Club News - 2009-2010



Vardar Academy Winter Showcase Photos
 December 2009



Vardar U12 Boys win 2009 Fishers Halloween Classic
 U13 Division

October 25, 2009 --  Fishers, Indiana -- Congratulations to the U12 Boys and Coach John Phillips on winning the 2009 Fishers Halloween Classic U13 Boys Division Championship.

The U12 Boys went 3-0-1 in tournament play.





Vardar U14 & U18 Girls crowned 2010 State Cup Champions

October 30, 2009 -- Two Vardar girls teams have been crowned Michigan State Cup Champions after winning in the final game of the 2010 tournament.  The U14 and U18 teams will now represent Vardar and Michigan at the June 2010 Region II Championships in Dayton , OH .

Coached by Demir Muftari, both the U14s and U18s won 1-0 in their Championship games.  This is the first State Cup victory for the U14s who went into overtime against the Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. before Bella Habuda scored the winning goal.  Center midfielder Mary LeAnnais was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.  In the U14s shutout, Victoria Maniaci was selected as the tournaments Most Valuable Goalie. 


The U18s win was their sixth State Cup title in seven attempts.  Kyla Cross scored the winning goal against the Michigan Hawks and was recognized as the tournaments Most Valuable Player while Anna Sieloff recorded the shutout in net and was selected as Most Valuable Goalie. 

The U16 girls team coached by Todd Heugh fell short in their bid for the State Cup crown.  They lost 1-0 against the Michigan Hawks. 

"Vardar was happy to have had three teams in the State Cup Finals and we are extremely proud of our girls who performed so well on the soccer field," said Morris Lupenec, Vardar director of coaching.  "The U14s are ready to start their own winning tradition and the U18s finished their State Cup streak in typical fashion - a thrilling 1-0 victory against a team theyve beaten now six out of seven tries in the State Cup Final.  Six State Cup wins is a Vardar  girls record."




MYSL U9 Boys Premier Division Champions

October, 2009 --  With one game left in the fall season, the U9 Boys team wrapped up the MYSL U9 Boys Premier Division Championship.  Their current record is 8 wins and 1 tie, with 1 game left on 10/31.  They also went undefeated during the Traverse City Autumn Classic Tournament, winning 4 games with 1 tie in route to the championship.  They also won the U9 Boys Green-West Division this past spring with 10 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. 

Their overall outdoor record so far in 2009 is 22 wins, 1 loss and 3 ties.  Great Job Boys! 



Vardar Girls Advance to the State Cup Quarterfinals

September 23, 2009 --  Vardar Soccer Club will be represented in all five age groups at the Michigan State Cup quarterfinals to be held October 3 at the Saginaw Township Soccer Complex.
 The schedule is as follows:   
  • U18s 10 a.m. Field #1
  • U17s 12:30 p.m. Field #6
  • U16s 10 a.m. Field #8
  • U15s 12:30 p.m. Field #9
  • U14s 3 p.m. Field #10 
Come support your club and cheer on the Vardar Girls!  


Vardar U9 & U10 Girls win TBAYS Autumn Classic

September 21, 2009 --  Traverse City, MI -- Congratulations to the girls and Coach Josh Back on winning the TBAYS Autumn Classic U9 & U10 Girls Division championships

The U9 & U10 girls were 4-0 in tournament play.  

 Great Job Girls!  Tournament Results



 Vardar Ann Arbor U13 boys win the at the Mead Cup!

September 9, 2009 --  Congratulations to the Vardar Ann Arbor U13 boys for winning the Gold Division at the Mead Cup! 

 Great Job Boys!  Tournament Results



2009 Vardar-Elite Cup Champions - U12 and U14 Girls

August 22, 2009 --  Congratulations to the girls and Coach Demir Muftari and Mike Lupenec on winning the Vardar Cup U14 & U12 Girls Divisions!
The U14 were 4-0 in tournament play.  

