Big-time soccer in your own backyard – thereporteronline

The National Premiere Soccer League is coming to the area.

The Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals adult soccer team has joined the NPSL as a 2022 franchise and will play its home games right in North Wales, at the Ukrainian American Sport Center on Lower State Road.

The club is set to open the 2022 Season as an NPSL franchise with a Wed., May 18 home game.

“Joining the NPSL was the next logical step in a growth and development plan for the club’s adult programming,” said Dan Harmon, Director of Soccer Development for the Ukrainian Nationals.

The Ukrainians will be part of the league’s Keystone Division in the East Region.

The club has a proud, storied history rich in winning tradition.

The Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals Tryzub are seen in action against the LA Kickers in the 1960 US Open Cup Championship Game. Tryzub won in OT, 5-3. Mike Noha scored all five Tryzub goals. Submitted Photo.

From 1960 through 1967, this sports dynasty captured six American Soccer League (Lewis Cup) Professional Titles, four US open Cup Championships, and four US National Challenge Cup Championships.

In fact, in 1963, Philadelphia’s team captured the triple crown: it won all three Cups in the same season.

Joining the NPSL should bring a tremendous boost to the present: the Ukrainians see it as an opportunity to restore their tremendous success as well as compete for the US Open Cup along with other state, regional and national championships.

“It has already boosted player recruitment and the resulting competitive quality of the team greatly,” said Harmon.

The legendary 1963 UK Nats team that captured the triple crown: US open Cup, the National Challenge Cup and the Lewis Cup.  They were the American Soccer League professional champs as well.  Submitted Photo.
The legendary 1963 UK Nats team that captured the triple crown: US open Cup, the National Challenge Cup and the Lewis Cup. They were the American Soccer League professional champs as well. Submitted Photo.

The season begins at home on May 18 at 7 pm against the Jackson Lions FC. The regular season is 10 games, including five at home, and caps off with a road contest at West Chester United SC on July 1.

The club’s final regular-season home game will be on June 19 at 3:30 pm against Electric City FC.

Said Harmon: “It promises to be a bulwark in retaining talent that annually graduates from The Ukrainian Nationals’ youth soccer program.”

The club’s youth program consists of over 50 teams: boys and girls, in all age brackets. Each age bracket has at least one team that plays at the highest levels and competes for state, regional and even national titles.

The 1966-67 Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals team, US Open Cup and Lewis Cup ASL Professional Champions.  Submitted Photo.
The 1966-67 Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals team, US Open Cup and Lewis Cup ASL Professional Champions. Submitted Photo.

Historically, the Ukrainian Nationals was the first soccer team in the United States to have home games televised and played in the first indoor regulation soccer game in Convention Hall, Atlantic City.

Soccer teams from around the world visited Philadelphia to play Philly’s “Nats:” Manchester United, England; Manchester City, England; Dundee FC, Scotland; VFB Stuttgart, West Germany; Eintracht Frankfurt, West Germany; Austria Wien (Vienna); Wolverhampton Wanderers, England; and Nottingham Forest FC, England.

In 1967, the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals represented the United States in international competition before 102,000 fans in El Salvador.

The team’s 2022 schedule, individual game tickets and season ticket packages can be found and purchased on the team’s website: www.ukrainiannationals.com. Click on the NPSL button.

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