. that will qualify for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.”
Joining Pettis on the Advisory Board are Hershey Soccer Club Directors Anthony Potter and Keenan Schaeffer, CASA Director Gino DiFlorio, Penn FC Director Bill Becher, Eagle FC Director Brian Redding and longtime Trinidad and U.S. soccer pro Richard Chinapoo. Through high-quality training of the new Central Penn United Under 23 Team, the Advisory Board will ensure skilled players train together and fuel a deep talent pool for the Hershey FC NPSL Team.
An open tryout for the Hershey FC NPSL and Central Penn United U-23 teams will be held on February 6, 2022 from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at In The Net, 798 Airport Road, Palmyra, Pa. For more information and to register, visit HersheySoccer.org. (NOTE: MEDIA INVITED TO ATTEND.)
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER BIOS:
Eric Pettis, the former owner and board member of the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United States League (USL), is the President of Comprehensive Financial Associates. He manages the firm’s advisors and provides wealth management to clients. Pettis enjoys cycling, hiking and playing soccer. He and has wife, Patrice, have four children.
Bill Becher is the current Executive Director at Penn FC. Becher was the Head Coach of the Harrisburg City Islanders for 14 years. The Islanders competed in the United States League (USL) and Becher was the 2005 USL Coach of the Year. Becher, who has more than 23 years of overall coaching experience, previously played professionally indoors for 13 years, mostly with the Harrisburg Heat. He spent two summers playing outdoors with the Colorado Foxes. Becher is an inductee in the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame.
Richard Chinapoo, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, had an extensive soccer career, primarily in the United States. He has been a longtime resident of Central Pa. Chinapoo played for the Trinidad and Tobago National Team and played multiple years with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. In 1996, Chinapoo became a player-coach with the Harrisburg Heat in the indoor soccer league. After he retired from playing in 1998, Chinapoo became the full-time Head Coach of the Heat. Chinapoo was the longtime Capital Area Soccer Association Technical Director but has since retired. He remains a consultant with CASA.
Gino DiFlorio currently the Technical Director for Capital Area Soccer Association (CASA), was previously the Director of Coaching at Hampden Middlesex Monroe and Silver Spring Soccer Association (HMMS) from 2001 through 2018 and has 25 years of coaching experience. DiFlorio had an extensive playing career with 18 years of professional experience in both indoor and outdoor soccer. He is a former Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) MVP in 2001 and was inducted into the Harrisburg Heat Hall of Fame in 2012.
Tony Potter is the President of Hershey Soccer Club and chairs the Hershey FC. Potter is a soccer and community enthusiast interested in furthering the game in Central Pa. As an equity principal with Offit Kurman, P.C, Potter focuses his legal practice in construction law working with national and regional architectural and engineering firms and owners and assisting with delivering projects. Potter and his wife, Karen, have 3 children.
Brian Redding, Director of Coaching at Eagle FC, stepped into the leadership role there a little over a year ago. Redding has 26 years of experience as a head/assistant coach at the collegiate level, most recently as the former Head Coach of the men’s team at Dickinson College. While at Dickinson, Redding compiled an overall record of 182-93-33. Under Redding’s coaching, multiple players went on to play pro soccer after college.
Keenan Schaeffer is the General Manager of Hershey FC and is the Head Coach of the Maine Maritime Academy women’s soccer team. Schaeffer has a wealth of coaching experience guiding both men and women at the youth, high school, collegiate and semi-professional levels. He also has served as the Head Coach and General Manager of Hershey FC of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) since 2017. He also served as the First Assistant for Penn State-Harrisburg’s men’s program until his appointment at Maine Maritime. Schaeffer continues to work as an administrator, coach and goal-keeping trainer for the Hershey Soccer Club.
Members of the Advisory Board for Hershey FC NPSL and Central Penn United U-23 teams, pictured left to right, are: Richard Chinapoo, Brian Redding, Tony Potter, Bill Becher and Gino DiFlorio
Not pictured: Eric Pettis and Keenan Schaeffer
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