In the summer of 2012, the US U19 Men’s National Team won the Gold Medal at the U19 ILF World Games in Turku, Finland. The road to their Championship wasn’t easy as they finished pool play 2-2 after losing to Canada and the Iroquois Nationals. Those two losses were the first time the US U19 Team had ever lost in International Play. The Red, White & Blue righted the ship and knocked off Germany and then got revenge on the Iroquois and Canada en route to the Gold. However, those pool play losses weren’t the team’s first time losing.
When the US U19 team was released, there were no players from the Philadelphia area on the roster. A shocking result given the amount of talent from the area. The kids from Philly didn’t take that lightly and as a result an exhibition was held prior to the World Games where the USA U19 Team faced off against the “Philly All-Stars.” In a game loaded with talent across the field, the Philly All-Stars pulled off the unthinkable and defeated Team USA 15-14 in a double overtime thriller. In black pinnies that looked like they were printed 30 minutes before gametime, Philly knocked off the group that was bound to represent their nation, proudly already sporting their flashy Warrior jerseys, helmets and gloves.
It was a moment of sweet revenge for the Philly folks who had a talented roster including the likes of: Joey Sankey (UNC), Conor Kelly (Notre Dame), Chris Hupfeldt (Penn), Matt Barrett (UVA/Nova), and Matt Rambo (Maryland) who finished with 4 goals and the winner in 2OT. Players and fans from Philly often recount this as one of the greatest lacrosse games they’d ever seen. Even more impressive in their win was the fact that this group of players was assembled, some with limited to no practice together and took town the National Team who had been coming off a series of training camps together.
For Team USA, while a disappointing outcome, it was perhaps a wakeup call prior to shipping off to Finland. Team USA skeptics were quick to call out that the roster included 10 players from Long Island, but certainly you have to assume that at the time all were worthy selections and several ended up going onto have great collegiate careers with notables such as Matt Kavanagh (Notre Dame), Charlie Raffa (Maryland), Connor Buczek (Cornell), Kyle Turri (Duke) and Steve Pontrello (UNC) just to name a few.
Full Team USA Roster:
With this game happening well over 8 years ago, some people may have forgotten or plenty may have never even heard of it. For those looking for a deeper dive, here’s the full game recap by Philly Lacrosse: