Newark's Ironbound Soccer Club heads to Florida with eyes on national title

Anthony Johnson Image
Monday, December 4, 2023
Newark soccer team heads to Florida with shot at national title
Anthony Johnson has more on the soccer team's road to the national championship.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Some soccer-playing kids in New Jersey can really kick it, and now suddenly find themselves competing for a national championship in Tampa, Florida.

In the industrial heart of Newark, a soccer team has become the talk of the city. The Ironbound Soccer Club has become a place where winners are made.

"It means a lot to me, it means a lot to my family too, they know how much work I've put into playing for a team like this," player Sean Manzo said. "It's an amazing experience and opportunity."

The coach has the team primed and ready for what is their biggest tournament so far.

"The 1R Metropolitan Division of the USL Academy League, which qualifies us to be the into the top 16 teams to compete for the USL National Championship," coach Nick Lavrador said.

You could feel the excitement as they go for soccer's version of a trifecta. They have already won the Academy Cup and the Metropolitan Championship, and now they are looking to win the USL Academy trophy in Florida.

"And to complete it we would need to go down there and win the playoffs for the national championship," Lavrador said.

These young men are dedicated to balancing school, work and training.

"This is our opportunity to really get looked at by some professional clubs, and if we're able to win, that's even better," player Nico Gomez said.

"We earned this, we worked hard for this and this is what we wanted since the beginning of the year," player Frank Lozano said.

They are like a family and seem loose and relaxed, but they are ready to represent themselves, their team and community by focusing on winning a championship this coming weekend.

"It's an amazing experience, we have been waiting for this moment for a long time," player Miguel Hernandez said.

"It's a good opportunity to give back to the city that gave me everything, everything I know and everything I've learned," player Darius Holmes said.


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