LVU Has Tradition of Fielding Champion Teams

LVU Has Tradition of Fielding Champion Teams

Lehigh Valley United is still reveling in the McGuire Cup won by the LVU 2000 Boys Black in Overland Park, Kansas this past summer, but before that national championship, another LVU team set the precedent.

Back in 2013, the LVU 1993 boys team won LVUs first-ever national title – also in Overland Park – to put the Lehigh Valley club on the national map.

While doing so, the LVU ‘93s trailed in every game from the state finals on, through regionals and nationals before scoring the only goal in the national finals.

The team was co-coached by Mike Gorni, who coached the 2000 Boys Black to the McGuire Cup, and Greg Ramos. Ramos coached the ‘95s that season and Gorni the ‘97s, but both shared time with the 93s.

“When my dad Lou and I first started LVU in the 1990s and early 2000s, we just wanted to win a state championship,” said Ramos, the LVU Director of Coaching who is so highly regarded in soccer circles that he is also president of the Lehigh Valley Youth Soccer League. “That was the goal, the achievement we wanted.

“FC Delco was do dominant at the time. The Lehigh Valley wasn’t putting out teams that were getting over that state-level hump, so it was really about being the best in Eastern Pennsylvania. To think from where we started and what our mindset was at the beginning, to actually win the national title was surreal.”

 Not only did the ‘93s win, but the LVU ‘95 and ’97 boys also competed at nationals.

Because of college commitments, some of the ’93 players weren’t available for all the phases of competition, so LVU had to call-up players from its other teams to fill in the gaps, which turned the team into a remarkable family affair.

Logan Keys was the at-age goalie, and his 16-year-old brothers Cameron and Garrett were called up to lend a hand.

“I had to fill in a lot during the regional run because we didn’t have enough numbers,” said Garrett, who played attacking center mid at nationals and outside mid for regionals. “The whole run was pretty crazy because I was also playing with my regular team [the ‘97s]. At regionals, I had to play a key role, and Mark Forrest, whose brother Euan was in the 2019 McGuire Cup-winning team, had to play a lot as well.

In the regional final, Logan Keys made back-to-back saves in penalty kicks, but was called for being off his line, which led to a send-off. The team’s center mid current Phoenix Rising player Joey Farrell, filled in and made foot saves on the final two penalties to help earn the win.

Because Logan had to sit out the first game at nationals, Cameron Keys filled in, earning a clean sheet to send LVU into the next rounds. LVU had to battle from behind each time, until the final against Chicago Fire, with a 1-0 victory secured only after Logan Keys once again had to face a penalty shot.

“I remember the kid missed wide to Logan’s right and as soon as that final whistle blew, I was running out on the field and celebrating with the whole team,” Cameron said. “It’s something I’ll always remember.”

“It was the highlight of my youth soccer career for sure,” Logan said. “I grew up playing with the kids on the team and we were able to form a really talented team and become high-level players. We just went out there and did our thing. It was really cool we were able to do it on behalf of LVU. I think four or five of us are still playing pro, and a lot of us went to have really successful college careers.”