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The Path Podcast: Who’s the kid on the U.S. Open Cup squad?

University of Pennsylvania-bound midfielder Alex Kades has been the youngest contributor in West Chester United’s run to the U.S. Open Cup

Alex Kades pushes forward in the attack in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier in November 2018 against VE
Photo by Matt Ralph

Last weekend was prom for the seniors at Harriton High School, but for senior Alex Kades it was one of a couple activities on his calendar. The other was training with West Chester United ahead of their Tuesday night Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match in Baltimore against FC Baltimore Christos.

West Chester United are back in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the second time in club history and the first time since 2016. Kades was 15 when he attended the club’s last Open Cup game against the Harrisburg City Islanders in front of an overflow crowd in West Chester.

Now as he prepares to head off to college at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, he’s a teammate of the guys who will try to survive and advance to face a professional side in the second round in Birmingham, Alabama next week.

I caught up with Alex recently to talk about being the kid on a team with seasoned former D1 college players and how he dealt with the disappointment of being initially placed on the D team in his age group at his local club Lower Merion SC, where he also serves as a coach.

The Path is a podcast where I talk to players, coaches, fans and other people involved in the beautiful game about the many places the game has taken them and their experiences along the way. If you have an idea for a future episode, email matthew.r.ralph@gmail.com.