Thanks to the hard work of Henry Robicheau, the '93 boys at WPFC became the first WPFC team to be invited to participate in the prestigious ManU Cup - a tournament with qualifying competitions throughout the world leading to an international tournament in England in August. Acceptance was difficult, but preparation even more difficult with boys from 3 teams (92 Academy, BU16 and BU15) with high school as well as club commitments needing to find time to train together. At the opening ceremony on Thursday, May 22 at the Nike Complex in Beaverton, OR, along with listening to the special guest speaker, Marcus Hahnemann, the boys found out who would be in their group - Slammers FC from SoCal, Team Ohio (the Ohio state champs) and CO Rush.
The boys took the field the next day missing three of their top players, Troy Peterson, Sean Okoli and Chris Miller, who were in the state high school semifinals. Despite missing these three players the boys put early pressure on Slammers. However, a goal off a set piece by the Slammers disconcerted the boys, who find themselves down 3-0 at the half. The second half was another story, however. Early goals by Ceasar Ramos and Dominique Dismuke cut the deficit to one. Continuous pressure from WPFC, led by captain Nikolai Hammer, kept the Slammers on their heels, but WPFC just couldn't find that elusive 3rd goal. That afternoon, against Team Ohio, the boys knew they needed a result, but again lost by a goal as a compact and disciplined Team Ohio defense led them to a 1-0 victory.
On the final day of competition, the boys faced CO Rush, and looked again like the team that had dominated the Slammers in the 2nd half. This time, good early pressure led to a free kick which Bryce Joling tucked into the corner of the net for an early 1-0 WPFC lead. Shortly before half, the boys were rewarded for their offensive pressure again as Nikolai found the back of the net for a 2-0 halftime lead. A dominating midfield led by Andrew Black and Austin Sweeney, a solid defense led by Brett Bertrand, Eli Peterson, Nick Raskasky and Derek Titus and backed by keepers Troy Albright and Brandon Shipley kept the shutout going in the second half as WPFC ended the game a 2-0 winner, and ended the tournament with as many goals scored as allowed.
The boys would liked to have advance beyond group play, but it wasn't to be. However, the lessons learned from this tournament about mental and physical preparation, composed play, and commitment above and beyond team trainings should stand the boys in good stead in the future as they begin playing at even higher levels.