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Valley Soccer Teams Competing in Iceland

            Two Valley Soccer Club teams are spending the week in Iceland. The Valley Crew (U-16 boys) and Valley Voodoo (U-14 girls) are currently competing in Rey Cup Iceland 2018, a tournament in Reykjavik with 99 teams from seven countries.

            According to Jack Cupitt, members of the Crew are very excited. "I hope we

Mike Freed, center, a member of the Valley Soccer

Club's executive committee and head coach of the

Upper Perkiomen Girll's varsity team, kicks the 

ball around Sunday.  Two of the club's teams are

spending the week in Iceland cometing in a 


win the championship," said Cupitt, who lives in Red Hill and will be a sophomore at Upper Perkiomen High School in the fall. "I think the competition will be tough, but I believe we can handle it."

            Mike Freed, a member of the club's executive committee, described the experience as an invaluable opportunity to appreciate the sport from an international perspective and see the world with teammates. According to Freed, interacting with players from other teams is an integral part of trip.

            "Through food and fellowship, the kids will figure out they have a lot more things in common that differences," he said Sunday evening.

            Carla Sokel, coach of the Voodoo, wants her team to play the best it can and enjoy competing against opponents from around the world. She called winning an added bonus.

            "I want the girls to have fun," said Sokel, a 1991 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School who lives in Bally. "Winning is fun."

            Sokel's daughter Jada has a feeling the competition will be "really good" because soccer is the main sport for all of the Voodoo's opponents. Still, Jada – an attacking midfielder who is going into eighth grade at Boyertown Middle School East – said she expects her team to do very well. "We are pretty good," she said.

            Cupitt, who played previously in a tournament in Ireland, said he expects stiff competition from the host country. The Crew have been grouped with five teams from the Nordic island country located in the North Atlantic, where soccer is the primary sport. Despite a population of just 329,100, Iceland recently became the smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup.

            Jason Gray, head coach of the Crew, wants his team to be competitive. He said his team players, made up mostly of 15-year-old, are hard workers.

            "They won't give up until the final whistle," said Gray, an East Greenville resident and a 1993 graduate of Upper Perkiomen.

            Performance is important to Kyle Shemeley, a Pennsburg resident and attacker for the Crew.

            "I want to do good for my country," said Shemeley, who will be a sophomore at Upper Perkiomen. "I want to represent America well."

            The tournament – held from July 25-29 – included three teams from the United States, two from England and one each from Scotland, Norway Chile and the Faroe Islands.

            According to Freed, all the games will be played at a single sports complex. The itinerary includes entertainment for athletes each night, including a pool party, disco party and pizza party as well as sightseeing opportunities.

            After arriving in Reykjavik – the nation's capital – early Wednesday morning following an overnight flight, the 57-person traveling party spend the day orienting to a four-hour time difference. Both teams were scheduled to play two games Thursday.

            The trip marks the club's first trip outside North America since 1993. For several years, Valley Soccer has been traveling to the Ottawa Internationals Soccer Club in Canada. According to Freed, the players showed they were ready to handle a more expansive trip.

            Accoring to Carla Sokel, the current trip could change the soccer trajectory of one of her players. She said her experience traveling to Germany with the club impacted her career, which included playing on the boys team at Upper Perkiomen and at Temple University.





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