By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Once the Princeton FC U19 B United team got back to full strength, there was no reason to think the team couldn’t win a State Cup title.
And Princeton showed that to be the case with a convincing 3-0 win over the Next Level Soccer Academy Raiders in the final on June 5.
“We lost our league game to them, 5-2, when we played them earlier,” PFC head coach Stoyan Pumpalov said. “That game was in March and a lot of players were on spring break. We also had some injured players. Owen Lindenfeldar, who is a goalkeeper, had to play in the field the whole game. We were happy to see we would get to play them again in the final game. We wanted to prove to ourselves this was something we could do.
“We won, 3-0, and it was a comfortable result. But the other team had a lot of talent.”
PFC picked up goals from Peter Luther, Chase Ealy and Sam Serxner to earn the win. The State Cup title also means a trip to the Region 1 tournament in West Virginia, which will be held June 30 through July 5.
“I coached two teams and I combined the age groups and formed this team,” Pumpalov said. “We put them together and they became the United team. Last year we reached the semifinals of the State Cup last year. Before that we had PFC Metros (96) and PFC Chelsea (97). They were both competitive teams that were always between 10 and 15 in the state.
“Some of the players didn’t want to play in college and do as much as the other players, so naturally it happened that the good players from both teams wanted to continue. They already played together for their high schools, particularly Princeton High School.”
The roster includes mostly Princeton High School players or grads. That group includes Chris Harla, Jake Caddeau, Dwight Donis, Cole Snyder, Chase Ealy, Peter Luther, Mark Petrovic, Sam Serxner and Owen Lindenfeldar. Princeton Day School is represented by Kevin Hagan, Oscar Vik and Marco Pinheiro (Princeton DS). Conner Yurcisin and Matt Cabrera of Montgomery are joined by the Hun School’s Gunnar Schellscheidt, as well as the Trenton High contingent of Andres Redrovan, Erik Munguia Jaime Chavez and Jerry Merino. The assistant coach is Joe Yurcisin.
“When they were younger they would train together and knew each other from training and playing together,” Pumpalov said. “The Princeton High kids played as the varsity team together for a year or two. So the decision to combine the teams was not difficult. Those kids stayed together the whole year.”
Now, with a State Cup in hand, the team gets to see how in compares to the rest of the region beginning at the end of the month.
“Obviously, you never know you are going to reach that level,” Pumpalov said. “We had some concerns some of the players might be away. But we will miss just one player and if we make the semifinals he will be back. I am really looking forward to it.
“Every year we were hoping with one or another team this might be our team. Nine years ago I won State Cup with PSA. That was a really good team. I started with that team when they young and when we won the State Cup, 12 of the original p players were still on the team. The same thing has happened with this group. This will be a good experience for them before they go to college.”
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor