By Cary Shuman
Eric Moreno Sr. and his son, Eric Moreno Jr., have big plans for the current Lynn soccer community and for future players who hope to take their games beyond high school.
Moreno Sr., who still plays competitively in the Salem Over-40 Division 1 league, is the head coach of the Lynn United men’s soccer team that competes in Division 1 of the Massachusetts State Soccer League (MSSL). Moreno Jr., a former player at Bishop Fenwick and Salem State where his team earned an NCAA Tournament berth, is the team’s general manager. The 24-year-old soccer star holds a degree in Exercise Science.
Lynn United, who opens its second season Sunday at Manning Field, advanced to the second round of the United States Amateur Soccer Association (USASA) playoffs in its inaugural campaign in 2015.
“The uniqueness of the MSSL is that you have numerous opportunities to play in major Cup tournaments and compete against professional teams.” said Eric Moreno Jr., whose college teammate, Jovan Sempa, plays for Lynn United.
Moreno said the level of play is highly competitive. “It is the premier open club league for men in Massachusetts,” said Moreno. “We have players from Uganda, Nigeria, Colombia, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Haiti, Algeria, Portugal, France, Venezuela and Italy. It’s a very diverse team and the skills you see are amazing.”
He noted the presence on the Lynn United roster of Lynn Classical alumni Salvador Castro, Kevin Kakou, Joelle Reyes, and Dami Dada.
Moreno had praise for Manning Field and its field director, John Kasian. “We have a great facility and it’s actually one of the only fields that is a stadium where fans can sit down and enjoy the games.”
Metro Credit Union, whose branch office in Lynn is managed by Eric’s mother, Diana Moreno, is a Gold Sponsor of the team. The World Cup Sponsor is A. James Lynn Real Estate and Insurance of Lynn. The team colors are royal blue, gold and black.
“We’re very excited about the new season,” said Eric Moreno Jr. “Soccer is extremely popular in Lynn. If you go to the fields in Lynn, you’re going to see people playing soccer. We’d love to get the whole community behind us.”
Lynn United’s plans for the future include the establishing of a Lynn-based club team for young players.
“We want to bring an elite soccer team to the Under-18 system in Lynn to complement their play in Lynn Youth Soccer,” said Moreno, an LYS graduate. “The players in Lynn Youth Soccer are very good. We want players to have the opportunity to also be able to play in a highly competitive league at a young age. We want to provide college advice for these players and help these kids reach their full potential on and off the field..”
Admission to Lynn United home games is free.