FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Now more than three-quarters of the way through his first season as a member of the New England Revolution Under-16 team, Natick’s David Hepp is thriving in the prestigious U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Before joining the Revs, Hepp spent three seasons with Mass Premier Soccer, and was named to both the U14 and U15 Super Y-League Nationals All-Star teams. His performance with the club earned him outside recognition and he was invited to train with the Revolution.
“I expected to it be a high level,” the Natick native said of his new club. “The Academy is the best league in the country. You’re playing with the best players, so it’s better competition and higher intensity.”
As a goalkeeper, the Revolution affords Hepp the opportunity to train regularly with a position-specific coach.
“David has taken to life at this level admirably,” said goalkeepers coach Karl Spratt. “He has really shown his talent and, more importantly, his will and commitment to improve.”
While Spratt notes a marked improvement in Hepp’s ability to spark an offensive attack by distributing the ball out from the back, the Revs’ goalkeeper strives to continue his development as a player.
“My personal goal is to keep a goals against average under 1.00 through the end of the season,” he stated. “And to keep getting invited back to [U.S. Soccer] training centers.”
Twenty-one games in to the Revolution’s schedule, Hepp is well on his way, having allowed only 12 goals in his 12 games played and posting four shut outs. The young Rev has also been selected to attend two U.S. Soccer Training Centers this year.
Looking further ahead, Hepp will enter the 2011 high school soccer season as Natick’s first-ever junior captain. Having known the coach for a few years, the Bay State All-Star feels confident in his ability to lead the team.
“It will be a young team, so it’s going to be a project,” explained Hepp. “But I definitely love to work with the new guys and help bring them into the system. “
Beyond that, the he hopes to extend his playing career through college and continue on to play professional soccer.
“Playing in Major League Soccer would be great, especially coming up through the Revs’ system,” said Hepp. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about anything else – it’s just that I love playing soccer and I want my life to revolve around that.”
The New England Revolution Under-16s (9-6-6) are local next weekend, when they will play first place Empire United on Saturday, May 21, and fellow playoff contenders Seacoast United on Sunday, May 22. Both days’ matches will be played at Durfee High School in Fall River, Mass.