HCC signs 9 to help chase soccer dream

May 18, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

HAGERSTOWN -- Derek Apple is accepting reality to help live a dream.

It goes with the territory when he chose to sign on to play goalkeeper for the Hagerstown Community College soccer team.

"Hopefully we will be able to fulfill the dreams of the sophomores who played here last year," said the former Faith Christian player.

That dream is to reach the national junior college tournament, and it isn't only on the minds of the Hawks' graduating seniors. It also lingers in the back of coach Brian Eichelberger's head.


And living the dream is what Eichelberger conveyed to Apple and eight other players who signed letters of commitment to play for the Hawks this fall.

"The sophomores were the most successful class that we have had here," Eichelberger said. "Last year we had our best record (11-6-1) and lost in the region semifinals. That left a bad taste in my mouth because we had beat that team in the regular season. Now, I want you guys to come here and help us get rid of that taste."

The incoming class will be called on to bring versatility with an edge of defense and speed to help the Hawks get over the hump.

"This could be the best class we have had yet," Eichelberger said. "When we combine the guys coming in with the guys who are coming back, we can plug in anybody anywhere."

The list begins with Apple, who is transferring to HCC after playing a year at Iowa Central College after graduating from Faith.

"It's going to be an exciting year," Apple said. "With the presentation (Eichelberger) gave, it sounds challenging."

The Hawks will have a tough road to tackle. HCC is beefing up its schedule and will face regional powers from Essex (N.J.) and Monroe (N.Y.) along with the West Virginia University club team and the Maryland JuCo Conference, which has up to five schools ranked nationally every year.

"When I started here, I never fathomed this," Eichelberger said. "We have teams who are looking to come play us and we have players who want to come here to play."

The list includes Broadfording Christian's Gabe Hirsch, Jordan Whitt and Zack Morgan; North Hagerstown's Nelson Moreno and Frederick Owusu-Ayim; C.J. Trammell of Tuscarora and Methodist (N.C.) University; Mussleman's Troy Burch; Urbana's Garrett Hajjar and Apple.

Each has his own reason for coming to HCC.

"It's close and I want to get ready to go to a four-year college," said Hirsch, who was a Herald-Mail All-County honorable mention. "I love to play soccer and saw a couple of games and saw what they are doing here. I was impressed."

"This is a good opportunity and a place to start before I go to Liberty University," said Whitt, another All-County honorable mention. "It's going to be a learning process because we will be playing all over."

"I wanted to come here because the soccer was good and I knew I could play for them," said Trammell. "I think I'll fit in because I have played with some of these players before."

"I'm coming here hoping to play better than I played before," said Burch. "That's always my goal. I have played against some of these guys before. I just want to use my speed and make this team better."

"I know some of these guys from playing club soccer and I think that will help us with our chemistry," Hajjar said. "It sounds like it is going to be a tough schedule."

And then there is that dream to contend with.

"We're going to have to start out on Day 1, the first day of practice," Eichelberger said. "We feel like we have an exciting year coming."

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