NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) — Some kids in New Jersey who play football are really good at football and now suddenly find themselves competing for a national championship in Tampa, Florida.
In the industrial heart of Newark, a football team has become the talk of the town. Ironbound Football Club has become a place that builds winners.
“It means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family, knowing how much hard work I put in to put in a team like this,” player Sean Manzo said. “It’s been an amazing experience and opportunity.”
The coach has the team ready for its biggest game yet.
“The USL Academy League 1R Metropolitan Division qualifies us to be among the top 16 teams competing for the USL National Championship,” said coach Nick Lavrador.
You can feel the excitement as they compete for football’s version of a three-peat. They’ve already won the Academy Cup and Metropolitan Championship, and now they’re hoping to win the USL Academy Trophy in Florida.
“In order to accomplish this, we need to go out there and win the national championship playoff game,” Labrado said.
These young people strive to balance school, work and training.
“This is our chance to really get noticed by some professional clubs and if we can win, that would be even better,” player Nico Gomez said.
“We earned this, we worked hard for it, and that’s what we’ve wanted since the beginning of the year,” player Frank Lozano said.
They are like a family and it looks easy, but they are ready to represent themselves, their team and the community and focus on winning a championship next weekend.
“This is an amazing experience, we have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” player Miguel Hernandez said.
“This is a great opportunity to give back to the city that has given me everything, everything I know and everything I’ve learned,” player Darius Holmes said.
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