Hammer FC keeps on truckin’; East Regional play is up next

Dorchester boys from the U18 team (left to right: Lorkens Exumat, Owen Murray, Brener Cardoso, Eben Butler).

The local soccer club Hammer FC, which includes boys from Dorchester and across Boston, was victorious in the Massachusetts State Cup competition on June 3. As a result, both the U18 and the U19 teams will be playing in the East Coast Regional tournament in Virginia at the end of this month (June 28-July 1). This will be the fourth consecutive year that the team currently playing at U19 has made it to regionals, and the second straight year for the team playing at U18. No team in the club has ever made it to Nationals, which will be held in Texas in July this year.

Hank George, who founded the club in 2006 and currently serves as its head coach and director, says the club is about more than the competition: it’s about who the players are. About 80 percent of the team is made up of inner-city kids. And in comparison to clubs across the country similar in size and make-up, Hammer FC ranks near the top in matches won.

George will be renting two vans to take the teams to their games in Virginia. The experience, he says, “brings us closer together. We are one big family.”

He added, “I’m just trying to make a difference, to put these kids on the right path. Most of these guys have been with me since they were kids; I pretty much raised them. It’s a lot of work, but everything is bearing fruit right now. It takes a village to raise a family.”

The coach’s efforts have been fruitful for a while with Hammer FC players moving on to play for Division 1 schools and professional teams. Others who have gained scholarships to play college soccer have been the first in their family to find themselves on a campus.

When asked about these successes, George says, “That’s the beauty of it. It makes all the time I spent, all the heartaches, sleepless nights, countless hours worth it in the end.”

To donate to Hammer FC, or to learn more about the team and tryouts, visit hammerfutbol.com.