The Lower Merion Soccer Club is the result of the merger of four small soccer
clubs in Lower Merion Township, those being Gladwyne Sports Association,
Wynnewood Soccer Club, Penn Valley Soccer Club and the
Narberth Athletic Association. The following article describes the events that
led up to the club in it's present day status.
The Gladwyne Sports Association formed their first soccer program in 1968, under the direction
of Mr. John Wynn. John called the township and told them that he would like to get combination
soccer and football goalposts at Gladwyne Playground.
Almost immediately, the soccer goals were up and the program was running.
The first teams in the program were boys
teams, which competed in the Delco Soccer League (which started in 1959). Gladwyne was the
first youth soccer program in Lower Merion Township.
In 1972, Gladwyne soccer added a girls team, also formed under the direction of John Wynn. The boys
program continued to expand as more and
more teams were organized. The girls team also competed in the Delco League (the girls PAGS League
would not form for several years).
The first league
Delco League championship for Gladwyne came in 1974 when their U-19 team
took the Division One League Championship. The U-19 Gladwyne Rams also
reached the fourth round (quarterfinals) of the State Cups.
The leading scorer on Gladwyne was future LMSC President Biff Sturla who would get involved with
the club again in the fall of 1982 as a travel team coach and remain at LMSC for 40+ more years.
Almost ten years after Gladwyne Sports Association started a soccer program,
the Penn Valley Soccer Club was created. Soon after, the Wynnewood Soccer
Club and the Narberth Soccer Club were formed.
With each new age group, it was inevitable that the four clubs would compete
for the best players in the township. Often times, the best players in an
age group would jump from their club to another to be with the best coach.
The four small clubs always seemed to
be filing complaints within the Delco League that the other clubs were
illegally "recruiting" players away from them.
The Delco League offered travel team leagues in the fall at Under 10, 12 and 14,
as well as winter league teams at Under 16 and Under 19. A separate travel
league for girls, the Tri-County League was formed
With soccer growing in the 1970's and more and more youth players getting
involved, the Gladwyne Sports Association formed an intramural program for
boys and girls. Initially, the intramural program was purely co-ed.
After years of competing with each other, Gladwyne Directors Ed Hochreiter and Biff
Sturla, along with Penn Valley Directors Dietmar Kohler and Mike
Mandarino, got together and decided it would be in the kids best interest
if their two clubs would merge into one club and combine forces. This seemed
to solve their ongoing feuds of player raiding. The two clubs combined
forces under the name of "Gladwyne-Penn Valley Soccer Association", run
under the banner of the Gladwyne Sports Association. Kohler's son Will first
played in the Penn Valley program in 1985. He would later progress to playing
in the Under 17 World Cup, being named Ivy League Player of the Year and finally
Joe Hopkins moved into the Lower Merion Township. Before moving into the township, Joe
had coached for many years at a different club. Joe soon became an officer in GPVSA and
would stay heavily involved in the organization through 1999.
GPVSA officers Sturla and Joe Hopkins began talks with Wynnewood
President Bruno "Chick" Ceccarelli about combining Gladwyne-Penn Valley with the
Wynnewood Club. The reasoning
was that in addition to minimizing player raiding, one large club would allow
the "top level" players to play 'A' division ball and lesser talented players
to play 'B' divisions. Also by joining forces, a solid intramural program
could be formed since more players would mean more age divisions.
Ceccarelli, Hopkins and Sturla finalized the merger early in 1989, deciding to call the new entity
"The Lower Merion Soccer Club." They also decided that it was best to run the program
independent of Gladwyne Sports Association since Gladwyne was a multi-sport
club. Having an independent club would allow the program to concentrate
fully on soccer. Ceccarelli was unanimously voted to be President of LMSC and
head up the girls Travel Team Program.
Hopkins would serve as Treasurer and Vice President in charge of the Boys
Travel Team Program while Sturla would be Vice President in charge of the
Intramural Program and Director Of Coaching.
That spring, Hopkins led his Under 10 boys travel team, "The Dragons" to the
Outdoor State Championship, as Trevor Walker scored the lone goal in their
1-0 semifinal win and the lone goal in their 1-0 championship win over Delco
League rival Greater Chester Valley.
With the popularity of soccer continuing to grow at a rapid pace, LMSC created
the Spring Intramural Program in 1990. The program was geared towards players
ages 5-7, those players who were too young to participate in the Travel Team
Program. It was decided that the Spring Intramural Program would run on
Sundays so as not to conflict with all the youngsters playing baseball
Following on the footsteps of the LMSC Dragons, the Under 13 boys team,
the Lower Merion Gorillas, coached
by Sturla, became only the fourth team in the history of the state to win
the Indoor State Cup Championship and Outdoor State Cup Championship in the
same year. The Gorillas allowed only 1 goal in 6 games in the Indoor State
Cups, defeating Northampton 1-0 in the final game on a goal by Hans Davies,
assisted by Jobey Hollinger. Goalie Jon Conway recorded 5 shutouts in the
competition. Years later, Conway would be a goaltender for the USA Under
20 National Team and play in the MLS for over 10 years.
The Gorillas followed up their Indoor State Cup championship by winning
the Outdoor State Cup which was competed for by 46 of the best teams in the
state. Conway again backed a very stingy defense, recording 5 shutouts in 6 games.
The highlight of the cup was their
1-0 win over two time defending State Champion Fox Chase. In the State Championship
Game against Simpson A.A., Matt Quinn scored the only goal. Captains Adrian Cox,
Jobey Hollinger and Nathan Laver were once again handed a State Championship
trophy. The Gorillas finished the 1990 season by winning the Fall Delco
League's Under 14 Division One Championship. Another Conway shutout, along
with a goal by Davies on an assist by Cox gave the Gorillas the league
In order to increase the number of female participants, the Gladwyne Sports
Association created separate intramural divisions for girls. This became a
small source of controversy as some people thought that it was better for
girls to play with the boys while others thought that separate programs would
be better. The controversy quickly faded as the number of female participants
in the program quickly grew from 10% of the program to 30% of the program.
Former LMSC player Will Kohler (son of former Penn Valley
Director Dietmar Kohler), made the Under 17 National Team and started every
game for the USA in the Under 17 World Cup over in Europe. Kohler later
became an All American at Harvard University and was drafted by the New York / New
Jersey MetroStars of the Major League Soccer (MLS).
In the fall, the club put out their first newsletter in an attempt to keep
players and their families more in tune with what was happening in the local
soccer community. Later, starting in 1993, the club would send out a
newsletter three times a year (March, June and November).
In an attempt to better communication with the public, LMSC secures the services
of a telephone hotline (215-953-8060). The club would leave pre-recorded messages on the hotline
regarding relavent information and also allow people to leave messages. One of
the biggest benefits of having a hotline was enabling the club to record messages
about whether fields were closed and games canceled due to weather related issues.
Later, starting on January 1, 1995, when the telephone company area split the 215 area code into two
by adding the 610 area code, there was a bit of confusion as the hotline continued to be a 215 area code.
Four years after Joe Hopkins led the LMSC Dragons to the Under 10 State
Championship, he led another team to a State Championship as his Under 17
boys team, the LMSC "Psychos" took the Indoor State Championship. The team
was led by the excellent goal scoring of Jon Hanks and Eric Hopkins. In the
final, the Psychos defeated Danubia from Philadelphia 2-1 on goals by Hanks
Also in 1993, LMSC added a "Special Needs Program" for youngsters who had
physical limitations that prevented them from competing successfully with
other children. The program was founded by Susan Reynolds whose daughter suffered
from Cerebral Palsy. The program was a great success in its initial year
and continues to run every fall.
The following year, saw the club's first success in the Girls Travel Team
Program as the Under 11 LMSC Firebirds, coached by Lance Laver, were
runners-up in both the Indoor State Cup and the Outdoor State Cup. Both cups
went to a very powerful Council Rock team.
The Outdoor State Cup game was a thriller. Council Rock was holding on to
a 1-0 lead late in the when Claire Laver ripped a 25 yard left footed rocket
into the net to tie the score. The game went into overtime, both teams
having great chances but only Council Rock could score.
Despite the loss, the Firebirds became the flagship team for the Girls
Travel Team Program.
Also in 1994, the Under 11 boys, the LMSC Lunatics,
coached by Sturla, took second in the Indoor
State Cups but rebounded to win the Outdoor State Cups. The semifinal was
a hard fought 2-1 win with Matt Skipper scoring the winner with only three
minutes left in regulation on a great pass from Richard "Fuzzy" Zeller.
The State Championship game was probably the greatest game ever played by
a Lower Merion team as the Lunatics defeated Hulmeville 6-0. Bernard
Horshaw scored two first half goals and Zeller added a third in the first
half. Also scoring for LMSC was Ted Domers who would return to LMSC many years
later as a head coach in the Travel Team Program.
It was estimated that midfielder Adam Chesbrough ran 15 miles in
the game, helping goalie David Hanlon earn the shutout.
