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Real Jersey FC 2004 boys show their quality against MLS Next competition

The defending national champion 2004 boys team hosted Players Development Academy at a showcase event and won 5-3

Matt Ralph

South Jersey club Real Jersey FC hosted a showcase event last weekend and one of the highlights was a battle between their 2004 boys team and MLS Next opponent Players Development Academy on Saturday.

Fresh off helping lead Shawnee High School to a Group 4 regional title, forward Andrew Kitch had a hat trick and Cade McGrath and Julian Pittoulis also added goals for the hosts. PDA scored three times on set pieces, including a penalty that was initially stopped by the Real keeper but trickled in past the line.

Real Jersey’s 2004 team, coached by Jon Kopytko, won the U.S. Youth Soccer national championship in 2019 but because of Covid weren’t able to defend their title when all tournaments and events were shut down.

Their team features a number of familiar faces both with ties to the Philadelphia Union Academy - Nico Rubio and Pittoulis both spent time with the Union — and local high school programs. Rubio starred for Egg Harbor Township, McGrath plays for Moorestown and Kitch, his brother Charles, Tyler Davidson and a couple others on the team play for Shawnee.

Milton Jones, a speedy winger who gave the PDA back line fits plays soccer at Berkshire Academy in Massachusetts and Dylan Petke, son of former Real Salt Lake and New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke, is a midfielder on the team, which is based in Medford but attracts talent from around the region.

Below is a photo gallery from the match.