Ukrainian Nationals Win Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s D’Anjolell Award
Plymouth Meeting, PA— In recognition of Ukrainian Nationals’ tremendous commitment to and development of soccer for all ages and abilities, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is proud to distinguish the club as its D’Anjolell Award winner for 2015.
The D’Anjolell Award is handed out each year to a club or league that dedicates itself to growing soccer across all levels of play. This includes travel teams, recreational leagues, special needs programs, and support of the Olympic Development Program.
Ukrainian Nationals will be honored on Saturday, March 12th as part of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Annual Awards Banquet. The event will be held at the Philadelphia Marriott West in West Conshohocken. For more information about the Awards Reception and how to purchase tickets please visit EPYSA.org/events/awards_reception.
“Ukrainian Nationals is one of the great historic clubs in the United States,” says Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer President Jim Kuntz. “We’re proud that they continue to grow and support soccer in our community.”
Ukrainian Nationals was founded in 1950 with an emphasis on soccer. The club won four US Open Cups in five trips to the finals in the 1960’s, achieving national acclaim in the process. They remain the last Philadelphia team to win the cup. Also known as Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals and Philadelphia Ukrainians, the club is well represented in the Union Hall of Fame and Soccer Hall of Fame. Many professional, amateur and youth players have worn the red and black striped uniform.
In the last decade, the club has made an effort to develop its youth soccer programs. The club now boasts more than 40 travel teams and 500 registered players as well as a TOPSoccer Program that debuted in 2015. To provide player development, the club added Omid Namazi, who currently serves as Head Coach of the U18 US Men’s National Team, Director of Soccer. To support year around training, the club is about to break ground on a full-field, lighted artificial turf training facility. The facilities and especially the clubhouse have always served as a means to build camaraderie, friendships and long-lasting memories.
In addition to promoting their own youth teams, Ukrainian Nationals runs two tournaments that help the club give back to the community. The first outreach event is the Memorial Day Weekend Tournament. The club partners with military veterans through the Travis Manion Foundation and decorates the club’s grounds in red, white and blue. The club honors local fallen heroes by displaying their biographies and photographs throughout the tournament venues.
The Columbus Day Weekend Tournament benefits another worthy organization and cause, Fox Chase Cancer Center and raises awareness for breast cancer. The event is highlighted by illuminating its showcase soccer field with 2000 luminaries in honor and remembrance of the victims and survivors of the disease.
“Ukrainian Nationals look to a very bright future to provide the best possible environment and experience for our players, coaches, trainers and parents and to support the Eastern Pennsylvania community we serve,” says club President Dan Nysch. “We are honored to be recognized by Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer.”
The D’Anjolell Award is named in honor of Ron and Betty D’Anjolell, two luminaries of the youth soccer community both in Eastern Pennsylvania and beyond. Ron served as the association’s president from 1983-87 and as the Region I Girls ODP Chair from 1986-88. He succeeded his wife Betty in that role when she moved to the National Chair of Girls ODP. Betty is best remembered for laying the foundation for the United States Women’s National Team. She also became the first female executive in Major League Soccer history when she joined D.C. United in 1995. D.C. won the MLS Cup twice in Betty’s three years with the club.
In the later years of her life, Betty returned to work with Lansdowne Soccer Club, proving that her heart remained in Eastern Pennsylvania. Ron and she both sought to foster the sport in the region, a characteristic that defines their legacy.