The Fall Intramural Program expanded in 1994 to include 12 year olds. Previously,
the oldest players were 11 year olds.
The Majors Division was created for 11 and 12 year old boys while the
Cosmos Division was created for 11 and 12 year old girls. Previously, the
oldest divisions were for 10 year olds. In 1995, these two divisions
would expand to include 13 year olds.
The Delco Soccer League honored two long time LMSC people by inducting Ed
Hochreiter and Bruno "Chick" Ceccarelli into their Hall Of Fame. Hochreiter
was active for many years running the Gladwyne Program while Ceccarelli was
active for many years running the Wynnewood Program. Ceccarelli also served
as LMSC's first President after the four smaller clubs merged to create LMSC.
Hopkins earned his third State Championship with LMSC in 1995 as his Under
16 boys team won the Indoor State Championship. His son Justin netted the
State Championship goal in sudden death overtime to defeat York United.
Also, coming into being in 1995 was the Adult Women's Program. This program,
founded by Karin Sturla and Nancy Worby, was designed to give adult women
a chance to play soccer. Many of the players were mother of players who
stood on the sidelines hundreds of times watching their children play.
Known as the LMSC Moonlight Ladies, the team plays outdoors in the fall and
spring, separated by an indoor season. The team regularly schedules games
against other similar programs, plays in a league in Northeast Philadelphia
and occasionally enters women's soccer tournaments.
The 1995 Fall Intramural Program set a new record with 1557 participants.
This was the seventh straight year that the program increased in size.
Enrollment in previous years was: 382 (1988), 440 (1989), 578 (1990), 749 (1991),
790 (1992), 1077 (1993) and 1350 (1994).
Sports Rink indoor soccer made its debut in January. The program, founded by
Haverford School varsity head coach Kevin Seits ran in the Parker Gymnasium
of The Haverford School. A portable set of PVC boards, structured like ice hockey
boards was used. Seits and LMSC Vice President Biff Sturla ran the two month
program in January and February. The program provided indoor soccer for over
450 children, mostly LMSC players ages 6-10. Sports Rink also ran 14 indoor soccer
tournaments for various travel team ages.
In 1996, Hopkins led yet another team to a State Championship as
his Under 11 "Derelicts" won the Indoor State Championship in their first
ever State Cup. Goalie Robert Machnicki recorded a shutout in every game,
including the 4-0 final over Nether Providence. Playing standout soccer
for the Derelicts was Jared Kahn, Ryan Kelly and Ryan Westman.
With the Internet becoming more and more widely used in the world, LMSC created
their own web site and got their own e-mail address. The original web page
address was www.netreach.net/~lmsc and the original e-mail address was
The United States Soccer Federation mandated that all Under 9 and Under 10
leagues switch from playing full sided 11v11 soccer to playing small sided
8v8 soccer. The girls Tri-County League had already been pro-active and
played 8v8 during the fall 1995 season for Under 9 teams. The 1996 season
saw all U-9 and U-10 teams, both boys teams and girls teams, play 8v8.
Our youngest intramural divisions, the Atoms (5 year old boys) and the Neutrons
(5 year old girls) were run by Jim Van Dusen for the third straight fall season.
Helping him in 1996 was Michael Mark, a former player in the Wynnewood program.
This would be the first of well over a dozen years for Michael as a coach in
LMSC. Michael would take over the running of the Atoms and Neutrons Divisions
the following year, heading up our youngest divisions in both the fall and the spring.
With the growth of the club, LMSC added two more Officers in 1996 to help the
program run properly. Nancy Worby joined the Board, helping to run
the Girls Travel Team Program. Allan Greaves, a former player
in the Gladwyne Sports Association, also joined the Board, helping to run
the boys Travel Team Program.
LMSC took over operations for Sports Rink Indoor Soccer. LMSC paid a rental fee
to Sports Rink owner Kevin Seits in exchange for the use of the Parker Gymnasium
at The Haverford School and the
facility. Sports Rink provides indoor soccer league for over 500 children ages 6-10
on the weekends in January and February. Sports
Rink also runs 14 indoor soccer tournaments for travel teams each year.
Also in 1997, LMSC acquired the Philadelphia Freedom Professional Soccer Team
which competes in the D3 Pro League in the USISL. Joe Hopkins became the
President of the Freedom and Biff Sturla became the General Manager. Also
on the Board Of Directors is Bruno Ceccarelli whose son Justin was a player
on the Freedom for several years before joining the Cape Cod Crusaders, another
team in the USISL, in 1995.
LMSC also took over control of the Philadelphia Frenzy, the women's team which
competes in the W-League of the USISL.
Four former LMSC were playing professional soccer in 1997. Will Kohler was playing
for the New York / New Jersey Metrostars of MLS, our country's top professional league.
Justin Ceccarelli was playing with the Worcester Wildfire of the 'A' League (our country's
second division professional league) while
Richard Wilmot was playing with the Reading Rage and Allan Greaves was playing with the
Philadelphia Freedom, both of the USISL (our country's third division pro league).
For the eighth straight year, LMSC sent the boys Under 8 Developmental Team to
compete in Hulmeville Soccer Club Under 8 tournament. For the first time ever, LMSC came home with the championship
trophy. The championship LMSC Red team was led by Alex Gushner, Ryan Goldman, Nikhil Gregg,
Benny Schwartz, Reid Whelan and goalies Nick Wilson and Rich Hoffman. Hulmeville also offered an Under 8 girls
tournament for the first time ever, which LMSC participated in.
LMSC Director Biff Sturla, head coach for the Conestoga High School Boys Varsity, was
named Central League Coach Of The Year.
The Travel Team Program continued to grow. Tryouts for the Under 10 boys teams saw 108
kids tryout. Because of this, an unprecedented EIGHT teams were formed
in this division. This was by far the most teams ever entered in a single age
group by any club in the history of the Delco League.
One of the reasons for this success was the continued effort by the club to
help educate the coaches so that we would not only have a sufficient
number of coaches, but a sufficient number of high quality coaches.
The LMSC Rebels, our Under 9 'B' boys team coached by George Moore, became the first LMSC 'B' team ever to compete in Delco
League's extremely tough first division. Thanks to George's great leadership, the Rebels finished a very respectable 3-4-2.
Due to the large demand for soccer in the spring, LMSC expanded the Spring Intramural Program to include older children.
The boys Seniors Division and girls Electrons Division (ages 9 and 10) were added to the spring program lineup which was previously
limited to children ages 5-8. The Spring Program grew by 160 players, reaching the 600 mark for participation.
In the fall season, LMSC had their four youngest boys 'A' travel teams
(Under 9 through Under 12) reach the championship game in the Delco
League Division One playoffs.
Several new people became officers in LMSC. After 10 years of excellent, well appreciated service to LMSC,
Hopkins stepped down from LMSC as an officer. Marty Rubenstein replaced Hopkins on the LMSC Board Of Directors
Bryan Richardson took over for Hopkins as Treasurer.
Dan Sutton was also named as a Director. Dan has served as a Division Commissioner in the
intramural program and head coach in the Travel Team Program.
Dan also was named to the new position of Travel Team Registrar.
The Adult Women's Program (a.k.a. The Moonlight Ladies) were crowned champions of the
Adult Women's League at Rocket Sports, defeating Swarthmore 5-0 in the finals.
With the growing demand for women's soccer, a new outdoor league was formed. The founder and first president of
the new Tri-County Women's League was LMSC's Karin Sturla. The 1998 spring season was the first for
the new league. The Moonlight Ladies entered two teams in the league. Other clubs represented
in the league were Downingtown (two teams), King Of Prussia (two teams) and Nether Providence (one team).
The 1998 fall season saw the United States Soccer Federation require all coaches (travel and intramural) to submit to
criminal background checks in order to help ensure the safety of all youth players in the country.
LMSC instituted a new program of offering all travel team goalkeepers specialized goalkeeper training. The training was offered
was a week and was designed to teach goalkeepers the proper techniques and tactics of the position in order to minimize the
possibility of injury.
Steve Spencer replaced Susan Reynolds as the head of the Special Needs Program which continues to grow each year. The program
offers about 25-30 children a chance to play soccer, who otherwise would probably not be able to participate.
The 1999 season started off well as the Boys Under 12 team, the Delinquents, coached by Dan
Grauman, took 2nd place in the Indoor State Cups. The Boys Under 11 team, the Lasers, coached
by Marty Rubenstein and Gary Smolen, reached the semifinals of the Indoor State Cups in their first ever cup competition.
After 23 of service to the program, Chick Ceccarelli retired from LMSC. He was replaced on the LMSC
Board Of Directors by Noah Gorson, one of LMSC's girls travel team coaches. The three person
Board Of Directors now consisted of Biff Sturla, Marty Rubenstein and Noah Gorson.
Harold Goldner became the newest LMSC Officer, taking over as head of the Boys Travel Team Program.
