ORLANDO, FL — A familiar face will be on the sidelines Sunday morning as PA Dominion will look to capture another James P. McGuire Cup for Eastern Pennsylvania.
Mike Gorni, who twice won the oldest trophy in youth sports with Lehigh Valley United (2019 and 2013), is looking to lead a third team in what would be his eighth national championship as a coach.
Eastern Pennsylvania teams have won the trophy awarded to the 19U Boys national champion 10 times dating back to the first of Lighthouse’s five titles in 1938, the fourth year of the competition. That's the second most of any state to Missouri's 22.
“It means a great deal,” Gorni said. “I’ll have 50-100 texts this afternoon from people who have been in the McGuire Cup. The McGuire Cup of all the championships you can have it’s the oldest trophy and it’s also the oldest age group before they no longer can play. Their youth careers are done so there’s a lot to it.”
PA Dominion will play Inland Surf in a rematch of a game the two teams played at ESPN Wide World of Sports in National League P.R.O. last December. PA Dominion won the match 2-0 but both teams have been able to bolster their rosters with 2004 birth year players who were freshmen in college last fall.
The match will be broadcast live on ESPNU beginning at 8 a.m. Veteran broadcaster Dean Linke and Dr. Sari Rose, an NWSL broadcaster and US Youth Soccer's Senior Manager for Grassroots Soccer, will be on the call.
“It’s an honor to be associated with the oldest youth tournament for all sports in America,” Linke said. “For me it never gets old because the trophy is so majestic and it means so much to these young players, most of them who have played together for a long, long time.”
PA Dominion will look to put an exclamation point on their undefeated season by lifting that majestic trophy. Their 2-2 draw to advance out of group play with Oregon Premier Academy was the first time they’ve not won a game all season. They came back in that game with a late equalizer to advance out of the group.
“We’ve been working at this for five, six years,” said Seth Michalak, who scored the second goal for PA Dominion in the semifinal. “We came here five years ago for the first time and lost in the national championship and it’s our first time back. It feels really good and I’m so proud of the boys.”
PA Dominion 2004s are the lone team from Eastern Pennsylvania with a chance to win a national title on Sunday. PA Dominion’s 2005 team were on the wrong side of a 3-2 score line in their semifinal and Penn FC Youth Lightning 2004, Keystone FC Premier 2006 Girls and Lower Merion SC Thunder 2008 Boys all came up short in semifinals on Saturday.