PHILADELPHIA - This weekend, three men's soccer players will take the field for their club teams with playoff implications, including a nationally-televised match for sophomore Alex Murphy in a national title game.
Murphy, playing for Lehigh Valley United '93, is set for the U-19 US Youth Soccer National Championship Saturday night in Overland Park, Kan. The match will be televised on the Fox Soccer Channel starting at 7 p.m. EST with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. Lehigh Valley United's journey began at the state level where they took away the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer State title and continued on to Rhode Island to win the Regional Championship. Over the past week the team has competed against the best in the nation to make it to the final. Lehigh Valley United, coached by Greg Ramos, will take on the Chicago Fire Academy in the US Youth Soccer National Championship, James P. McGuire Cup.
The Under-19 Boys James P. McGuire Cup is the oldest trophy in youth sports dating back to 1935 with the inaugural youth championships and played annually except during World War II. Officially known as the United States Soccer Federation National Junior Challenge Cup, the competition was renamed the James P. McGuire Junior Champion Cup in 1975, after the late United States Soccer Federation President. He played for the Brooklyn Wanderers in 1929, and later joined the Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtics who with McGuire at center half won the U.S. Open Cup. James McGuire also served on World Cup and various other FIFA committees, and earned an international reputation as an excellent soccer administrator and leader.
On Saturday at 2 p.m., Jonny Dolezal and Stephen Baker will play for Reading United in the Eastern Conference semifinals in the PDL championship tournament. Reading United is one of 16 clubs left in the national tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. If Reading United wins on Saturday against the Ottawa Fury, they will advance to face the winner of the other Eastern semifinal between the host Ocean City Nor'Easters and the Carolina Dynamo on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Ocean City's Carey Stadium.