Former LMSC player Suzie Grech was selected as a goalkeeper for Spain's Under 18 Women's National Team. Grech, the daughter of
long time LMSC coach Jo Grech, holds dual citizenship. She also served as the intramural referee assignor for many years. Grech
would later play goalie at the University of Michigan and then go on to coach at the college level.
Todd Herman made history in the club when we was selected for the Under 12 'A' travel team. Todd had moved up steadily
through the ranks at LMSC, playing on the 'D' team at Under 9, the 'C' team at Under 10 and the 'B' team at Under 11, before
making the top team in 2002. Also making significant progress was goalkeeper Drew Kotler who moved from the Under 10 'C' team
up to the Under 11 'A' team. Several years later, Kotler would be selected for the Under 16 National team pool.
The Spring Intramural Program grew from 635 participants to a staggering 803 participants. Many
other players had to be turned away due to the limited field space that the program has access to.
The girls Protons Division (7 and 8 year olds) more than doubled from the previous spring.
The Fall Intramural Program also reached new participation records with 1767 kids playing. The Travel Team
Program had a very successful year, a total of 5 boys teams and 4 girls teams won League Championships. The highlight
of this feat was the crowning of the Under 9 Hammerheads as Division One champions. The Hammerheads went 12-0-0,
outscoring their opponents 56-4, enroute to being the first LMSC team since 1996 to win a Division One championship.
The Under 8 Developmental Travel Team won the Hulmeville Under 8 Tournament for the second year in a row. The two LMSC teams
combined for a record of 6-0-1.
In its fourth year of operation, Sports Rink Indoor Soccer had a very successful year in early 1999. Unfortunately, that summer,
The Haverford School began a huge renovation effort that would see Parker Gymnasium torn down. 1999 would be the last year for
Sports Rink Indoor Soccer. In September, LMSC President Biff Sturla left his job at Lockheed Martin to become a manager at
Rocket Sports in Wayne. Rocket Sports has two indoor rinks, each much larger than Sports Rink's playing area and each
with an artificial turf playing surface. Many LMSC wound up playing in the Rocket Sports House League starting in the
The 2000 season saw a record number of participants in the Spring Intramural Program as a total
of 935 players ages 5-10 signed up to play.
In the Indoor State Cups, LMSC saw two boys teams reach the semifinals, the Under 11 Rovers
and the Under 15 United team. Both teams were coached by long time LMSC coach Allan Greaves,
a former player in the program.
Also in the winter, the Under 9 Boys team, the LMSC Hammerheads, won both indoor soccer leagues
playing 'up' a year. They also won two outdoor tournaments and placed second in another while
playing up a year in Under 10 tournaments.
With the Internet becoming a way of life for most people, LMSC acquired their own domain name.
The club web page address became www.lmsc.net (it was formerly www.netreach.net/~lmsc). The club
also changed hotline numbers to 610-527-3940.
In Outdoor State Cup action, the Girls Under 12 'A' team, the LMSC Warriors, got to the State Cup
Championship game before falling to Back Mountain (Wilkes Barre), 3-1 in the final. The
Warriors had a 1-0 lead at halftime and hit the goalpost twice on other shots but bad luck in
the second half kept them from becoming state champions. The Warriors were coached by Rich
Schwab and D.J. Jones.
In the fall season, the Under 10 'A' boys team, the Hammerheads, completed their second perfect
season in Delco League action, going 13-0-0, scoring 54 goals and allowing only 6. This gave
them a two year record of 25-0-0 in Delco League action.
LMSC also created the "Rachel Savett Memorial Scholarship Fund" to honor one of our club's
fearless soccer players who died from a severe reaction to a food allergy. This Scholarship
Fund will be awarded annually to a former LMSC player, referee or field crew person who is
currently in college.
Former LMSC player Ben Olsen represented the United States in the summer Olympics as he started
for the Men's National Team in the Olympics. Olsen signed with D.C. United of MLS, our country's
top professional team. Long time LMSC goalkeeper (and teammate of Olsen at LMSC), Jon Conway was
drafted by the San Jose Earthquake of MLS. Conway had been a second team All-American selection the previous
fall at Rutgers University. Another former teammate
of theirs while at LMSC, Nick Harmelin, would join the San Jose Earthquake's marketing department.
Both Olsen and Conway would still be in MLS in 2009 and Harmelin would still be working in MLS.
LMSC had it's best ever showing in the Indoor State Cups in 2001 as four LMSC teams reached the
semi-final round of their competition. The highlight of the Cups was the Under 13A boys, the
LMSC Ocled, who were crowned Indoor State Cup champions. The Ocled went 5-0-1 enroute to winning
the 28 team tournament, defeating F.C. Bucks 1-0 in the championship game on a goal by Chris DiLullo.
Our LMSC U-11A girls, the Fireballs, took 2nd place in their competition while the LMSC Rovers,
our U-12A boys, and the LMSC Rage, our U-12A boys, each reached the semifinals of their
In the fall of 2001, LMSC introduced the new "Pee-Wees" program for four year olds. In it's
first year of operation, the Pee-Wee program had over 200 participants.
The Boys Travel Team Program had two teams win Division 1 championships. The LMSC Velez,
coached by Miguel Nuila, won the U-10 Division 1 championship with a 5-1 win over T/E. The
Velez went 12-0-1 during the fall.
After the terrorist attacks on our country on September 11, 2001, LMSC donated 50 cents per player
(a total of $1400) to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The club also made a $150
donation to a scholarship fund for the children of a coach in New York who died that day. Long time
LMSC coach Bob Overhiser was inside of the World Trade Center when the planes struck the buildings.
Fortunatly, despite being on the 61st floor of the South Tower (the first to be hit),
Bob was able to get out of the building unharmed. Bob later wrote a very interesting article for our
2001-2002 Winter Newsletter (page 18).
The Delco League's Under 12 Division 1 championship game saw two LMSC teams play each other.
The U-11 Hammerheads, playing up a year, faced the U-12A Disasters. This was first time ever
in Delco League history that two teams from the same club played each other for a Division One
championship. The game went into overtime with the Hammerheads finally winning 2-1. The
Hammerheads were the first team in 10 years to win a Division One championship playing up a
year. They finished the season ranked #1 in the nation. Two members of the team, Danny DiLullo and
Alec Weiss, made the EPYSA Olympic Development Program playing up a year.
The Boys Under 11 Indoor State Cups saw not one, but two LMSC teams reach the semifinals. The
Hammerheads won the Indoor State Cups, going 6-0-0 and defeating Spirit United 6-2 in the
championship game. Our 'B' team, the LMSC Spider Monkeys (coached by Tom Pillion and Miguel
Nuila) also won their bracket and their quarterfinal game, before losing to Spirit in the
semifinals. The Spider Monkeys became the first 'B' team to ever place in a State Cup
In Outdoor State Cup competition, the Lower Merion Hammerheads were crowned Under 11 State
Cup Champions, becoming the first LMSC team since 1990 to win both the Indoor State Cup and
Outdoor State Cup in the same year. Sincer their inception at Under 9, the Hammerheads won
62 straight games against teams their own age before losing to the Richmond Strikers a week
after winning the state cup.
The LMSC Natural Disasters reached the Under 12 Boys
State Cup semifinals, while the LMSC Ocled reached the semifinals of the Boys Under 14
State Cup competition. This was the first time that LMSC had three teams reach the semifinals
of the State Cups.
At the conclusion to travel team tryouts, Alex Cope became the second player in club history
to move from a 'D' team to an 'A' team. At Under 9, Alex was selected for the 'D' team. The next
year, at U-10, Alex was selected for the 'C' team but was moved up to the 'B' team at the end
of the fall season. At Under 11, Alex was selected for the age group's 'A' team, LMSC Velez
After four years as a Director, Noah Gorson stepped down from his position at LMSC. He was
replaced by Jay Dubow on the club's list of Directors.
The number of girls in attendance at the Under 10 tryouts was so high that LMSC formed it's
first ever 'D' girls travel team. The number of girls participating in LMSC continued to
grow. 45% of the participants in 2002 were female.
The 2002 Fall Intramural Program set a new record with 1834 participants. The fall program
saw a lot of major program format changes, as recommended by
the United States Soccer Federation. Our 4 and 5 year old divisions switched to playing 4 vs. 4
with no goalies on smaller fields. Smaller Pugg goals were used in place of regular goals. This
change eliminated the stress of young players playing goalie and increased the number of goals
scored, making for more smiling face.
Our 6-8 year old divisions switched to playing two
simultaneous games of 4 vs. 4 with goalies. Previously, teams of this age played 7 vs. 7.
These format changes were made to enable all
players to be more involved in the play and get many more touches on the ball each game,
leading to faster skill development.
Former LMSC player Justin Ceccarelli returned to the area and took over the Pee-Wees program.
Ceccarelli had been playing professionally for the Worecester Wildfire (second division) for
five years. Ceccarelli is the son of long time LMSC President Chick Ceccarelli.
