We had a phenomenal year in 2017. Four different teams were fighting for a spot in the playoff right until the final whistle. Euless Junior High got closer to the Champions Cup than ever before. Students from all three participating schools started in our inaugural All-Star game. It's safe to say that last year's campaign was our best yet.
And we're going to blow it out of the water this season.
New Kids on the Pitch
Word of the league spread through the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District last year, and students without a program petitioned their principal for the chance to participate. With approval from all three founding schools, Bedford Junior High will join the league in 2018. Bedford United is slated to open the season against Real Euless this Wednesday.
The Broncos will sport Red and Blue hoops, distinguishing them from other squads with similar colors from week to week. They also have the unique advantage of a concentrated talent pool: every other campus is forced to split their talent between two teams. That should place the newcomers right in the middle of the pack in their inaugural season. From there, they might even sneak into the Champions Cup Match.
We're excited to welcome twenty more students to the league, but perhaps the biggest addition is the legacy of a player who never touched the field in HEB. Doctors diagnosed Zeb Montgomery with Acute Myeloid Leukemia when he was just 13. After an 18-month battle, he went home to the Lord. But his legacy will live on in Liga HEB.
Zeb, who played his soccer north of us in Benbrook, told his family that he wanted to help other kids play the sport that he loved. They launched Zeb's Foundation to honor the fourteen-year-old and distributed over 1,500 soccer balls in more than a dozen nations in 2016. Now, they'll be supporting our players. Keep an eye out for their logo on donated equipment this year; they're helping to cover our every need, from soccer balls to shin guards.
Get in the Game
For the first time ever, we're offering the soccer-loving members of our community a chance to sponsor a player in Liga HEB. As part of our efforts to become more sustainable without passing any costs to the students we serve, we've launched a soccer-specific giving page. Community members can sponsor an individual player for $65, and companies can sign on to sponsor a full team for $2,500.
Of course, that's not the only way to plug in with Liga HEB. If you're looking to mentor a player, donate equipment, or even help on the sidelines, we've got a place for you. Drop by the Support Page for more information, including team sponsorship details and a full list of volunteer opportunities.
Every Week Counts
This year's schedule is a tidy round-robin that sees each club play the others only once. That format raises the stakes in each match, especially with head-to-head play serving as the first tiebreaker for playoff eligibility. We still have an All-Star game to break up the action and a flex week before the Champions Cup Match in case of inclement weather. But, importantly, every team will have one week off during the season.
These “bye” weeks are a great opportunity for players to give back. Students who aren't playing will be available on the sidelines to assist with ball control. They'll also be able to connect with volunteers on hand to deliver postgame snacks. Because of our partnership with the 6 Stones New Hope Center, we will be able to provide food for our players — many of whom qualify for Free-Reduced lunch — on a weekly basis.