GLOUCESTER TWP. – Although its team name and club affiliation have changed, the success of a South Jersey girls’ soccer team has not wavered in the least. In fact, regardless of the team’s formal name, you can simply call them winners.
The New Jersey Rush 02 Blue Girls team, based out of Gloucester Township, previously known as the RAGE FC Premier Renegades, captured their fifth overall New Jersey State Cup championship on Sun. Nov. 8 at Twin Pines Fields in Pennington. The team includes four local girls and a local head coach.
Rush Blue turned aside N.J. Rush 02 Girls Grey (based out of Hamilton Township), 3-2 in the National Championship Series title game to emerge as the champion in the 21-team bracket. The victory also qualifies the team for regional play this coming summer in West Virginia.
In the most recent GotSoccer.com rankings the team, consisting of players considered under-13 years old, is ranked No. 1 in the state, the region and the country. Harrison Township resident Bill Shute is the head coach, and he was named New Jersey Youth Soccer’s Bob McNulty Coach of the Year for 2013 and was recognized at the NJYS Annual Awards Dinner in January 2014.
Over the past year, the girls have a record of 46-6-3. The team won the Eastern Development Program Cup Tournament held at the Tuckahoe Turf Farm in Hammonton over Columbus Day weekend and won the EDP 1st Division South league championship this fall. In the spring, the team also won the EDP 1st Division South league championship while also capturing the 2015 Jefferson Cup Girls’ Weekend title in Virginia.
It was the team’s second Jefferson Cup title and many of the nation’s top clubs participate.
Prior to earning its most recent state cup championship, the group captured two NJ Youth Soccer State Cup Championships and two U.S. Club Soccer-NJ State Cup Championships while under the RAGE FC Premier banner. In the spring of 2015, RAGE FC Premier and N.J. Rush decided on a merger which brought all of the RAGE FC Premier teams to New Jersey Rush.
Team members include Paulina and Rebecca Casper, and Mia Shute of Mullica Hill as well as Alexi Murphy of Woolwich Township.