Two LMSC teams were crowned Indoor State Cup Champions. The LMSC Velez, coached by Miguel
Nuila, won the Under 11 Indoor State Cups. The Under 12 Hammerheads, coached by Biff Sturla,
won the Under 12 Indoor State Cup. This was the second straight indoor state cup
championship for the Hammerheads.
The Hammerheads became the first LMSC ever to win back to back outdoor State Cup championships
as they defeated Lower Dauphin 3-0 to win the State Cup for the second straight year. The
Hammerheads won the Region One Championships, which is contested by the State
Champions from Maine through West Virginia. The Hammerheads posted shutout victories in
their final four games of the Region One Championships, which were held in Providence,
Female participation in the Spring Intramural Program reached an all time high as 48% of the
players who registered were girls. At the conclusion of tryouts, two of the girls age groups
had enough players for 'D' teams.
Matt Piltch became the third LMSC player to move from a 'D' team up to an 'A' team. Matt tried
out for the travel team program at Under 11 and did not make a team. He made the 'D' team at
Under 12, then the 'B' team at Under 13 and finally made the U-14A team.
With almost every family having Internet access, LMSC no longer posted printouts of intramural
team assignments on the front windows of Sneaky Pete's Discount Sneakers. Team assignments and
schedules were now found exclusively on the Internet. The posting of team assignments on the
Sneaky Pete's windows had been doing for the past 15 years.
Due to the start of massive renovations to many of the public schools in the township, field
space would be very tight. The school district informed us that this problem would last for
as many as eight years. To make matters worse, a tornado touched down on South Ardmore Playground
during the winter season, destroying trees and leaving the fields unplayable for over a week.
LMSC organized several travel teams to come to the park one afternoon and remove all the broken
tree branches from the field so that the fields could be used again.
In the fall season, LMSC had a record five top division league champions. Winning the Delco
League's top division were the U-9A Cannibals, the U-11A Roadkill and the U-12A Velez while
the U-10A Bocas lost their championship game in overtime. On the girls side, the U-12A
Chili Peppers won the top flight in their age group while the U-9A Heart finished with a
perfect 10-0-0 record in division one play. The Heart's coach, Casey Ichniowski, became the
first two time winner of the LMSC Coach Of The Year Award.
Long time Associate Director Harold Goldner retired after many years of valuable service. Harold
was an officer in the club for five years. He was our Boys Travel Team Coordinator for many years,
before handing this off to Jay Dubow. Nikki Posillico became a club officer in 2003 and became
the club treasurer and bookkeeper.
The Velez repeated as indoor state champions while the U-11A Roadkill took second place in
their age group. The newly formed Leagues United Indoor Cups made their debut with the U-9A
Cannibals defeating CASA (Harrisburg) in the Cup final of their age group. The Roadkill also
took first place in their age group. The Velez also won the prestigious Jefferson Cup in
March. This tournament, played in Richmond, Virginia, is considered the Premier Tournament
of Eastern United States.
In the EPYSA Outdoor State Cups, the Roadkill won the U-11 boys age group while the Velez
won the U-12 boys age group. The Velez became the second LMSC team in two years to qualify
for the Regional championships. The U-13A Arsenal dropped a 2-1 decision in their EPYSA
State Cup final to the FC Delco Hammerheads. The Hammerheads team originated in LMSC. The
Under 13 State Championship game was thus comprised of two local teams. On the girls side,
the U-12 Chili Peppers lost their semifinal state cup game in overtime.
In addition to winning the state cup, the Velez also won the very prestigious Jefferson Cup
(Richmond) and the FC Delco Players Cup (Downingtown), two of the toughest tournaments on
the east coast. The Velez won their bracket at Regionals and advanced to the semifinals before
losing a tough game to the Virginia state champions.
LMSC created a new program, the LMSC Summer Soccer Program, for travel team players U-8
through U-11 who wanted to get additional training during the summer months. The program
was run by Nikki Posillico who oversaw a staff of several high level soccer coaches.
In the summer, long time LMSC coach Danielle Fagan took a group of 18 LMSC girls over to
Sweden to compete in the Gothia Cup, one of the largest tournaments in the world. A total of
1525 teams, ages U-11 through U-19. A total of 61 countries were represented and a total of
32,110 players participated. There were 4320 games played over a 7 day period. The team, known
as FC Liberty, spent several days training in Denmark. The team reached the quarterfinals
before losing to a team from California. For more information on the Gothia Cup, visit their
website at www.gothiacup.se.
In the fall, the Lower Merion Nimrods won the Under 9 Delco League division one championship,
finishing with a perfect 11-0-0 record. Their opponent in the championship game was none other
than the Lower Merion Mini-Madrid, our U-9B team, making for an all LMSC Delco League division
one championship game. The Nimrods won the hard fought game 2-0 on goals by Michael Diehl
and Sammy Ramadane.
The Under 10 LMSC Cannibals captured their second straight division
one league championship, going a perfect 13-0-0.
On the girls side, the U-10A Heart had their second consecutive
undefeated season enroute to another league championship.
Tom Gallagher joined the coaching staff, helping long time LMSC veteran Michael Mark to run the
five year old divisions. Gallagher would help continue to coach those age groups in both the
fall program and the spring program for many years.
In 2005, the Lower Merion Pink Panthers (boys U-11A team) won an unprecedented three indoor state
cups as they won the EPYSA U-11 indoor state cup, the Leagues United U-11 indoor state cup and the
EPYSA U-12 'B' flight indoor state cup. The LMSC Roadkill (boys U-12A team) also won their EPYSA
indoor state cup. The Roadkill became the second LMSC boys team to ever compete in the Dallas Cup,
considered to be the toughest tournament in the country.
In the fall season, the Under 11A Lower Merion Cannibals won their third straight Delco Soccer League division
one championship. The LMSC Lightning won the Delco League Under 9 division one championship in
their first year of play.
Former LMSC player Justin Ceccarelli was named LMSC's newest officer. Justin is the son of former
LMSC President Bruno Ceccarelli. Justin has run the PeeWees program in the fall for many years and
was given the responsibility of running all LMSC four and five year old programs.
Two LMSC boys teams reached the state cup finals. The LMSC Velez, our U-13A boys team were state champions
in 2004 but were unable to make it two in a row, losing 1-0 to the YMS Xplosion in the state final. The
LMSC Arsenal reached the state finals for a second year and again dropped a one goal decision to former
LMSC team, the FC Delco Hammerheads.
Another former LMSC travel team player returned to coach in the club. Ted Domers was a member of the 1994
LMSC Lunatics who won the U-11 state championship (Domers scored in the championship game). Ted returned
to coach in the club in 2005.
The U-11A LMSC Cannibals won their third consecutive Delco League division 1 championship, becoming only
the second LMSC team to win three straight division one league championships. (The Hammerheads won first
division league titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002).
The Lower Merion Heart became the first LMSC girls team to win an EPYSA state championship as they won
the Under 11 EPYSA Indoor State Cups. Congratulations to head coach Casey Ichniowski and the Heart.
The LMSC Cannibals, our U-11A boys team, won the top flight of the Jefferson Cup in Richmond, Virginia.
The Jefferson Cup is ranked as the third toughest tournament in the United States.
The Under 12A Pink Panthers became the third LMSC team in three years to compete in the Dallas Cup.
In outdoor state cup play, LMSC had four teams reach the state cup semifinals and one reach the state cup finals.
LMSC instituted a new program in 2006, the Under 8 Developmental Travel Team Academy. This program was designed
to give the club's top seven year olds a chance to work with a high level coaching staff and spend a year
preparing for the travel team program. The staff for the Under 8 program consisted of no parents of players.
Unlike the previous U-8 Developmental Progam, the Academy schedules tryouts in June. Players making the team
play in the Academy Program in the fall, instead of the Fall Intramural Program.
Ben Olsen became the first LMSC alum to play in the World Cup as he represented the USA in Germany. Olsen played in
the third game for the USA, against Ghana. Olsen also represented the USA in the 2000 Sydney, Australia Olympic games.
On August 29, 2006, LMSC was officially granted 501 (c) 3 status by the Internal Revenue Service. With this status,
LMSC can now accept contributions and donations that are tax deductible to the donor.
The Cannibals became the first team in club history to win four consecutive Delco League top division championships
when they won the Under 12 age group in the fall. The LMSC Cannibals won the Delco League every year in their team history,
Under 9 through Under 12. During that four year span, the team went 43-1-2.
The LMSC Heart (U-12A girls) won their third PAGS League top division championship in their four year history.
The Harriton High School Boys Varsity soccer team was crowned District One Champions (AA flight). Almost all of
their players were current or past LMSC players.
The LMSC Cannibals become the fourth team in four teams to play in the Dallas Cup, considered to be the toughest
tournament in the country. The team reached the quarterfinals before losing to Guadalajara Chivas (Mexico). The
Cannibals also played teams from Houston, Florida and Southern California.
