MYSA youth soccer team elevated to high-level Southeastern league

The Mebane Youth Soccer Association has been one of the top local sporting clubs in the Triad region in recent years, producing numerous high-level teams that have resulted in a pipeline of outstanding talent to Eastern Alamance High School and other local high schools. The latest MYSA high-level achievement has been earned by the Club’s 07 Gazelle team, which received a prestigious invitation to play in the National League - a top league featuring 12 of the very best 13-and-under club youth soccer teams in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Top row (from left to right): Chris Doi, Campbell DiLello, Meredith Doi, Abby Brinker, Catherine Parker, Addie Durst, Abby Darragh, Abby Stadnicar, Skylar Parsons, Shawn Gibbs. Bottom row (from left to right): Maggie DiLello, Hannah Foushee, Ryen Gibbs, Ava Cardwell, Carson Story, Emma Gryniewski, Nadia Navarro Bilbao, Cassie Winslow, Alex Eguren.

The Mebane Youth Soccer Association has been one of the top local sporting clubs in the Triad region in recent years, producing numerous high-level teams that have resulted in a pipeline of outstanding talent to Eastern Alamance High School and other local high schools. 

The latest MYSA high-level achievement has been earned by the Club’s 07 Gazelle team, which received a prestigious invitation to play in the National League - a top league featuring 12 of the very best 13-and-under club youth soccer teams in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

“It’s very rare for a team from a small club like ours to be included in this level of play,” MYSA 07 Gazelles coach Shawn Gibbs said in a recent interview. “We made it there through our own hard work and determination. But it’s definitely a rare instance when you’re competing on a regional level, outside of your state, from such a small club. We qualified as a result of our performance in the Elite Division. We competed in the Elite Division in the NCYSA (North Carolina Youth Soccer Association) in the spring. We qualified as a result of our standing at the end of the season.”

Gibbs, who is joined on the MYSA Gazelles coaching staff by Chris Doi, explained that the Gazelles will be one of only four teams from the state of North Carolina to play in this prestigious National League.  

“There are four teams that qualified from North Carolina, four teams from South Carolina, and four teams from Georgia that qualified to play in this National League,” Gibbs said. “We are in what’s called the Piedmont Conference. USYS (United States Youth Soccer) has created this high level of play that is a regionalized thing. The top four teams from each state can play against each other. So there will be a little bit of traveling to South Carolina and Georgia. We’ll also host some here in North Carolina as well. But essentially the top four teams from those three states will be playing dates throughout the fall, hopefully.” 

The Gazelles are hopeful that they will eventually be able to host some National League events and games right here in Mebane at the Mebane Community Park. The Park’s two state-of-the-art soccer fields have already provided the Gazelles with a first-rate location to train as they prepare to enter this new level of competition in the coming weeks. 

“I’m hopeful that we can host some (tournaments in Mebane soon),” Gibbs said. “Some of the dates are pre-determined, and locations were announced well before we were promoted into the division. There is a possibility we will host some games against other North Carolina teams here.” 

“I think having this incredible venue here has really allowed us to take that next step,” the Gazelles coach added. “We’re out there training more times than we were able to in the past. Weather is not an issue. We have this opportunity to train on a field that is second to none around here.” 

Along with coaches Shawn Gibbs and Chris Doi, team members on the Gazelles include Campbell DiLello, Meredith Doi, Abby Brinker, Catherine Parker, Addie Durst, Abby Darragh, Abby Stadnicar, Skylar Parsons, Shawn Gibbs, Maggie DiLello, Hannah Foushee, Ryen Gibbs, Ava Cardwell, Carson Story, Emma Gryniewski, Nadia Navarro Bilbao, Cassie Winslow, and Alex Eguren.

Gibbs mentioned the explosion of youth soccer in the area in recent years, which has resulted in considerable local success at the prep level. Eastern Alamance’s men’s and women’s soccer teams are perennial contenders in the Mid-State Conference, while Williams High and Southern Alamance High also feature top-level teams. Williams is the reigning NCHSAA 3A state champions in men’s soccer. 

