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Sports Article
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Voodoo Soccer Headed to National Championships
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
Players on the Valley Voodoo 15U girls soccer team inlcude, front row kneeling:
Giana Deskevich, Rylie Pinkerton, Kyra Lesko and Lauren Powers. Standing, 
Summer Smith, Elizabeth Proctor, Erin Edwards, Jada Roderick, Vanessa Truscello,
Sarah Fisher, Jada Sokel, Mary Kate Sitko, Karly Sheahan, Kendall Cunningham,
Hanna Nguyen, Sara Edwards and Sydney Fronheiser. Missing from photo, Athena

            The Valley Voodoo, a 15u girls soccer team from the Valley Soccer Club, will compete for national championship next month.  The team, which included nine students living in the Upper Perkiomen School District, recently qualified for next month's 2019 US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup.

            "We're very proud of where this team has gotten," head coach Carla Sokel said.

            The Voodoo – who won the state championship in May – went undefeated during five games at the 2019 US Youth Soccer Eastern Presidents Cup earlier this month in West Virginia to become to the first club team to advance to nationals. In the title game, Sarah Fisher scored twice to lead them to a 3-0 victory over the Wethersfield (Conn.) Breakers on Tuesday, June 18.

            During the regional tournament – which included a 5-0 semifinal victory over the top-seeded team from Arlington, Va. – the team converted on several set plays and ball movement, according to the coach. 

            "We're playing really well," said Sokel, a 1991 graduate of Upper Perkiomen who played the sport at Temple University. "I can't say I'm surprised that we won. We've been on a roll, so to speak. The girls just played really well. They played like they wanted to win."

            The Voodoo (35-7-5), made up of 18 players who have been together since August of 2018, are strong in all aspects, according to Sokel. She described Giana Deskevich as a phenomenal goalkeeper and identified Fisher as the team's leading scorer, even though they don't keep track of the goals.

            The coach identified Kira Lesko, who goes between midfield and striker, as a key creator of offensive opportunities. She identified Sara Edwards and Mary Kate Sitko as the top two midfielders. The Voodoo's defense is led by Rylie Pinkerton and Kendall Cunningham.
"We have well balanced team," Sokel said. "The defense has been stellar the entire season."
According to the coach, a core group of 10 players have played together in the club for the last seven years. Sokel -- who served as an assistant coach with them on their 9u team, then became the head coach the following year -- said their skills have improved significantly. Over the years, new players have seamlessly meshed their abilities with the current ones.

            "I feel like I've built a level of trust with the girls," said Sokel, who also serves the head coach Upper Perkiomen Middle School boys soccer team. "I think they understand that I expect 100 percent effort from them. They seem to be enjoying themselves. Winning is fun, but it's not the most important thing."

            At National President Cup, scheduled for July 10-14 at the at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro, Tenn., the Voodoo -- who also includes players from the Boyertown,  Perkiomen Valley, Souderton, Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford and Quakertown school districts --  will need to rely on their ability to recognize strategies and tactics on the fly, according to Sokel.
"I expect the team to play well and the girls to continue their development," she said. "They will do great. I also expect them to have fun."

            The club has started a GoFundMe page for the trip. Any money raised would help offset the cost of meals and activities for the team, according to Sokel.






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