Adrian Cox became the first person in club history to win a state championship as both a player and a coach as
he led his Under 10 boys Lightning team to the EPYSA State Cup championship. Adrian was also a member of the
Under 13 LMSC Gorillas who won the state championship in 1990. The Lightning defeated Warrington 3-0 in the semifinals,
then defeated the Ukranian Nationals 4-0 in the state championship game.
LMSC President Biff Sturla was honored by the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association as the Coach Of The Year
for 2006. Sturla was also honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA) as their Regional
Coach Of The Year and was a finalist for their National Coach Of The Year Award.
Thanks to an anonymous donor from within LMSC, a generous college scholarship program was created. The program was
setup so that two current or former LMSC people (players, referees or field crew workers) who would be entering college
in the fall, would each receive a $2500 scholarship to help the their freshman year expenses. It is hoped that this
generous scholarship will become an annual event. Our thanks to our anonymous donor for this great gift.
The Lower Merion High School Boys Varsity soccer team was crowned District One Champions (AAA flight). All of their
starters were current or past LMSC players.
Five former LMSC players (now with the FC Delco club) were invited to the Reegional ODP and National Teams.
Max Kurtzman and Jimmy McLaughlin of the FC Delco Roadkill (formerly LMSC Roadkill) made the U-14 National Team
pool. Harrison Kendall and Matt Pontecorvo of the FC Delco Pink Panthers made the U-14 Regioanl pool with Kendall
getting an opportunity to train with the national pool. Long time LMSC player David Dubow made the Under 16 Regional
team and played in a tournament in Argentina.
LMSC changed their e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org (originally it was email@example.com).
In the fall season, LMSC had three teams win top flight division championships. The trio of teams was led by the
LMSC Heart (U-13A girls) who won their second consecutive top division league championship as well as their fourth
championship in their five year history. During their five year history, the Heart are 38-5-8 in the PAGS League's
top division. The Heart are coached by Casey Ichniowski.
Also claiming top division
championships were the LMSC Rat Pack who won the Under 9 Delco League championship
in their first year of league play as well as the LMSC Magic (Mark Weinmann, head coach), our Under 10A boys team.
Miguel Nuila became the second coach in LMSC history to be a two time winner of the LMSC Coach Of The Year Award.
Nuila previously won the award in 1999. The other two time recipient of the award is Casey Ichniowski, head coach
for the LMSC Heart.
The LMSC Gorillas held a huge reunion in late December with almost all
players attending along with many of their parents. The players, now 30 years of age came from all over the USA.
The Reunion was held at the Boathouse in Conshohocken, followed by a reunion indoor game three days later. In 1990,
the Gorillas became the first LMSC team to win the indoor and outdoor state championship in the same year.
The LMSC Rat Pack, our Under 9A boys travel team, won the Indoor State Cups, making 2008 the eighth year in a row
that LMSC has had at least one team win an EPYSA State Championship (indoor or outdoor).
The LMSC Heart, our Under 13A girls travel team, took second place in the Indoor State Cups, playing up
a year in the Under 14 age group. The Heart were unable to play in their age group due to a team conflict
so they played up a year and still took 2nd place.
The Spring Intramural Program saw a record high number of participants, topping the 1000 mark for the first time ever.
The total of 1034 players was significant in that it was over 50% female.
The LMSC Velez, our Under 16 boys travel team, won the Region One Premier League. This league is comprised
of the top 16 teams in Region One which extends from Maine through West Virginia. The Velez are coached
by Miguel Nuila.
In outdoor state cup competition, LMSC had three teams win state championships, the most in club history.
Winning state championships were the LMSC Magic (Under 10 boys, coach Mark Weinmann), LMSC Heart (Under 13 girls,
coach Casey Ichniowski) and LMSC Velez (Under 16 boys, coach Miguel Nuila).
Also reaching the state cup finals were the LMSC Rat Pack (Under 9 boys) while the LMSC
Fightin' Freedom (Under 11 girls, coach Danielle Fagan) reached the semifinals and the LMSC Lightning (Under 11
boys, coach Adrian Cox) reached the quarterfinals of their state cups.
At Regionals, the LMSC Velez defeated Seacoast Costal (Maine State Champions) in the finals and advanced to Nationals.
The Velez went undefeated in their five games at Regionals and became the first LMSC team ever to advance to Nationals,
held in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The LMSC Heart went 2-0-1 at Regionals but did not advance to the semifinals. Their tie was to New Jersey State Champions,
PDA. The Heart were winning 1-0 when PDA tied the score with only 10 seconds left in the game. Had the Heart won that game,
they would have advanced to the semifinals.
In the fall season, the LMSC Magic won their second consecutive top division Delco League Championship when they were crowned Delco League
Under 11 Division One champions. The Magic finished a perfect 14-0-0 during the fall league season.
LMSC signed a five year deal with
Barrack Academy to use their turf field in the fall and spring seasons, as well as
use their gymnasium during the winter for indoor practices. The deal was done because of the loss of many athletic fields in the township
caused by the school district's multi-year project to rebuild both Harriton High School and Lower Merion High School. This project
will put many athletic fields out of commission for several years.
For the second year in a row, LMSC teams won three outdoor state championships. The LMSC Magic (Under 11 boys, coached by Mark Weinmann)
and the LMSC Heart (Under 14 girls, coached by Casey Ichniowski) both repated as state champions. Winning their first state championship
was the LMSC Rat Pack (Under 10 boys). LMSC also had two other teams reach the state champmionship game as the
LMSC Denali (Under 9 boys, coached by Will Nord) and the LMSC Velez (Under 17 boys, coached by Miguel Nuila) each reached the championship
game of their age group.
The Velez won the prestigous National League, comprised of 16 of the very best teams from all over the United States. Their win in the National
League qualified them for Nationals where they took 3rd place. The Velez team spent much of 2009 going to college showcase tournaments and
working to get their players into top soccer schools.
In the fall season, two LMSC boys teams won the Delco League's top division as the new LMSC Sabertooth Rats won the Under 9 Delco League Division
one championship and the LMSC Magic won the top flight in the Delco League's Under 12 age group.
The LMSC Magic competed in the first ever Volkwagen Masters Junior World Cup Competition. 12 of the top teams from Eastern United States competed in
this tournament, held in Washington D.C. The winning team would advance to the 2010 Junior World Cup in South Africa with all expenses paid. The
Magic worked their way to the championship game, played in RFK Stadium. Unfortunatealy, several key injuries and some bad breaks in the game, left
the Magic on the short end of a 2-0 score to PDA, New Jersey.
In an effort to offer better quality soccer, the Delco League and the PAGS League both voted to change the Under 11 age group's format from 11v11
to 8v8, beginning with the fall 2010 season. The smaller sided games will enable players to be more involved in the play and make many more touches
on the ball.
Former LMSC player Ben Olsen announced his retirement from professional soccer after 10 years in Major League Soccer, all with DC United.
In addition to the many high school coaches on the LMSC travel team coaching staff, LMSC now claims two head coaches in the college ranks. St. Joseph's
University Women's Head Coach Jess Reynolds joined the LMSC staff while long time LMSC coach Will Nord was named as Rosemont College's first ever
Men's Soccer head coach. Nord was voted the Coloniel States Athletic Conference Coach Of The Year.
LMSC continues to hire more non-parent, highly experienced coaches to head up the various travel teams in all age groups an levels.
In 2009, over 70% of travel team head coaches were non-parent coaches.
LMSC Heart Player Emily Morgan was selected for the USA Under 14 Girls National Team. Heart teammate Salina Williford was also invited into the
National Team camp tryouts. Congratulations to two of LMSC's finest players on all of their work over the years to get to this level.
2010 saw a record 15 teams reach the semifinals of either the indoor state cups or the outdoor state cups. The newest boys team, the LMSC Sabertooth
Rats became the sixth team in LMSC history to win both state cups in the same calendear year.
Long time LMSC coach
was honored by EPYSA (our state association) as their Travel Team Coach Of The Year. Nuila coached the U-19 LMSC
Velez team since they were Under 8. The team won two state championships, were state finalists four other years,
were National League champions once and competed in the National Cups
on two occassions. Through the dedication of Miguel, almost every player on that team played at the college level in the fall of 2010.
During the fall of 2010, a total of
58 LMSC Alumni played at the college level. This number continues to increase each year.
Also in the fall season, the LMSC Lightning (U-14A boys) and the LMSC Sabertooth Rats (U-10A boys) both won Delco League division one championships.
The Sabertooth Rats played the LMSC Quick Boys in an All-LMSC Division One Delco League championship game. The two LMSC teams are considered to be the top two teams in
all of EPYSA in the Under 10 boys age group. The Sabertooth Rats players had the honor of being the
Player Escorts for the Philadelphia Union team
at one of their MLS games in September.
The LMSC Storm (U-10A girls) finished with the best record in the PAGS League's first division.
The boys and girls Under 8 teams participated in the annual Under 8 Upper Moreland tournament and had a combined record of 12-0-1.
LMSC continued to improve their Travel Team Coaching Staff by adding more coaches at the college and high school level.
