THE YEAR 2003: UASC TRYZUB WRITES A NEW CHAPTER OF SPORTS HISTORY PREPARATIONS MADE TO CELEBRATE "TRYZUBIWKA’S" 25thBIRTHDAY
The UASC Tryzub’s Ukrainian Nationals’ accomplishments in soccer, both in the USA and abroad, are legendary; there are pictures in the National Soccer Hall of Fame (Oneonta, N.Y) to prove it. Indeed "Our Team" can boast that it was and is the most successful professional and amateur franchise in Philadelphia sports history (See "UASC Tryzub Celebrates 53 years of Ukrainian Nationals Soccer, at www.TryzubSportsCenter.org). And the year 2003 entered yet another chapter into our scrapbook of memories.
As a severe winter thawed into early spring, a climactic last minute free kick against Vereinigung Erzgebirge favored the Ukrainian Nationals with the Pennsylvania State Open Cup championship. They rolled through a tough Maryland Colts Team only to be stopped at the doorstep of the Region I Open Cup championship by a tough Polish-American Team, Vistula, from Northern New Jersey. Earlier in the season the Nats had already captured the indoor soccer league championship of the Delaware Valley in a hard-fought victory against The United German-Hungarians. Ultimately "Our Team" also handily captured yet another in a long series of Inter-County Soccer League championships.
In August The Ukrainian Nationals hosted a very important friendly game against "Dynamo", a British-Ukrainian team from Manchester, Eng. Memories of visits in the 1960’s by European powerhouses, especially Manchester United, were at the tops of everyone’s minds, even as "The Big Red" was busy inaugurating Lincoln field. This victory was then followed by a victory against a long-time rival, The New York Ukrainians, in celebration of the 12th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
The Ukrainian Nationals’ youth program also gave us a year of thrills and excitement, as our boys and girls captured multiple awards and championships. We are most proud of all of these accomplishments. However, we cannot help but stand in awe of our U-15 Boys’ Team’s season of glory. Coached by Brian Kammersgaard, "Our Team" toured Denmark for two weeks. After training with AGF, a professional club from Arhus, and with Hans Pedersen, coach of Denmark’s U19 & U17 national teams, the Boys played in two tournaments, where they proved themselves more than worthy to sport our Red and Black.
At the 1st Tournament in Skagen (Skaw Cup) the Ukrainian Nationals had a record of 2 wins, 2 losses. They defeated two teams from Norway and lost to two teams from Denmark. At the 2nd Tournament (Vildbjerg Cup) they hit their stride and won the championship. After winning all 7 tournament games, they beat teams from Poland and from Germany in the semi-finals and the finals.
UASC Tryzub also took great pride in hosting both the Ukrainian Nationals’ Second Invitational Tournament (Memorial Weekend) and The U.S. Amateur Soccer Association Region I Open and Amateur Cup championships (Father’s Day). At the request of Pennsylvania State Senator Stewart Greenleaf, UASC Tryzub’s first- rate facilities served as a training ground for the North Korean Women’s National team, as it prepared for World Cup play. Even as we finished celebrating the 12th Anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from tyranny with a wonderful folk festival, we were reminded that much of the world remains enslaved. True to our mission and our actions during the times of soviet oppression over Ukraine, however, we were pleased once again to build international understanding and democratic growth through the medium of sport. We had many fruitful discussions with the players, their coaches and even U.N. Ambassador Hahn who toured our facilities. We proved once again that people, left to themselves, are loving, good and kind; that people must always stand together, despite their governments.
And so -- as we try to capture the essence of this breathless year; as we ask ourselves how it is that we did all of these things -- only one thing comes to mind: a simple MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Great champions like Tryzub and the Ukrainian Nationals are not only capable of great things, but accomplish great things. Extraordinary things are natural occurrences. And, like all championship teams, Tryzub and the Ukrainian Nationals are the sums of their players: all of us. We salute you.
The year 2004 marks the 25th anniversary of "Tryzubiwka", as we affectionately call our facility. Please join us in celebrating this milestone for our milestone organizations.
Eugene A. Luciw, President