Christos F.C., one of Baltimore's top men's soccer clubs, won the Over 30 Open Cup National Championship in Chicago, Illinois over the weekend. The club is celebrating its 15th anniversary this season. The club has been dominant in the Over 30 division, winning Maryland US Open Cup titles in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
The team, comprised of almost all local talent, defeated the San Diego Surf 2-1 in the semi final match. Goals were scored by former Baltimore Blast standout, Guilliano Celenza (UMBC, Essex, Archbishop Curley) and Tony Tamanini (Villa Julie, Archbishop Curley). Although they won the match, they would have to go on without one of their key players, Andy Wells (UMBC), who suffered a broken leg in the first half. "The game was tied 1-1 at the half, and they were really putting it to us." said Head Coach, Kevin Wise (Towson). "Tarik and Ed McCue (Towson) came off the bench, stepped up and did a great job".
The Open Cup Final pitted Christos against a tough Kickers FC (Fla) side. "We spent a lot of time Friday into Sunday trying to figure out how we were going to play because of some injuries to key guys", said Wise. "Guys put their egos aside and did it for the team. Guys played different positions than they were used to and assumed different roles, all to win on Sunday".
Christos was able to break open to a 2-0 halftime lead on goals by former Baltimore Blast striker, Tarik Walker (Virginia Tech) and Pat Crawford (Salisbury). Former Crystal Palace midfielder, Jim Cherneski, added a third goal in the second half as they cruised to a 3-1 win.
Wise brought up the team's local flavor as a reason for the success. He also cited the selfless attitude and sacrifice that the players committed to since training started in February. "These guys gave up a lot of personal time, free time, family time to keep working and getting better. They should be praised."
"Christos is a brotherhood. The win was by the guys this Sunday, but it is also because of all the players, present and past, that put up time, money and energy to create this environment and atmosphere. I owe it to all of those guys.