Among the head coaches in our Travel Team Program are
Will Nord (head coach for Rosemont College Men's Varsity),
Jess Reynolds (head coach for St. Joseph's University Women's Varsity),
Bill Brady (head coach for Haverford College Men's Varsity),
Joe Taylor (assistant coach for Villanova University Men's Varsity),
DJ Jones (former assistant coach at Villanova University),
Charlie Dodds (head coach for Marple Newtown High School boys varsity and Central League Coach Of The Year),
Nick Severini (head coach for Lower Merion High School boys varsity, District One champions),
Biff Sturla (head coach for Harriton High School boys varsity),
Matt Cox (assistant coach for Harriton High School boys varsity and former professional player in Holland, Switzerland and Jamaica),
David Dwyer (assistant coach for Episcopal Academy's boys varsity) as well as
Angel Rivillo, ten year professional player and former member of the Philadelphia Kixx indoor team.
Former LMSC player Ben Olsen was named as the youngest head coach in MLS history (age 33) when DC United named him as their
new head coach. Olsen played for DC United for over 10 years and also played for the USA in the 2006 World Cup.
The LMSC Velez won the Under 19 state championship, their third state championship in their history. The Velez also won the state
championship at Under 16 and Under 19. Velez head coach Miguel Nuila also lead his new team, LMSC Sarsfield to the Under 9 state cup
The LMSC Denali, coached by LMSC alum Will Nord, took second place in the state cup for the second time in three years.
Former LMSC standout Jon Conway became the first alum of the club to play against the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer action.
Conway, playing in his 11th season in the MLS, was in goal for the Chicago Fire at PPL Park with the Union winning 2-1. Conway played
goalie for the LMSC Gorillas from 1986 - 1991, helping them become the first LMSC team to win the Indoor and Outdoor State Championships
in the same year (1990).
Former LMSC player Jimmy McLaughlin played for the Union Academy team and got into two games for the Union during the season. The first
game was a home exhibition game against Everton Football Club of the English Premier League. Jimmy's second game was another exhibition game,
this time against world super power Real Madrid. Jimmy had the distinction of playing in a game against Cristiano Ronaldo. In December of
2011, Jimmy signed to play with the Union as a full-time player.
Former LMSC player Sarah Friedman signed a professional contract to play for ASA Tel-Aviv in the Israel Women's Professional League. Friedman
had played at the college level at the University of Pennsylvania. Friedman saw plenty of action in her first year with the team, getting
into two European Champions League matches.
During the fall season, a total of 62 LMSC Alumni were playing at the college level. These players played for many different LMSC
travel teams in previous years, including the
Hammerheads, Arsenal, Velez, Roadkill, Mustangs, Rovers, Stingrays, Chili Peppers, Riptide, Flame and Shock.
The LMSC Sabertooth Rats won the Under 11A Delco League championship, their third consecutive Delco League division one championship. After
their three years of play in the Delco Leagues, the Sabertooth Rats were still undefeated with a near perfect record of 30-0-3.
LMSC significantly increased the number of training programs offered throughout the year. The club offered programs for travel team players,
intramural players and younger players in the fall, winter 1, winter 2, summer and spring seasons. These training programs were run by
LMSC's very experienced coaching staff, consisting of high school coaches, college level coaches, former professional players and former
college level players.
In an effort to give more attention to the girls travel team program, Rasheed Epps was named head of girls travel program. Rasheed was also put in charge
of all girls training programs. One reason for this change was to enable the club to focus on getting more girls to commit to the Travel Team Program.
Dan Bubnis was named Associate Director of the Intramural Programs and put in charge of running all intramural divisions for children ages 8 and older.
The Lower Merion Lightning (U-15 Boys) earned a spot in the very prestigious Region One Premier League. This league consists of the 16 best club teams
in Region One (Maine through West Virginia). The Lightning qualified for the playoffs and won their semifinal game to earn a trip to the championship game.
The game was tied after regulation and after overtime, forcing penalty kicks which the Lightning lost. This was the best finish in the Region One
Premier League since the Velez won the league in 2008.
In indoor state cups, the Sabertooth Rats (U-11A boys) won their third consecutive indoor state cup championship. The Magic (U-14A boys) and Lightning
(U-15A boys) also were crowned indoor state champions. The Charge (U-17A girls) won the 'B' flight of indoor cups.
The Swamp Pigs (U-9A boys) took second place in their indoor cup competition.
The Herricanes (U-10A girls) reached the finals of the outdoor state cups.
In Delco League action in the fall, the Sabertooth Rats won their fourth consecutive Delco League championship.
The Motor Mouths (U-9A boys) also took first place in Delco League Division One action.
Also in the fall, 62 LMSC Alumni were playing at the college level. This
group of players came from a wide range of LMSC travel teams, including the Hammerheads, Arsenal, Velez,
Roadkill, Pink Panthers, Chili Peppers, Fighting Squirrels, Mustangs, Cannibals, Red Devils, Shock, Stingrays
Longtime LMSC playaer Julian Aoyama, formerly of the LMSC Velez and now a junior at Amherst College, was honored
as a Division III All American.
Former LMSC Hammerheads player Greg Cochrane was selected in the second round of the MLS Draft by the Los
Angeles Galaxy. Cochrane played at Virginia Tech for two years before playing two years at Louisville. Cochrane started in
several games in his rookie season for the Galaxy. Former LMSC player Nick Bibbs played professionally over in Europe.
During the winter months, LMSC teams won an unprecedented eight indoor state championships, by far the most of any club
in the state. The LMSC Sabertooth Rats (U-12A boys) won their fourth consecutive indoor state cups. Also winning
indoor state cups were the LMSC Storm (U-12A girls), the Panthers (U-18 boys), Lightning (U-17 boys), Magic (U-15 boys),
Motor Mouths (U-9 boys), Quick Boys (U-12 boys, 'B' flight) and Herricanes (U-11 girls, 'B' flight).
The Magic (U-15A boys) also won
the YSC Sports first session high school varsity league and J.V. league, even though their team is comprised almost
entirely of freshman.
In state cup play, LMSC had a record nine teams reach the state cup semifinals, including three girls 'A' teams, three
boys 'A' teams and three teams in 'B' flight cup competitions. The LMSC Fenix, coached by Nico Severini,
won the Under 9 girls state cup championship.
LMSC started its
College Advisory Program to help guide high school age players with respect to the college recruiting process and
the college selection process. In the fall of 2013, there were a total of 72 LMSC Alumni
playing at the college level, the most in club history. The College Advisory Program will hopefully help current LMSC with their
choices of college in future years.
Two former LMSC players were named to the NCAA Division III All American team. Julien Aoyama, a senior at Amherst College was named to the
Division III All-American second team. David Rosenfeld, a junior at Franklin & Marshall College, was named to the Division III All-American third team.
Aoyama played for many years with the LMSC Velez, Rosenfeld played with the LMSC Roadkill.
Alex Kades became the third player in LMSC history to progress from a 'D' travel team up to an 'A' travel team. Alex played intramural soccer when he was
an Under 9 age player. At Under 10, he was selected for the D team. The next year, he moved up to the C team. At U-12 he played on the B team and at
Under 13, he was selected for the A team.
The Under 13 boys Sabertooth Rats became the first team in club history to win five consecutive Delco League division one championships. Also
taking first place in Delco League division one were the LMSC Boca, our Under 14 boys. The Under 9 Ding and the Under 10 Motor Mouths both
finished with the best record in their respective age groups in Delco League's division one. The Under 10 Fenix finished with the top record
in the PAGS League top division.
LMSC had five teams win the EPYSA Indoor State Cups, led by the U-13 boys Sabertooth Rats who won their fifth straight
indoor state cup while the U-16 boys Magic won their third straight indoor state cup and the U-13 girls Storm won their
second straight indoor state cup.
In the outdoor state cups, LMSC Magic won the U-16 boys state championship and advanced to the Region One championships
in Rhode Island. The LMSC Motor Mouths won the U-10 boys state championship while the LMSC Ding won the U-9 boys state
championship. The Magic and Ding both won indoor and outdoor state cups in 2014. The LMSC Storm were finalists in the Under 14 Girls state cups, losing
a heartbreaker in the state cup finals, on penalty shots.
Dale Haines took over as the Coaching Director for the Boys Travel Team Program. Dale coached in the Travel Team Program for eight years and has been an
associate director for the youngest age groups in the intramural program. Nicole Posillico retired as Bookkeeper / Accountant after holding
that position for over 10 years. She remains on as head travel team coach and head of the Girls Under 8 Developmental Academy. Meghan Moore is hired as the
new Bookkeeper / Accountant.
In the spring, LMSC entered teams in the new Central League. The Central League offers leagues for younger age
groups and promise to keep the league local. By entering younger age teams in this league, we greatly reduced the amount of travel our teams were required to
make for away games.