The U12 Girls won the championship game in a OT

 Great Job Girls!  Tournament Results
JULY 2009


Soony Saad joins SuperElite® Discover Europe™ Tour

Written by ESNN (Elite Soccer News Network) -- July 22, 2009 --  The U.S.F.C. SuperElite® Discover Europe™ International Showcase, which comes via the Orange County Blue Star, begins tomorrow.

Eighteen of the top players in the country set off on a voyage that will include tours through Austria, Germany and Belgium.

And as eye-opening as the tour will be for some players, for others it won’t be their first brush with playing internationally.

Soony Saad, one of the final two players that we’ll spotlight for the event, has had much of the world opened up to him through his enormous talent. Having competed in the likes of England and Italy, Saad has the rare combination of veteran experience and newcomer enthusiasm.

“I’m very excited,” Saad said. “I’ve never played in any of the countries where we’ll be but I know that playing overseas is a lot different than playing here at home. I always try to watch a lot of soccer from the countries I visit so that I pick up a couple tendencies and styles of the way they play.”  

To even the playing field a little, it might be wise for a few of the international teams to brush up on some of Saad’s moves as well.

Soony SaadDearborn, Michigan

Saad has been a standout talent since the first day he touched a soccer ball. A natural, Saad is one of the top young strikers in the world, is dynamic with the ball and has a nose for scoring. He seemingly always puts himself in good position to convert chances.

He’s received great experience through the U.S. Soccer U17 Residency Program, and was the 2008 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U16 Player of the Year during his time with Vardar Soccer Club.   CONTINUED...............

JUNE  2009


U16 Vardar Boys - State Cup Champions 2009


(June, 2009) -- For the third year in a row, the Vardar Boys U 16 team won the Michigan State Cup, this time by a come from behind victory against the TNT Dynamite.  The Dynamite had the home field advantage, playing at the East Lansing Soccer Center, but the Vardar boys had the experience to bring home the trophy.  Seeded 1st in Pool One, the round robin games saw Vardar outscore it’s opponents 16 to 0.   The quarter final game was closer, with Vardar edging the Michigan Rush 1 to 0 on a goal by Carter Brochu, assisted by James Davis.  In the semi-finals, goalies Chris Stewart and Michael Mendola combined to shut out Vardar East in the regulation and overtime.  The shoot-out was won by putting 6 out of 7 balls in the net, and by a timely save by goalie Chris Stewart.  Vardar would face The TNT Dynamite in the Finals.

Vardar defeated TNT Dynamite by a score of 2 to 1.  D. J. Evans scored both goals, with assists by Center Back Nick Zingas and Center Midfielder Alex King.  Some heart stopping saves from goalie Michael Mendola in the final 10 minutes sealed the victory for Vardar.  The most valuable player medal was awarded to D. J. Evans and Michael Mendola took home the medal for the most valuable goal keeper.  Congratulations on a great State Cup Tournament.

U16 Vardar Boys - Region 2 Championships in Sioux Falls


(June, 2009) -- The U 16 Vardar Boys had the honor of representing Michigan at the U.S. Soccer Region 2 Championships in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, June 20-22.  They won 2 games and lost 1 game, tying for 1st place in their bracket but not advancing to the semi-finals because of the head to head tie breaker.  In the first game, Vardar lost to the Kansas City Wizards by a score of 2 to 1.  Forward Kyle Benton received a beautiful pass from Midfielder Alex King, and the goalie was caught in no-man’s land for a shot over his head.  In the second game, playing last year’s Regional Champs the Chicago Fire on a very soggy pitch, Forward D.J. Evans scored the first goal but the Fire came back to tie the game.  Late in the second half, Midfielder Alex King brought a ball down to his feet, turned and fired for the upper corner.  This proved to be the game winner but not before the Chicago Fire were awarded a penalty kick in the waning seconds.  Goalie Chris Stewart dove to his right and stopped the shot and swallowed the rebound.  Although the boys did not get to advance, coming back to win the last two games showed the depth of character they have displayed all season.  Good luck next year!

