While their main focus Sunday morning was beating North Union United to book a return trip to the Presidents Cup finals, the girls on Steel United PA’s 2009 team had also planned ahead a way to honor some of their biggest and most vocal fans: their mothers.
After sealing a 3-0 victory with two late goals, the Steel United PA girls rushed to the sideline to pick up flowers they could bring over to their mothers on the opposite sideline.
After their post-game talk with head coach Heather O'Rourke they greeted the waiting moms and handed them each flowers.
“She's my biggest supporter and our team's biggest supporter, I feel like,” Caitlin Kraus said of her mom, Jessie Kraus. “She's always just been there for me.”
The flower gesture was one of several on the day as the players’ dads arranged for drinks and bagels for the mom before the 10:30 a.m. kickoff at Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova.
“There’s nothing I would rather do on Mother’s Day morning than be here with all of the other ladies watching our girls play,” said Kraus, of Ardmore. “They’ve been playing together since first and second grade so it’s been a lifetime of playing together.”
From left: Ella Pintof with her mom, Geneen; Sora McCrae with her mom, Tyreese and Caitlin Kraus with her mom, Jessie
The bond of the girls on and off the field has only strengthened in the year since they last won the Presidents Cup and traveled to regionals together in West Virginia. Their parents have formed similar bonds along the way cheering their daughters on from the sidelines.
“This is a really, really special group,” said Geneen Pintof, of Springfield, whose daughter Ella plays on the team.
This isn’t the first time Tyreese McCrea, of Villanova, has been at a soccer field on Mother’s Day. She has an older son and daughter who have played in cup competitions before that have fallen on the second Sunday of May. She had her youngest of five children - an infant - in tow on Sunday watching as her daughter Sora help lock down the back line for another clean sheet.
“They’re a good bunch and they’re really good friends, which I think helps them to come to competitions like this, play hard and win,” Tyreese said.
With their return to the final booked, Steel United PA will play Warrington SC Storm on Saturday at 8:15 a.m. at United Sports Training Center.