In the fall, LMSC entered three teams in another new league, the Atlantic Premier League. This league offers high level
competition to the top teams in the mid-Atlantic states. The LMSC Ding won the boys Under 10 age group while the LMSC Legends took second place in the boys Under 11
age group, losing 3-2 to Real Meford (New Jersey) in the finals.
Former LMSC player Matthew Real was selected for the USA Under 16 National Team. Matthew competed in a tournament in France during the summer. Former LMSC player
and 2006 USA World Cup player Ben Olsen was voted MLS Coach Of The Year for leading DC United to a tremendous season. Three former LMSC players played in the MLS
in 2014, Greg Cochrane of the Chicago Fire,
Daniel Lovitz of Toronto FC
and Jimmy McLaughlin of the Philadelphia Union.
Cochrane played for the Lower Merion Hammerheads, Lovitz played for the Lower Merion Velez and McLaughlin played for the LMSC Roadkill.
Current LMSC player Thomas Hoy was selected to the Region One ODP team and competed in the Regional Tournament in Arizona.
During the winter season, LMSC had a record six teams win EPYSA Indoor State Cups. The Sabertooth Rats (U-14A boys) won their sixth straight indoor state
cup championship. Also winning indoor state cups were LMSC 24/7 (U-9 boys), LMSC Aztecs (U-14 Boys), LMSC Herricanes (U-13 Girls) and LMSC Ding (U-10 Boys).
The LMSC Boom (U-9C boys) won the B flight of their age group.
In the spring, many of our 'A' teams qualified for the prestigious Region One Champions League, comprised of the top teams in Eastern United States.
The LMSC Lightning team made it to the semifinals of the Under 18 boys division. The LMSC Storm (U-14 girls), Sabertooth Rats (U-14 boys) and Magic (U-17 boys)
all finished with winning records in the top division of their age group. LMSC Boca qualified for the U-15 boys second division.
Travel team tryouts in the spring saw a record number of players tryout, resulting in LMSC fielding a total of 55 travel teams, also a record. Our travel teams
played in a wide range of leagues, including the Atlantic Premier League, Delco League, PAGS League, Central League and EDP League.
Our Developmental Academy expanded to include an Under 7 boys team. The 2015-2016 season included programs for U-7 boys, U-8 boys and U-8 girls. All three groups
competed successfully in late fall U-8 tournaments.
The LMSC Fenix (U-11A girls, coached by Nico Severini) won their second state cup championship in their three year history. Also reaching the finals of their
state cups were the Storm (U-14 girls) and Sabertooth Rats (U-14 boys). Boca (U-15 boys) were state cup semifinalists for the fourth consecutive year.
During the fall season, three LMSC alums led Amherst College to the NCAA Division III National championship. The three LMSC alums, all starters for Amherst were
Justin Aoyama (LMSC Panthers, Harriton High School), Milton Rico (LMSC Velez, Episcopal Academy) and Chris Martin (LMSC Panthers, Radnor High School).
Three LMSC travel teams were crowned champions of the Atlantic Premier League (APL), comprised of many of the top boys teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey,
Delaware and Maryland. Winning the APL were LMSC Ding (U-11 boys) for the second straight year and LMSC Balos (U-10 boys, head
coach Keegan Moyer) as well as the LMSC Swarm (U-11B boys, head coach Dale Haines) who won the APL second division. The LMSC Legends, U-12 boys lost their
championship game in penalty shots to Real, New Jersey.
In December, the LMSC Gorillas had a 25th Reunion to celebrate their 1990 season when they won the Indoor State Cups, Outdoor State Cups and Delco League.
LMSC started the 2016 year with seven teams winning indoor state cups and another two teams reaching the finals of their indoor state cups.
The highlight of the indoor state cups was the Sabertooth Rats (U-15 boys) winning their seventh straight indoor state cup.
In the outdoor state cups, LMSC had three teams win state championships as the Sabertooth Rats (U-15A boys),
Storm (U-15 girls) and Ding (U-11 boys)
were all crowned state champions. Eight other LMSC teams reached the semifinals of their state cup competition. One of the highlights was
the LMSC Legends and LMSC Red Devils both reaching the semifinals of the top flight of the U-12 boys state cups.
With the Sabertooth Rats and the Storm both winning state cups, they advanced to the Regional Championships in Barboursville, West Virginia.
Regionals is a competition for the 16 state champions in Region One (Maine through West Virginia). The Sabertooth Rats went a perfect 5-0 at
Regionals and advanced to the National Championships, held in Texas in late July.
US Soccer announced a wide range of changes for the 2016-2017 season. The biggest change was the return to having travel team eligibility be
determined by a player's year of birth. US Soccer had used players' birth year to determine their age group up through 1991 when they switched
to an August 1st age group cutoff. Beginning with the 2016-2017, they would return to year of birth. This caused a lot of confusion and
anxiety at tryouts, not just at LMSC, but throughout the country.
Other changes made were that players ages 10 and younger were no longer allowed to head a ball in games or practices. Goalkeeper punts were also
eliminated in the younger age groups. The U-9 and U-10 age group changed from 8v8 to 7v7 while the U-11 and U-12 age groups changed to 9v9 play.
In the middle of the fall season, US Soccer announced that age groups would change names from "Under 10" to "10 and under," etc.
The 7v7 games also implemented a "build out line" which opponents had to retreat to when the opposing goalie gained possession of the ball or when
there was a goal kick. This rule change caused a lot of problems since many referees and coaches were told different interpretations
of the rule.
Tryouts produced a record number of travel teams for LMSC as the club fielded 57 teams (23 girls teams and 34 boys teams). LMSC also fielded their
highest number of high school age teams in club history.
The highlight of the fall season was the LMSC Invictus (U-13A boys, coach Dale Haines) winning the prestigious Atlantic Premier League. One of
the team's players, Zion Georges, was invited to travel to London, all expenses paid, to train with the Tottenham Hotspurs youth academy for
For the third consecutive year, an LMSC alum led his college to the men's NCAA Division Three National Championship as long time LMSC player
Kevin Lawson (Cannibals and Panthers) led Tufts to their second national championship in the last three years.
The Sabertooth Rats (U-17 boys) and Storm (U-17 girls) were both accepted to play in the National League, comprised of the top 32 teams
in the nation in age groups U-15 through U-18.
The 2017 season saw
three LMSC teams
crowned state champions. This was the third time in the last four years that three LMSC teams won state
champmionships. The Lower Merion Storm (Under 17 girls, coached by Pete Gangl) won the state cup for the second straight year.
It was also the fourth straight year
that the Storm reached the state championship game. The Storm advanced to the Region One championships where they were semifinalists.
The LMSC Invictus (U-13 boys, coached by Dale Haines) won their state championship and were finalists at the Region One championships,
losing the championship game in overtime. The LMSC Megalodons were crowned Under 9 boys state champions.
In March, long time LMSC Sabertooth Rats player
helped the EPSYA Under 17 Olympic Development Program team win the ODP
LMSC had a record number of travel teams (60), including a record number of girls teams (26) and a record number of high school age teams (14),
including 5 girls teams and 9 boys teams.
In the summer, four LMSC alums
led the USA to the World Championship in the Maccabi Games. Congratulations to Alec Weiss (head coach for LMSC Stealth, former member of LMSC
Hammerheads), Max Kurtzman (LMSC Roadkill), Danny Rubenstein (Pink Panthers) and Jon Dolezal (Velez) on their victory
The fall of 2017 marked the start of the 50th year of LMSC offering youth soccer to the local community!!!!
In the winter, LMSC had three teams qualify to play in the National League which is comprised of the top 16 teams in the nation
in the Under 14 through Under 19 age groups. The Storm (U-18 girls), Invictus (U-14 boys) and Sabertooth Rats (U-18 boys) all competed in
the National League where they played against the top teams from all over the country.
Long time Girls Travel Team Director of Coaching Rasheed Epps retired after almost 15 years with LMSC. Rasheed moved to Texas, hopefully he will
get back into coaching down there.
Dale Haines is our current Boys Travel Team DOC. In December, he was also named as LMSC Vice President.
Five LMSC players were named to the Pennsylvania High School All-State teams, including Morgan Rees (LMSC Storm) who was selected to the girls
all-state team. Rees will continue her soccer career at Drexel University in 2018.
Making the high school boys all-state team were four members of the Under 18 LMSC Rats, Alex Kades, Philip Burckhardt, Sean Touey and
Jared Dillon. Kades was originally a 'D' team travel team player at U-10. He moved up to the 'C' team at U-11, the 'B' team at U-12 and the 'A'
team at U-13. His improvement over the years has shown that players who work hard over the years can develop into top players. Kades has committed
to play at University of Pennsylvania in 2019.
The LMSC Storm (U-18A girls)
won their third straight state championship, the first LMSC girls team to win three straight state championships. The Storm is coached by Pete Gangl.
Former Storm player Filippa Graneld
was selected to Sweden's Under 17 National Team.
Long time LMSC player Daniel Lovitz
was called into the United States Men's National Team camp and made several starts for the National team.
