One local youth soccer club put its name on the national map this past weekend.Chesco Premier - a team comprised of players from area high schools, including Kennett and Unionville - captured the prestigious US Youth Soccer National Director's Cup Under-16 championship last Sunday morning at the Kirkwood Soccer Club in Kirkwood, Del.
The team is coached by Pete Dicce, who is also the Kennett High School varsity soccer coach. In addition, Chesco Premier featured one player from Kennett High School, three from Unionville and three from Avon Grove.
The National Director's Cup was made up of the top-four teams in the country from four separate regions: Chesco Premier, the New York Kosmos, Texas and the Nevada Red Devils.
The tournament begin last Friday with round-robin play. Chesco Premier finished first in the group after going 1-0-2 and then advanced to the championship game to face second place Nevada.
In the finals last Sunday morning, Chesco Premier defeated Nevada by a score of 2-1 in double overtime. Jake Shorr of Westtown scored the game-winning goal with 10 seconds remaining in 2OT to give Chesco Premier the dramatic victory in the national tournament.
What made the triumph even sweeter was the fact that each of the three other teams built their rosters by taking the best players in the state, while Chesco Premier on the other hand is made up solely of players in the southern Chester County portion of Pennsylvania.
"It goes to show that we have a very talented group of players in this area, and they can compete at a very high level," said Dicce. "I think winning this tournament speaks for itself on behalf of these boys.
"To have all these players concentrated in one area - it was exciting and a lot of fun. We had to beat the Nevada state champions twice. They had also won the entire western part of the United States region. We also had to beat a team from Texas that had won the whole southeastern region. Our kids played at a level that they probably have never played at before, and I couldn't be more proud of them. They really earned it, because not only was the competition difficult, but the humidity was high throughout the tournament."
Chesco Premier featured one player from Kennett High School: sophomore midfielder Roberto Silva; three players from Unionville High School: junior goalie Cory White, junior back Dean Hristopoulos and junior forward Hayden White; three players from Avon Grove High School: junior center midfielder Greg Anderson, junior left back Kevin O'Brien and junior midfielder Max Campbell; one player from Oxford High School: junior back/midfielder Chris Marchand; and six players from Octorara, two from Garnet Valley and two from Westtown.
"A lot of these guys, probably half of them, I've coached since they were under the age of nine," said Dicce. "They've played together for quite a while."
In just its first year of competition, Chesco Premier is a combination of Octorara United and the Southern Chester County Soccer Association's Celtics. Chesco won the Region 1 title earlier this summer to advance to the US Youth Soccer National Director's Cup.
"We kinda came into the tournament under the radar," said assistant coach Paul Anderson, who is also an assistant coach at Avon Grove High. "We played really hard and made the most of an opportunity that doesn't come along very often - maybe once in a lifetime. It put our team, and southern Chester County, really on the map.
"To put it into perspective, this was the second most important tournament in the country. There were a lot of scouts there and these kinds of things help generate interest locally to get the younger kids in the area playing."
From the Southern Chester County Weekly's Paper (http://www.southernchestercountyweeklies.com/article/SC/20080724/TMP02/307249842)