The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

June 18, 2013

Youth soccer: Local club team playing for national championship

By Jon Gerardi

The Daily Item

As the girls on North Union United 99F Strikers huddled around after a tough 1-0 win against Massachusetts, Strikers coach and North Union United Soccer Club president Frank Omlor was a bit speechless at what they accomplished, to say the least.

The win itself allowed the Strikers to capture the Region 1 championship at the President's Cup level of youth soccer, but more importantly, it made league history.

North Union United has had just two state cup champions since 1998 (when the league first formed), both Challenge Cup boys champions.

Not only did the Strikers become the first girls team to win a state cup championship at any level, but they were the first to win a President's Cup in the area and the first team -- boys or girls -- to claim a Region 1 championship.

In youth soccer, there are three levels of state cup in Pennsylvania: the Challenge Cup (lowest), the President's Cup and the National Championship Series.

"All the hard work they've put in for years and for years with soccer and this team: it's the pinnacle of youth soccer," Omlor said. "Only thing that can be better is winning a national championship and we don't know what we're up against, but we're going in with (the) mindset that we want to put on the best performance and win the whole thing. It's incredible (to get here)."

In the President's Cup, four regions represent various states and each compete in July to determine a national champion. Region 1 -- which the Strikers won -- comprises the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England regions and is made up of 14 different states.

The President's Cup tournament starts on July 11 and runs until July 14 in Auburndale, Fla., with the four region champions playing each other the first three days, and a championship and consolation game set up on the 14.

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