"At the end of the (Region 1 title) match, we were pretty much speechless, but we did tell them there's only 17 girls in Pennsylvania and 17 girls in 14 states of Region 1 that can say they're President Cup champions at (the) Youth 13 level and why not be the first 17 girls to say they're national champs?" Omlor said. "They've already made history, let's continue to make a little more history in the middle of July. (We) kind of left them with that."
The Strikers lost last year in the playoffs in a quarterfinal game in penalty kicks after double overtime. While that loss stung for a little while, the Strikers used it as motivation and responded with solid play since. The Strikers won the state cup semifinal and championship games both 2-1 before blanking New York in the Region 1 semifinals, 1-0, and topping Massachusetts -- a team they lost to in pool play -- 1-0.
All in all, it simply speaks to the talented soccer in the Valley area.
"The quality has grown tremendously in this area. You see this in high school. Most high school kids coming out of local schools (and) kids that receive scholarships or move on, I guarantee you they have a club soccer background," Omlor said.
That club soccer background is evident by simply glancing at a list of The Daily Item Soccer All-Stars from last year:
Selinsgrove's David Aurand, Chuck Peeler, Dustin Moyer and Ian Gemberling; Midd-West's Austin Good and Colton Keister; Warrior Run's Austin Bower and Elias George; Danville's Robert Gentellucci, Chris Dempsey and Logan Martz; East Juniata's Spencer Reinford; Lewisburg's Bronson Ferster, Kerry Shutt, Bryan Speake and Logan Cho.
Those local athletes all played club soccer for a U-18 Santos team coached by former Lewisburg High School coach Shawn Callender, a team that travels to play various teams across the state, much like the Strikers do.