2009 Adidas Bluechip College Showcase Co-Champions
 Vardar U16 Boys


(June, 2009) -- The U 16 Vardar Boys were Co-Champions of the 2009 Adidas Bluechip College Showcase in Miami, Ohio.  The boys won 2 games and tied the third, racking up 21 points and a share of 1st place.   Vardar beat Lexington United from Kentucky by a score of 1 to 0, on a goal from Forward Kyle Benton and assisted by Midfielder Sam Suchta.  Superb goal tending from goalie Michael Mendola, and some good defensive marking from Center Backs Nick Habuda and Defender Alex Czirmer kept the speedy forwards from Lexington frustrated.  In the second game, Vardar faced a opponent Empire United from New York.  Goals from the midfield trio of Alex King, James Davis and Mark Berishaj led to a 3 to 1 victory.  Goalie Chris Stewart and strong defensive work from the back field limited the New York team to 1 goal.  In the third game, Vardar had it’s work cut out for it.  After a sluggish first half, the Scott Gallagher team jumped out to a 2 to 0 lead but Vardar fought back.  Midfielder James Davis scored the first goal for Vardar on with an assist from Sam Suchta, and Forward D.J. Evans scored the tying goal with an assist from James Davis.  Vardar pressed hard but had to settle for a tie against their MRL opponents.   A 1st place tournament at a highly ranked College Showcase.  Good Job!

MAY 2009

Congratulations to 3 Vardar Boys teams- Reach State Cup finals 2009

(May 27, 2009) – Congratulations to 3 Vardar Boys teams for reaching the State Cup Finals. Come and support our Vardar teams this weekend!

U14 Boys Vardar- 12:30pm
U16 Boys Vardar- 12:30pm
U17 Boys Vardar West- 3:00pm

State Cup Finals will be held May 30th at the 
East Lansing Soccer Complex. In the event of inclement weather, games may be played on May 31st. The East Lansing Soccer Complex is located at 3700 Coleman Rd. in East Lansing, MI.

MAY 2009

Vardar Ann Arbor U12 boys win the Novi Jaguar Tournament U13 Y Gold Division

(May 10, 2009) – Vardar Ann Arbor sent 5 teams to the Novi Jaguar Tournament.  All 5 teams did very well.  The U11 Boys finished with a record of 2-1 (Nice job boys!), the U12 Boys won the Tournament finishing with a record of 3-0-1 (Excellent Stuff!), the U13 Girls were Finalist with a record of 3-1-1(Girls, you played very well!), the U13 Boys White were Semi-Finalist, finishing with a record of 2-1-1 (Keep up the hard work!), and the U13 Boys Black finished with a record of 1-1-1 (Great job and Good Luck in State Cup!)
APRIL 2009

Vardar Ann Arbor U13 boys went 2-2-2 at the Dallas Cup.

U13 boys at Dallas Cup with the U17 Sarajevo Team





Soony Saad and Jose Perez Are Among Many Youth National Team Players to Benefit from Academy System

CHICAGO (Feb. 4, 2009) – The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has to look no further than the Under-17 Men’s National Team to find stories of successful player development and scouting. Members of U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program, former Vardar standout Soony Saad and FC Dallas’ Jose Perez both credit their time in the Academy in providing opportunities with the U-17 MNT. Both are part of a 22-player roster that is currently participating in the La Serena Cup in Chile.

Saad, who at age 15 earned Development Academy Player of the Year honors in the combined U-15/16 age group, is taking full advantage of his time with the U-17 MNT Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Since joining the program in the Fall 2008 semester, he has scored three goals in 12 international appearances to date.

Though he was part of the Under-14 National Developmental Program, National Team coaches believe that his time with Vardar, specifically in the inaugural year of the Academy, helped aid his player development immensely. With more training and more consistent games against better competition, Saad began to realize his potential.

“I was part of U-14 and U-15s,” Saad said. “I was probably on the fringe with those teams to be honest, but with the Academy and all of the opportunities that came along with it, I had new incentive to work harder.”

He also reaped the benefits of a growing network of U.S. Soccer scouts, first catching the eye of National Staff Coach Roberto Lopez early in the inaugural Academy season and eventually other members of the scouting network, including Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore.


