A group of young players set to join the Philadelphia Union Pre-Academy this fall recently beat up on teams from France, Portugal and Singapore en route to lifting a trophy at the IberCup in Portugal.
The U9 team from Continental FC earned a berth to the prestigious tournament in qualifiers down in Texas in the spring. While they were there they outscored opponents 40-4, winning all seven of their matches.
“The pure joy of the boys when they won both championships was amazing,” head coach Scott Spangler said of both the Dallas and Portugal performances. “Those are the moments and memories you never forget.”
Spangler said the team, which scored eight or more goals in three of the games, played its best game in the championship, a 3-0 win over Portuguese club CF Os Belenenses. Continental beat Belenenses 2-1 in a group match.
They also beat French clubs FC Francoville (8-2) and RC Joinville (13-0), Portuguese clubs GD Estoril Praia (4-1) and Benfica EF Estadio (8-0) and Singapore club Turf City FC (2-0).
“Winning this tournament is a reflection of the Continental FC mission and its focus on player growth,” Development Academy coach Zac Tassone said. “It shows that with proper training, environment and player commitment that athletes in our region can compete and experience success on the highest stage. We are very proud of this group and excited for their continued growth on and off the field.”
Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin took notice of the accomplishment, mentioning it in a press conference last week at Power Training Complex when answering a question about soccer in Philadelphia.
“It got almost no publicity but there’s a little U9 team of eight year olds that literally just won the most prestigious international soccer tournament in Portugal,” Curtin said. “Our eight-year-olds kicked the butt of a lot of big time clubs.”
The roster for the Continental U9 Dortmund team included Dylan Arrison, Matheus De Paula, Gunnar Graham, Jordan Griffin, Pedro Guimaraes, Nehan Hasan, Connor Murphy, Max Owusu-Antwi, Annise Saidi, James Soler, Cavan Sullivan and Vincent Uglow.
All 12 are among a group of 34 players from Continental FC’s 2008 teams that will be joining the new Union Pre-Academy at YSC Sports this fall.
“We are excited to track their progress and wish the best in the future for all of them,” Spangler said. “It has been a pleasure to be able to help them develop and reach the next level.”