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Adams County soccer team heading to Germany

ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – The South Central PA Soccer Academy (SCPASA) 07 Lions, of Adams County, is preparing to travel to Germany to compete in two “friendlies.”

“This team basically has one year left together because most of them are graduating,” said assistant coach Damien Michaels. “So this will be like one last trip.”

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Most of these teens have been playing soccer together since U9. The group played in multiple different soccer organizations before Michaels championed their move to SCPASA so they could compete at a higher level.

The team is made up completely of volunteer coaches like Michaels who are giving space for these teens’ love of soccer to continue to grow. They play on a “lopsided” field borrowed from a local elementary school that their coaches mow themselves before each game.

They might not have the top facilities or vast resources, but they have the two things that matter: players who have a passion for soccer and coaches and staff who have a passion for sharing the love of the “beautiful game.”

“I’ve been playing soccer for as long as I can remember and I think what kept me staying with it for so long is Coach Damien,” said Quaide Clarke, Lions center midfielder. “I think he’s probably the biggest reason that [our] core group of players stayed together for so long. He’s probably the reason why a lot of us love the game so much.”

Michaels spent eight years in Germany while his father was stationed there with the military. Michaels played soccer there with the FC Pirmasens and the Kaiserslautern American High School team before being recruited to Goldey-Beacom College to continue his soccer career.

“Something I’ve always wanted to do with these guys is take them over and show them the experiences I had,” Michaels said.

So the team is making it happen. They have about a year of play left together before many of them graduate high school and potentially leave the area. They are going to “end” this journey with one final adventure together.

“For me, I’m excited obviously to play against the competition there, but I think just the whole experience of being with the team in a different environment. . . it should be fun,” Clarke said.

Clarke’s teammate Carloz Mendez echoed the same excitement towards the trip.

“The team bonding and trip should be fun overall and we get to play against Germany competition which will be interesting,” said Mendez.

Michaels has set it up for the Lions to face a team in Pirmasens, Germany in July.

  • Quaide Clarke
    Quaide Clarke
  • Carlos Mendez
    Carlos Mendez
  • The SCPASA 07 Lions fundraising for Germany
    The SCPASA 07 Lions fundraising for Germany

Mendez has been out of the country once before, but neither he nor Clarke have been to Germany.

Of course, a trip to Germany for 16 players and two coaches is not cheap. The players and Lions’ support staff have been very busy fundraising for the journey.

The team co-captains wrote and sent a letter to local businesses in Adams County asking for support for the trip and many have responded very generously. They will also be doing some yard work for local families and are holding soccer clinics for local children to raise money for their trip. They’ve also participated in candy fundraisers.

They set up a GoFundMe for the trip for friends and family not in the area to donate as well.

The boys have been saving their own money for food and other expenses for the trip, but they need help with flights, lodging and transportation.

They have worked hard for this opportunity and proven they are talented soccer players, even without many of the resources other teams have.

Where they are from and what they have doesn’t change what they are capable of.

“We played in a tournament, we played a team from like downtown New York City,” Clarke said. “It’s crazy we’re like ‘Where are you from?’ and they’re like ‘I’m from Manhattan’ and (then they’re) like ‘where are you from’, it’s like ‘Gettysburg, Pennsylvania’. It’s just cool to see we can play with those kids too.”

A mother of one of the players emphasized the team’s ability to hold their own.

“The level of play doesn’t diminish; they are equal and just as talented,” said Beverly Michaels.

Now, thanks to the passion of a strong support system of coaches and community members, the SCPASA 07 Lions will soon take their talents to the pitch in Germany, a memory this group will remember wherever they head after high school.

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