LEAD Africa flagship, LEAD-Monrovia Football Academy U-15 girls' team on Saturday, July 21, made history after emerging as winners of the 2019 USA Cup in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America.
The USA Cup is one of the biggest youth football tournaments in the world that attracts more than 1,000 teams annually.
LEAD-MFA kick-started the tournament on a flying performance by scoring 27 goals in their first four games.
They encountered their first tough opponents in the semifinals, where they managed a 1-0 victory.
Things became tougher in the final, after a competitive regulation ended 2-2, when the girls claimed the trophy by defeating Vardar United of Michigan 7-6 in post-match spot kicks. Thanks to captain Zeta Kromah for the save that was followed by Delphine Kollie's winning spot kick.
Since their huge 8-1 victory in the first game, thousands of Liberians in Minnesota had a remarkable week as they watched and cheered the talented kids' progress to the later stages of the tournament.
The team was captained by student-athlete Zeta Kromah, the best academic student at the Academy. Captain Kromah, one of the first student-athletes to be recruited by the Academy, played in the high-back position from the initial stage of the tournament and later returned to the goalposts for the Final (Photo credit: National Sports Center)
LEAD-MFA U-15 girls' team were the first Liberian team in history to participate in the USA Cup. They were invited by Major League Soccer club Minnesota United to travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA to participate in the tournament.
As special invitees of Minnesota United, the team attended Minnesota United's friendly match versus English Premier League club Aston Villa on Wednesday, July 17 and were taken on a shopping spree.
Social media, for the past days, has been flooded with congratulatory messages, hailing the team for their achievement.
President Weah Congratulates LEAD-MFA
Chief Patron of Sports, George Weah, President of Liberia, also joined the caravan to congratulate the kids by releasing a special statement on his social media pages.
"I am pleased to congratulate the 'LEAD Monrovia Football Academy Under 15 Girls soccer team' for their splendid performance, while representing Liberia at the just ended 'Target USA Cup' tournament held in the United States; and for emerging as Champions of the competition.
The Government and People of Liberia are very proud of this achievement and truly grateful for the level of pride it has brought to our Nation. This feat signifies the rich talents our youths possess, and their ability to harness those talents when given the opportunity. It also serves as an embodiment of resilience, hard-work and discipline.
Jessica Quachie, also one of the first student-athletes at the Academy, was the star player in the tournament as she became the fans' favorite. (Photo:National Sports Center)
The victory of our girls further renews our vigor as a Government to invest more into our youths--through the establishment of more youth-based programs that will cultivate the talents of our young people thereby laying a solid foundation for our future generation.
As we celebrate this milestone accomplishment, I'd like to also extend profound thanks and gratitude to the Government and people of the United States; as well as the organizers of the 'Target USA Cup' tournament for affording our Liberian Under 15 team the opportunity to gain international exposure by participating in this competition. Special thanks also go to the leadership of the Monrovia Football Academy, the trainers and coaches for their role in preparing the girls for this contest. We are truly gratified by the level of discipline, sportsmanship and preparedness the girls exhibited during the tournament. They are truly our Nation's pride and Once again, Congratulations to the girls," President Weah wrote.
The team's delegation is expected to return to the country tomorrow, after their flight from Minneapolis to Washington, DC was delayed by five hours, "and as a result our traveling party missed its connection from DC to Brussels," LEAD-MFA posted on its official page.