“When Vardar started in the full Academy program, Soony was playing up a year in those games,” said Lepore. “He was a U-15 player but was playing in the U-15/16 combined age group. We were able to see him pretty regularly in good games and we had a few different sets of eyes that saw him. He was also scoring a ton of goals for Vardar, so when (U-17 head coach) Wilmer Cabrera held a mini-camp last spring he was one of many Academy players in attendance. During that camp he proved that he belonged.”

Saad was brought into a U-17 MNT training camp in April 2008 alongside other Development Academy players. Cabrera liked what he saw from the Dearborn, Mich. native and continued to keep an eye on him. Eventually, he traveled to Central America with the U-17s and it wasn’t long before Cabrera offered him a place in Residency for the Fall 2008 semester.

“To a certain extent, Residency is set-up similarly to the way we’d been playing with Vardar,” said Saad. “We trained four times a week, which was more than we’d been training before. The level of play wasn’t quite what I have now in Residency, but it was definitely competitive. That made the step I was taking seem a little smaller.”

Perez, one of the Residency Program’s most recent additions, saw immediate rewards from FC Dallas’ first year as part of the Academy. Benefiting from the fall games played by the Texas Division, Perez was noticed early on by U.S. Under-20 assistant coach Dave Dir, the National Team scout assigned to the Dallas area.

Working closely with former Under-17 assistant and now FC Dallas Director of Player Development Oscar Pareja, Dir knew Perez was a player that was worth a second look. Now Perez, after just a few weeks in Residency, is on his first international trip and has appeared in his first international game, coming on in the second half of a 2-0 win against Chile.

“I always wanted to go to Residency,” said Perez, on the phone from Chile. “One of my teammates went there before and I just wanted to get up there with him. I just really wanted it, so I worked really hard to get there and playing with FC Dallas for Chris Hayden and Oscar Pareja really helped me a lot in developing both my skills and fitness level. These are my first international games and there was definitely a different level of play than I’m used to. It’s been fun though.”

Lepore says that Perez, and other youth national team players like him, are signs that the scouting process is starting to work.

“Every week we hold a conference call with a representative from every youth National Team,” said Lepore. “On a typical week we talk about upwards of 40-50 players. It’s really exciting when players come through and have success on a national team and we can remember when they were first talked about on a call and who spotted them first. It’s a sign that the system is beginning to work.”

As the U-17 MNT builds toward the 2009 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship that will qualify four regional teams to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in October, Saad and Perez are among 21 players from Development Academy clubs currently on the 40-player Residency roster and are vying for a spot on the 21 player World Cup Qualifying roster.

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will open its CONCACAF Championship campaign against Cuba on April 21 at Estadio Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico. They will play Canada on April 23 and round out Group A play against Honduras on April 25. Should the U.S. advance out of their group, they will cross over to play one of the top two teams from Group B, which is made up of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago, in the semifinals. Semifinalists will also earn a berth to the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, slated for Nigeria from Oct. 24-Nov. 16.

Cabrera will be at the helm of his first qualifying tournament, and will attempt to continue the U.S. streak of being the only team to qualify for every FIFA event at this age level, dating back to 1985. At the biennial event in 2007, the U.S. advanced to the Round of 16 in South Korea. The USAs best-ever finish at the event was fourth place in 1999.

MORE INFO:       Development Academy - Vardar



Winter 2008-2009 Vardar Ann Arbor Futsal Program




January 2009 - Orlando, Fla. – The Vardar U17 boys team won their division at the prestigious Disneys Soccer Showcase presented by the Chelsea Football Club on Dec. 30 at the beautiful Disneys Wide World of Sports Complex.

The showcase is the ultimate place for top clubs to be seen by hundreds of college coaches looking for great soccer talent. It is rated the top youth soccer tournament in the United States in a Soccer America survey. It gives athletes a chance to shine on one of the biggest stages set for youth soccer in this country. 


MORE INFORMATION:    U17 Boys - 92B - Huff - Team Page & Roster