We are blessed in our area to have an abundance of up and coming soccer stars. These Greek-American soccer players have been dominating the youth leagues for years now and have expanded their domination to the high school leagues. Some have even achieved a skill level that has captured the attention of the Philadelphia Union Academy, which has since invited these young Greeks to join.
Hopefully we will continue to see their growth at the College level and possible as professionals. One local team with an abundance of Greek athletes is Rose Tree Gunners U16. Head coach Paul Giovanopoulos leads them. They are a Regional and State powerhouse team always ranked and always invited to National College showcase tournaments.
The team features Greek American players George Lambritsios at Striker, Kostas Slikas and Kostas (Dean) Giovanopoulos at midfield, Kostas Dambalas at keeper and on occasion George Charalambidis at defense. They are known in many soccer circles as the Greek National team. Lambritsios, Slikas and GIovanopoulos are also on the same High School team that is coached by Charlie Dodds.
Another well recognized Greek soccer player in the community is Jerry Karalis. Karalis has played for Lower Merion, FC Delco, Haverford private school and has now teamed up fellow Hellene, George Charalambidis at Philadelphia Union Academy.
Eyes are also focused on Yiannis Konsoulas who played for West Chester United soccer club and Bishop Shanahan and Ilias Tikos who plays for Upper Darby High School. Christos Yiantsos plays for the Penn Fusion Academy at the college level while George Lambritsios is a recognized leader at Cabrini College.
As a community we are developing top-notch players that are excelling at the sport of soccer that we Greeks are so passionate about. Many of the senior players that have led Hellenic teams in the past are aging and are passing the torch to the next generation. Several things we Greeks in the Philadelphia metropolitan community should be assured of, is that the next pool of Hellenes has the talent and is a larger force in the game we have come to recognize as part of the Greek psyche.