NCAA Division II Player of the Year leads PDL in assists and will face his former club in Saturday's Eastern Conference Semifinal.
The Trinidad & Tobago native was an All-PDL selection with the Charlotte Eagles last year and will face them in the conference semifinals on Saturday.
Nathan Regis, the senior from Pfeiffer University (Richfield, NC) joined the Ocean City Nor’easters this year after an exceptional season for the Pfeiffer Falcons. Regis' 32 goals and 7 assists in 25 games earned him the NCAA Division II Player of the Year award and helped his school win a national championship.
Now, with the Nor'easters, he's seeking another national title.
“It’s exciting, to have other teammates from Pfeiffer (Martim Galvao, Cristobal Allendes, Thomas Correa) here playing and working toward another national title after winning the Division II national title," said Regis. "We’ve been talking about it, imagining if we could win another title in the PDL so close to school athletics. It’d be interesting and make our futures bright and prosperous, that’s the kind of things professional clubs notice and it will help us to enter the professional game. We all aspire to be professionals, so it’s exciting.”
The Trinidad & Tobago native has overcome many hardships on his long road to get where he is today.
“Growing up nothing was given to me, it was hard,” said Regis.
His father tragically passed away in 2004 and his mother raised him alone with his two siblings.
“It was difficult because we were poor but we were blessed by God," said Regis. "We spent time in the church and we were able to get into contact with people who could help us and that’s how ultimately I was able to come to the U.S. The Lord was able to gravitate the right people around me and to help financially, morally and physically. It’s really a blessing that I’m able to be here now with [the Nor'easters].”
Before arriving at The Beach House in Ocean City, Regis played for the Charlotte Eagles, the Nor'easters' opponent in Saturday's PDL Eastern Conference Semifinal (5 p.m. kickoff in Reading, Pa.). The team had recently joined the PDL after several years as a professional franchise. The team was very convenient since it was close to his university.
In Charlotte, he got a chance to showcase his skills. Regis finished his first season in the PDL by finishing second in goals with all and being named to the All-PDL team.
“It was easy, we were winning and on a roll," said Regis. "We had no losses and only four draws so we were undefeated and won the conference. It was a great team with great coaches and teammates”.
Like many players, it was a difficult decision when trying to figure out what team to play for this summer. Ultimately, Regis decided to step outside his comfort zone of playing in North Carolina and headed north to the Jersey Shore.
“My thought process was that it was the toughest conference in terms of teams Ocean City played," said Regis. "When I saw MLS-affiliated teams, I thought that would be a good challenge for myself. To be number one in the nation in Division II you can be complacent, so being in an atmosphere and an environment that allows me to challenge myself, so I felt it could propel me into the 2016 season at Pfeiffer as well."
Since arriving at Ocean City, he has continued that same high level of play, but he has found himself as more of a playmaker with so much offensive talent around him. This year, he became the first Ocean City player to lead the league in assists and he also tied the Nor'easters club record for assists in a season with nine. He also scored six goals which ranked second on the team in scoring with 21 points.
Among his accomplishments this year, he also tied the Ocean City club single-game record by dishing out three assists in a 4-3 road loss to Reading United on June 25.
It has been a special connection between Regis and Chevaughn "Chevy" Walsh. Seven of Regis' nine assists were to set up Walsh. As a result, Walsh has had a record-breaking season as he broke the club record for goals in a season (14) and becoming the first Ocean City player to win the PDL scoring title.
Helping with the transition to a new team in a new part of the country, Regis has enjoyed having three other Pfeiffer teammates with him in Ocean City: Martim Galvao, Thomas Correa and Cristobal Allendes.
“It gives you a level of comfort [to have your college teammates with you]," said Regis. "It’s exciting to know the developmental process coming from school to summer works so well. I can tell, being their captain, I can tell individually they’re getting better whether it be with communication, or technical and tactical aspects. We have a good repertoire as we put all these pieces of the puzzle together and making sure individually they’re getting even better so next season will be really good for them and have all the pieces they need to make sure we can be successful again.”
The Charlotte Eagles will be the Nor’easters' next opponent in the PDL playoffs as Regis will have to face his former club.
“It’s is very important [to play against the Eagles in the playoffs],” he said, “I respect my old club because they are good and have good coaching but it's whoever works the hardest on that day will be victorious, and I encourage my teammates to do just that.”
Regis has a unique ability to use both size and speed to take advantage of defenders, coupled with his footwork and on the ball intelligence, Regis is a top prospect in the PDL as well as in the collegiate soccer world. With his performances at the NCAA and PDL level, Regis should find himself on professional team's roster next season.
The Nor’easters will face the Charlotte Eagles at Don Thomas Stadium in Reading, Pa. on Saturday, July 23. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. with the winner advancing to the conference final on Sunday against the winner of the Carolina Dynamo and Reading United.
For more information on the Ocean City Nor'easters or to "Follow the Storm" on social media, go to www.oceancityfc.com/followthestorm or text "FOLLOWTHESTORM" to 22828 to join the "Storm Watch" e-newsletter.
The Ocean City Nor’easters is a professionally run amateur soccer club with the focus of developing, educating and promoting soccer, health and leadership. Located in Ocean City, New Jersey, “America’s Greatest Family Resort”, the Nor’easters provide quality entertainment to families throughout the Tri-State area and the thousands of visitors every summer.
The Nor’easters organization was established in 1996 and made Carey Stadium, in Ocean City, NJ, its permanent home in 2005. Competing in North America’s top amateur league, the Premier Development League (PDL), the Nor’easters provide the highest level of soccer in Southern New Jersey. The 65-team PDL is the 4th level of soccer in the United States, below the professional leagues; Major League Soccer (MLS), North American Soccer League (NASL) and United Soccer League (USL). As part of the PDL, the Nor’easters’ have the sixth-best overall record since joining the league in 2003 and have upset five professional teams in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, third-most of any amateur team in the country. Ocean City players have the ability to compete during the summer months in a professional environment while maintaining their collegiate eligibility and pursuing their academic goals.