LVU Becomes Most Successful Soccer Club in Greater Lehigh Valley
Success breeds success, and Lehigh Valley United put an exclamation point on the end of that sentence this spring as six of the LVU teams won EPYS NCS (National Challenge Series) State Cups- the highest level of the State Cup competitions.
“Three of our champions were girls’ teams, and we’re really pleased about that because the majority of our past champions have been on the boys’ side,” explains Greg Ramos, Director of Coaching for LVU.
“This is the most State Cup champions we’ve ever had in a single season, and not only that, we didn’t have four of our elite teams in because they’re in the Development Academy.”
“This time, we not only had a smaller percentage of teams in State Cup, but the vast majority were getting to the late rounds if not winning it,” Ramos adds. “It speaks to the quality of the players and the quality of the coaching staff we have her at LVU.”
The State Cup champions included the 2002 Girls Black, 2008 Girls Black and 2009 Girls Blackteams, along with the 2000 Boys Black, 2002 Boys Black and 2009 Boys Black teams.
Beyond that, the 2007 Girls Black team made the finals, the 2004 Girls Black team was semifinalists, the 2001 Girls Black team was semifinalists, the 2003 Boys Black team was semifinalists and the 1999 Boys Black team lost on penalty kicks in the finals. The 2000 Boys Blue team was the finalist for the Presidents Cup bracket, which is the second most competitive state cup series. Their success, combined with the fact the 2000 Boys Black team won the NCS title means that LVU dominates in the U18 boys age bracket.
Most impressive, however, was the 2002 Girls Black team, which repeated as State Cup champion for the second straight year.
“Part of my involvement with the club has always been with the mindset of keeping the best young women soccer players from the Lehigh Valley in the Lehigh Valley,” says 2002 Girls Black head coach Manny Oudin. “I think we’ve done that with this age group.” Oudin, who has coached U14, U15 and U17 girls at LVU, sees the 2002s (U16s) as a strong talent pool that continues to develop through strong training, high quality coaching, and benefits from facing high quality competition.
Dean Koski, the head coach of 2002 LVU boys, feels that the combination of those elements have contributed not only to LVU’s success, but to its reputation.
“LVU has built a consistent model of success, not only locally, but regionally and nationally, so college coaches know about LVU, probably in no small part to LVU winning a national championship five years ago,” says Koski, who is also the men’s head coach at Lehigh University.
“LVU has consistently had success over the last decade or so. I know that when I talk to college coaches around the country, they know who LVU is. That gives us a bit of advantage when we go to tournaments and college coaches are there. They know LVU’s reputation, the history, and they’ll watch LVU players.”
Unlike the 2002 Girls Black, the 2002 Boys Black were an unknown commodity heading into the State Cup. Koski calls the State Cup win a pleasant surprise, but like he said, it’s been more than a decade in the making as LVU becomes the most successful club in the Lehigh Valley while building an outstanding regional and national reputation.
And that kind of success truly breeds success.