Lovitz played for the LMSC Velez (coached by Miguel Nuila)
from Under 11 through Under 18. He later played for Elon University and then the Montreal Impact of MLS.
The LMSC Rats (Under 18 Boys) won the prestigious Regional League, comprised of the very best teams in northeastern USA. The Rats qualified for the
National League in 2019. The Rats are coached by Brent Jacquette, head coach for the Widener University's Men's Team. Several members of the Rats
were honored by being selected for the high school all-state team, including Alex Kades (Harriton High School), Jared Dillon (Roman Catholic), Griffin Wada
(Haverford School), Sean Touey (Abington High School) and Philip Burckhardt (Springfield Chestnut Hill Academy). Many other members of the Rats were
selected as first team all-league for their respective high school teams.
LMSC Invictus reached the state championship game for the second year in a row. In 2017, Invictus were state champions and regional finalists. In 2018,
Invictus lost to rivals Harleysville in overtime, denying them a second trip to the Region One Championships.
Both Invictus and the Rats were accepted to play in the National League in 2019. THe National League is comprised of the top 32 club teams in the United States.
LMSC President Biff Sturla
was honored by EPYSA, our state association, with their Service To Youth Award for his dedication to youth soccer over the
past 37 years.
The LMSC boys 'A' teams U-13 through U-19 were selected to play in the Eastern Development Program's "Club vs. Club" League, a high level league comprised of
some of the best clubs in Northeastern USA. Each club will play a different club on a particular day with all of the 7 boys age groups playing at the same
site at the same day.
The Under 19 girls LMSC Storm won their fourth straight state championship. Thanks to the efforts of long time head coach Pete Gangl, a
total of 20 of the Storm girls went on to play soccer at the college level in the fall. Gangl was voted the 2019 EPYSA Girls Travel
Team Coach Of The Year for his 12 years of dedication to coaching the Storm team.
The LMSC Megalodons (U-11 boys), Storm (U-19 girls) and Furia (U-12 girls) were all crowned indoor state champions.
The LMSC Rats won the Under 19 state championship and took 3rd place at Nationals. The Rats were led by Brent Jacquette. Many of the Rats
players would go on to play at the college level in the fall.
The LMSC Invictus (U-15 boys) and LMSC Legacy (U-14 boys) took second place in their state cups while the LMSC Furia (U-12 girls) and
LMSC Megalodons (U-11 boys) both reached the semifinals.
Alex Srolis was hired to be the first Director of Goalkeepers (D.O.G.). Alex was a four year starter for the West Chester University Women's
team and holds four career goalkeeper records at the school. She is also the goalkeeper coach for the Harriton High Boys Varsity.
Long time LMSC Head Coach Pete Gangl was honored by EPYSA as their Girls Travel Team Coach Of The Year for
leading the LMSC Storm to their fourth straight state championship and for his excellent work with the LMSC Impact (U-14 girls).
The LMSC Impact (U-14 girls) and LMSC Irmaos Navy (U-9 boys) both won their indoor state cups while the Megalodons (U-12 boys) and Stealth (U-11 boys) both took second.
In Mid-March, Covid-19 (a.k.a. Coronavirus) shut down LMSC and all of youth soccer for over three months. This caused us to shutdown our Spring Intramural Program as
well as our Summer Program for travel team players. In late June, we were finally given the go-ahead by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Governor Wolf
to resume soccer, but only with no-contact training. This meant that tryouts had to be done without any scrimmages or small sided competitions. Many players elected
to not tryout for the travel team program because of Covid-19. All coaches were required to wear face masks at practices and games.
Many people opted to not sign up for the Fall Intramural Program because of Covid-19. Some of our players who had registered for the Spring Intramural Program used their
credit to play in the Fall Intramural Program. Other people opted to wait until the 2021 Spring Intramural Program, when Covid will hopefully be less of a danger.
The LMSC Furia, our U-14 girls travel team, were crowned 2020 EDP Mid-Atlantic Premier Fall Champions. Furia is coached by Nico Severini.
LMSC, along with other local area clubs and local area high school programs, showed that Covid-19 does not transmit well on soccer fields. LMSC had zero instances over any
player or coach transmitting Covid to another person. Only three players in the club tested positive and none of the transmitted Covid-19 to another player.
As the winter season approached, the PA Department of Health mandated that all players needed to play in masks. LMSC complied with all mandates from the Pennsylvania
Department of Health and the Governor's office and regularly updated all members on protocol.
In early December, cases of Covid-19 rose throughout the country so Governor Wolf shutdown youth sports for the remainder of the
2020 year. All of LMSC is looking forward to 2021.
The government reopened youth sports in early January, allowing LMSC travel teams to resume training and allowing LMSC to run their usual winter training programs.
All players, coaches and specators were required to be wearing Covid masks at all times. In late March, travel teams were able to play in their spring leagues, but
all players in Pennsylvania were initially required to wear Covid masks. Teams in Delaware were the first to allow players to not wear masks when playing, making it
a wierd sight to see Pennsylvania teams playing in masks and Delaware teams not playing in masks at games in Delaware. One by one, individual counties started
to relax the mask restrictions. Montgomery County relaxed their restrictions in May, causing a lot of controversy among parents of players. Coaches were still
required to wear masks when around players since youngsters were not eligible to get Covid vacations. During all of this time, LMSC and other local
youth sports organizations including Lower Merion Baseball demonstrated that Covid does not transmit well outside on athletic fields.
EPYSA opted to not offer indoor state cups in 2021 since Covid supposedly transmitted more easily in indoor environments. Given that indoor state cups often
creates areas where people are crowded together, this seemed like a wise move. LMSC limited the amount of indoor soccer in early 2021, accepting fewer players
than usual in training programs, asking families to minimize the number of spectators at indoor events and spreading out the starting times of each age group so
that players could leave the facilities before the next group arrived.
LMSC teams had a lot of success in state cups as three teams qualified for Regional competition at the NCS Cups. Our Under 15 girls, the LMSC Storm, coached
by Pete Gangl won their state cup, winning their championship game 6-1. This was the fifth straight year that Pete won a state championship (not counting 2020
when there were no state cups) as Pete previously led the LMSC Storm to four straight state championships before the players all graduated high school and
moved to play at the college level.
Our Under 17 boys, LMSC Invictus, coached by Sam Lane and Dale Haines also won their NCS State Cup competition. Invictus has now advanced to the state
championship game four straight years (not counting 2020 where there were no state cups), having won the state cups two of those four years.
Impact and Invictus both advanced to Regional Cups, as did the LMSC Thunder, our Under 13 boys team, coached by Blake Griffin, who qualified
because of their excellent finish in the EDP League.
The LMSC Reign, our Under 17 girls travel team, coached by long time LMSC coach Jeff Rhodes, won the President's Cup (second flight of state cups) to advance
to the Regional President's Cup competition.
The LMSC Sol, our Under 10 B girls travel team, coached by Cali Hutson were State Cup champions in the second flight of state cups.
The LMSC Rovers were state finalists in the top flight of the Under 9 boys competition. The Rovers were coached by Anthony Haines.
Many other teams reached the semifinals of top flight state cups, including the Under 19 boys LMSC Fever, the Under 10
girls LMSC Swarm, the Under 10 boys LMSC Irmaos Navy and Under 10 boys LMSC Irmaos Red.
The LMSC Sixers were finalists of the boys Under 9 state cup (second flight) while the LMSC Dominators were semifinalists in that age group. The LMSC
Rangers were state cup semifinalists of the boys Under 10 state cups (second flight). Both the Dominators and Rangers are 'C' travel teams and showed the
depth of our travel team program as they enjoyed great success in state cup play.
Long time LMSC coach Gabe Betancourt retired to focus on his soccer business with The Far Post in Pottstown. They have a lit turf field, an
outdoor grass field and a nice indoor facility. Gabe first coached at LMSC sometime around 1996 when his twin daughters Isa and Ileana started out in
our intramural program and then playing about 10 years in our Travel Team Program. LMSC would like to thank Gabe for his many decades of service
to so many young players, both boys and girls over the years. Gabe was voted LMSC Boys Travel Team Coach Of The Year in 2015 and
LMSC Girls Travel Team Coach Of The Year in 2001.
The LMSC Summer Program returned, after missing the 2020 season due to Covid-19. Over 160 travel team players signed up for the program, an all-time high.
The Har Zion Men's Club became the official sponsor for the LMSC Special Needs Program, donating enough money to enable the program to play on a turf
field at AIM Academy in Ardmore. Through the generosity of the Har Zion Men's Club, they covered the cost of the player's jerseys, all equipment and
enabled the players to play at no cost in 2021. LMSC would like to thank Har Zion Men's Club for their efforts.
In December, LMSC started a new winter indoor intramural program at The Coliseum in Conshohocken. LMSC offered training programs for younger players
(4-6 year olds) and intramural leagues to 7-11 year olds). The Coliseum is a new facility that just opened up.