St. Charles Parish has seen the success of its prep soccer programs soar over the past several seasons, as evidenced by this season’s quarterfinal run by the Hahnville Lady Tigers and recent deep runs by the Destrehan Ladycats, highlighted by a state semifinal run.
It’s a sport dominated by teams with year-round players. and so it might stand as little surprise that locally, club soccer is finding tremendous success: St. Charles BOCA, comprised of 18 local players, 15 of them of Hahnville and Destrehan, recently captured the U18 Louisiana President’s Cup championship, and will represent the state in regional competition this June.
The team defeated squads from Lafayette and Baton Rouge in the semifinals and finals, respectively, after capturing first place in regular season play. St. Charles took each game by respective 4-1 scores.
Kayla Martin, a sophomore and a leading scorer at Hahnville, dominated in the final two games, the talented striker blasting home six of the eight goals over those contests.
“The girls played very well … from beginning to end they controlled the action,” said head coach Mert Deger, who has coached the team since the club’s inception in 2012 and is also head coach of the Destrehan girls program. “We got some early goals and kind of held from there. We got right into it after the high school season and kind of got on a roll quickly.”
The team has found success since its inception. The club began combining girls from DHS and HHS two years ago, with 10 players hailing from HHS this season, five from Destrehan – and one, 14-year-old Brooke Ledet, a Wildcat-to-be.
One of the more exciting aspects of the team is how young it is. One senior is on the club roster in Hahnville’s Amber Hood. Everyone else is an expected starter for their respective high school teams next season – as well as the club. Many of the players are playing up in their age group – including Martin and Ledet, the former the playoffs MVP, the latter the club’s captain and midfielder at just 14-years of age and an 8th grader at Harry Hurst.
“She’s going to be exceptional – she’s already an excellent player,” Deger said. “She knows the game.”
The St. Charles club has had its success against larger clubs as well that draw from deeper talent pools.
“Some clubs are picking from 150 kids, whereas we’re picking from about 20,” Deger said. “We’re proud of coming from a small community and doing what we’re doing … we aren’t drawing kids from New Orleans. Everyone is local, in this parish.”
Ultimately, the team’s success is only good for the game locally, something that’s becoming more noticeable as Hahnville/Destrehan rivalry battles are increasing in stakes and intensity by the year