| In the beginning,
The story of the Eastern Pike Association began in the fall of 1984, When Karl Schneck was running a Saturday morning youth wrestling program under the Adult Education Program. One of his wrestlers was the son of John Cokelette, who had graduated a year behind Karl from DV (many years before). Both former DV wrestlers, they came up with the idea of forming a youth wrestling league. To get it going, they contacted former wrestlers in the area, including Nick Fedorka and then current wrestling coach Ned Bushong. Art Ridley helped to incorporate the EPYSA and off they went.
After a successful 1st season, Karl and John decided that their next venture would be a youth soccer league. So, in the fall of 1985, they put out fliers and set up
registration on Karl's parents porch, in the middle of Pike County Days
Midway. The response was overwhelming. Over 200 kids signed up that first year. Once again, they scrounged up coaches from former DV soccer players and many an inexperienced Dad who got a crash course in soccer fundamentals (no hands, kick the ball in the goal!) The teams were named after the Pro Soccer League Teams (The Kicks, The Earthquakes, the furies, the Cosmos,etc.) Shirts were quickly ordered and Karl went on a ball buying spree in every store that carried soccer balls along Rte 6 in Scranton. Fundraisers (remember Tom Watt Kits?) were started to replace the money borrowed from the wrestling program. For the first few years, the money from one was used to start the other the next season.
The first 5 or 6 years saw Eastern Pike as
a strictly Sunday afternoon, local soccer league. At that time, there
were no traveling teams, camps, etc. Age group divisions were formed by the amount of kids, not necessarily strictly by "year"age. For example, it might have been 6-7 1/2, as opposed to 6-8, 9 if the numbers dictated that kind of split. All of the teams qualified for the "playoffs" and everybody got a trophy. By the end of this early era, the number of kids in the program had grown to over 350.
By 1994, EPYSA had grown up to 500 players, hence a need to separate from wrestling and form its own soccer organization. Under the direction of Craig Beitzel, Joe Sweeney, Tony Cavallaro and Steve Smith, Eastern Pike Soccer was formed. Doug Jacobs helped establish By-laws and a Board of Directors over the next few years. Together, the board members established an affiliation with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association and United States Soccer. It was through this affiliation that our first travel team (U12 boys) was born and competed in the Hudson Valley Youth Soccer League for the 1994 season.
Today the Eastern Pike Soccer organization continues to be an important part of the community and acts as a building block for Delaware Valley Soccer. The recreation program is held on both the Delaware Valley and Dingman Delaware campuses with age groups ranging from U6 through U14. A Challenger league also provides rewarding soccer experiences to children of special needs. Travel play has grown in the Eastern Pike Soccer program with an average of four teams registering per fall season and winter involvement in indoor soccer
tournaments in the area. In 2008, the Eastern Pike Travel (U-10) team
participated in the Scranton Winter League, playing 15 games, along
with tournament games, through the winter. The same U-10 team continued
through the Spring season, participating in the HVYSL Spring League. In
the Summer of 2008, Eastern Pike Soccer held its First Travel Soccer
Camp, exclusively for the players participating in Club Level Soccer.
The 2008-2009 Season witnessed All-Star games for the U-13 and U-10
Divisions for the first time. The All-Star games, along with
Championship games for U-13 and U-10 divisions, were all played on
the "turf" at Warrior Stadium.
As Eastern Pike continues to move forward,
it is equally important to look back at all those that have played a
part in making this league so vibrant. It is through the outstanding
support, leadership and dedication of those involved, from Board
Members to Coach's to Volunteers to the Parents and Kids that make this
league what it is today. It is through the efforts and teamwork of all
of our volunteers that a strong program promoting the youth of our area
can even exist. So, to those that have made EPS possible, THANK YOU.
Soccer encourages exercise, teamwork, sportsmanship and family involvement.