2018 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Team of the Year: Ukrainian Nationals
To celebrate the 2018 year in soccer, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is introducing a new annual award: Team of the Year. The Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Team of the Year Award will go to a club team that succeeded at the state, regional and/or national level, while positively representing the state association on and off the field.
Congratulations to the four candidates: Keystone FC Premier 03 (2003 girls), Philadelphia Soccer Club Coppa Swarm (2004 girls), Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals Black (2005 boys), Vereinigung Erzgebirge Green Gunners (2002 boys).
We'll profile each team before announcing the inaugural Team of the Year Award winner on Tuesday, December 11. The winner will be recognized at the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, February 22, at the Sheraton Valley Forge.
|Team of the Year: Ukrainian Nationals make history at historic club
Club: Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals
Team Name: Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals Black
- Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup Champions
- US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Champions
- US Youth Soccer National Championships fourth place
- Jefferson Cup Champions
The Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals is one of the most famous brands in American soccer, so anytime a record is set at the club it's a big deal. In 2018, the Ukrainian Nationals Black (2005 boys) became the youngest team in club history to reach a US Youth Soccer National Championship. The Ukrainians finished fourth in the nation and drew 1-1 with eventual champion CDA Slammers FC (Cal-South). This came after state and regional championships for the Ukrainians, the latter requiring comebacks from 2-1, and 3-2. The Ukrainians eventually won the region in penalties.
They said it
"The boys never gave up. And honestly all this is preparation. They trained six nights in a row before we left Philadelphia to come here. And it's all about the parents believing in the program, the players believing in the program and the coaches' dedication (to the team)." - Roben Qawasmy, Head Coach, Ukrainian Nationals Black
The Ukrainian Nationals' run to nationals was a full club effort--two players were called up from lower teams after injuries left the first team short on players. Jake Freedman, a midfielder, and Joseph Turano, a defender, were each named to the US Youth Soccer National Championships Best XI team.