“I think youth soccer in Alamance County has grown a lot in the last decade. MYSA now has two girls teams playing at the premier level or above, which is phenomenal for a club of our size,” Gibbs explained. “The 05 Eagles last year had a lot of success going to Texas and playing in a regional tournament there. Some of our players actually that are on this 07 Gazelles team played on that team in that tournament. That was a catalyst for showing them what it takes to play at a high level, and what it takes to win. They’ve been able to bring that back to their age group, and help them out. The area is definitely growing from a soccer perspective. We’re seeing some high-level play in both club and high school around here.”

The latest MYSA high-level achievement has been earned by the Club’s 07 Gazelle team, which received a prestigious invitation to play in the National League - a top league featuring 12 of the very best 13-and-under club youth soccer teams in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

“It’s very rare for a team from a small club like ours to be included in this level of play,” MYSA 07 Gazelles coach Shawn Gibbs said in a recent interview. “We made it there through our own hard work and determination. But it’s definitely a rare instance when you’re competing on a regional level, outside of your state, from such a small club. We qualified as a result of our performance in the Elite Division. We competed in the Elite Division in the NCYSA (North Carolina Youth Soccer Association) in the spring. We qualified as a result of our standing at the end of the season.”

Gibbs, who is joined on the MYSA Gazelles coaching staff by Chris Doi, explained that the Gazelles will be one of only four teams from the state of North Carolina to play in this prestigious National League.   

“There are four teams that qualified from North Carolina, four teams from South Carolina, and four teams from Georgia that qualified to play in this National League,” Gibbs said. “We are in what’s called the Piedmont Conference. USYS (United States Youth Soccer) has created this high level of play that is a regionalized thing. The top four teams from each state can play against each other. So there will be a little bit of traveling to South Carolina and Georgia. We’ll also host some here in North Carolina as well. But essentially the top four teams from those three states will be playing dates throughout the fall, hopefully.” 

The Gazelles are hopeful that they will eventually be able to host some National League events and games right here in Mebane at the Mebane Community Park. The Park’s two state-of-the-art soccer fields have already provided the Gazelles with a first-rate location to train as they prepare to enter this new level of competition in the coming weeks. 

“I’m hopeful that we can host some (tournaments in Mebane soon),” Gibbs said. “Some of the dates are pre-determined, and locations were announced well before we were promoted into the division. There is a possibility we will host some games against other North Carolina teams here.” 

“I think having this incredible venue here has really allowed us to take that next step,” the Gazelles coach added. “We’re out there training more times than we were able to in the past. Weather is not an issue. We have this opportunity to train on a field that is second to none around here.” 

Along with coaches Shawn Gibbs and Chris Doi, team members on the Gazelles include Campbell DiLello, Meredith Doi, Abby Brinker, Catherine Parker, Addie Durst, Abby Darragh, Abby Stadnicar, Skylar Parsons, Shawn Gibbs, Maggie DiLello, Hannah Foushee, Ryen Gibbs, Ava Cardwell, Carson Story, Emma Gryniewski, Nadia Navarro Bilbao, Cassie Winslow, and Alex Eguren.

Gibbs mentioned the explosion of youth soccer in the area in recent years, which has resulted in considerable local success at the prep level. Eastern Alamance’s men’s and women’s soccer teams are perennial contenders in the Mid-State Conference, while Williams High and Southern Alamance High also feature top-level teams. Williams is the reigning NCHSAA 3A state champions in men’s soccer. 

“I think youth soccer in Alamance County has grown a lot in the last decade. MYSA now has two girls teams playing at the premier level or above, which is phenomenal for a club of our size,” Gibbs explained. “The 05 Eagles last year had a lot of success going to Texas and playing in a regional tournament there. Some of our players actually that are on this 07 Gazelles team played on that team in that tournament. That was a catalyst for showing them what it takes to play at a high level, and what it takes to win. They’ve been able to bring that back to their age group, and help them out. The area is definitely growing from a soccer perspective. We’re seeing some high-level play in both club and high school around here.”