Four division teams - Cherokee, Cherry Hill East, Shawnee, and Washington Township - have appeared in the top five of The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings this season.
Currently at the bottom of the division is Cherry Hill East (3-3-1), a team that ranked No. 3 in last week's poll and one coming off a tie against previous No. 1 Cherokee. Still, early in the season, every team has at least one division loss, and no hierarchy appears to be shaking out.
"It's good for the kids because every game is a different type of challenge," Snyder said. "If you don't play well every game, you're going to lose."
Snyder said he wouldn't be surprised if his Minutemen (5-1-1) sported five players with 10-plus goals this year - something helpful in a division filled with top defenses. The Minutemen's scoring efforts are led by senior midfielder Eric Jordan, who has five goals.
"He's always the most dynamic player on the field," Snyder said. "He's quick. He's aggressive. He likes a challenge."
Cherokee has owned the American Division in recent seasons. And the Chiefs started this season on a roll, winning its first four games by a combined 15-1. But Cherokee went on to tie Shawnee, lose to Washington Township, and tie Cherry Hill East in consecutive games.
"From top to bottom, there's no dominant team and there's no team that you could really consider to be weak," said Lenape coach Chris Foley, whose Indians (5-3) own losses to Cherokee and Eastern and wins over Cherry Hill East, Washington Township, and Shawnee. "It will probably come down to the wire."
An Snyder sees it, the grueling regular-season schedule is likely to prime his team for a playoff run, in which the Minutemen likely will see some of their division foes again.
But there are some caveats to the constant challenge.
"You're going to get some kids banged up and nicked up because it's such a tough schedule," Snyder said. "So it's good for us, but we do need to focus on staying healthy. All six teams could win a South Jersey championship this year. But we want to make sure we make it through this regular season."
A good cause. Look out for plenty of area teams raising money for cancer awareness. Over the next two weeks, the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association will be sponsoring Coaches vs. Cancer for these teams:
Boys: Holy Cross, Shawnee, Burlington City, Eastern, and Winslow Township. Girls: Cherokee, Cherry Hill East, Cumberland, Eastern, Moorestown, Pitman, Holy Cross, Shawnee, Seneca, Kingsway, Williamstown, Cherry Hill West, Rancocas Valley, Burlington City, Buena, Winslow, Triton, Absegami, Cedar Creek, Paul VI, and Cinnaminson.
Contact Chris Melchiorre at firstname.lastname@example.org.