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Author Topic: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
JohnB
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Post Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: March 22, 2012, 21:13
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I wanted to share some information on the Croatian Eagles Soccer Club from Milwaukee, WI....who just celebrated our 90th anniversary in March 2012, making it the oldest soccer club in the Croatian diaspora and North America.

http://www.croatianeaglessc.com/

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_Eagles

The club features over 30 youth teams... that basically feeds players to our Adult Men's teams (many state and regional championships), and now even a Women's team too (also won state championship their very first year). Many of our youth teams win and compete for state championships and we usually are the only 'ethnic' club in the US, when competing for championships at the regional and national levels.

Locally, no matter the level, our teams usually dominate against any Serb teams, lol. We do have Croatians playing at all levels of the club, but our community goes through generation gaps, so some years a team could be nearly all Croatian, other years only one or two Croatians might be on a team. The great thing is those not of Croatian descent, do take pride in the club, commit to beating the Serbian teams, and even have had youth teams (that could be made up of mostly 'Americans') make an effort to travel to Croatia to visit, and play against teams there.

For the second time is the last 6 years, we are close to qualifying for the US Lamar Hunt Open tournament that includes MLS teams. We last qualified for it 2006. Actually we play another Croatian Team, RWB Adria out of Chicago (IL champs), to see who has a chance to make it to the regional final. Pretty good for an 'amateur' club with no paid professionals.

Even more impressive, again this year, like almost every year over the past decade or so, we have 40+ kids who are going on to play college soocer, majority on scholarship. And have had players move on to play at the pro levels here in the States, and in Europe and other areas of the world.

We also do this with no major sponsorship deals, or without a 'corporate' club environment.

Milwaukee is smaller Croatian Community (compared to other cities in the US) but proud to have our Croatian Park, which is home of the Croatian Eagles Soccer Club... and is over 30 acres, including 5 regulation size soccer fields, and many other amenities (bocce courts, etc). The park is maintained by Croatian guys fueled on loza, slivo, prsut and sir, lol. We have hosted a few exhibition games over the years featuring teams from Croatia, and regularly have the Croatian soccer teams from Chicago at our annual tournament.

For those wondering why the 'Eagles' name.... The story goes when the team was founded in 1922, the name wasn't actually Croatian Eagles, it was Hrvatski Sokoli... but when trying to register the team, they requested to register an "American" name, and the guy doing the registration did not translate it correctly...

A little more information about Croatian Park, the soccer club and community can be found at http://www.milwaukeecroatians.org.

JohnB
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Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: April 24, 2012, 22:05
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Update USA Open Cup....

USASA REGION II OPEN CUP

First round
Saturday, April 14
AAC Eagles (Illinois) 7, Ann Arbor Elite (Michigan) 1
Croatian Eagles (Wisconsin) 2, RWB Adria - Chicago Jadran (Illinois) 0

Semifinals
Saturday, April 14
KC Athletics (Missouri) 10, Cincy Saints (Ohio) 2
Sunday, April 15
Croatian Eagles 2, AAC Polish Eagles 0
Semifinal winners earn berths in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

Final
Saturday, June 16 or Sunday, June 17
At Fort Wayne (Ind.) Sports Park
KC Athletics vs. Croatian Eagles, time TBA
Winner advances to USASA Open Cup, July 20-22 at Toyota Park, Chicago

ColinOHara-
vic
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Colin O'Haravić
Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: May 15, 2012, 19:37
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AH, Croatian Eagles lost in the first round of the cup to Chicago's Development team. Bummer :/

JohnB
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Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: June 18, 2012, 17:14
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Though we lost to the Chicago Fire development team for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, it placed us automatically into the midwest region qualification for the USASA National Cup Championships to be held at Toyota Park (Chicago Fire's home field) in mid July.

About the National Cup...
The USASA National Cups program is the oldest and most prestigious adult competition offered to all affiliated teams of the United States Adults Soccer Association. It is also open to any youth soccer team whose players are registered with the United States Soccer Federation.
Six divisions of competition are offered each year: Men's Open Cup, Men's Amateur Cup, Men's 0/30 Cup, Men's U/23 Cup, Women's Cup and Women's U/23 Cup. In addition, those teams who enter into the Men's Open Cup competition are also entering the USSF Lamar Hunt Open Cup. This competition allows our adult men teams the possibility of playing the Major League Soccer (MLS) teams for the championship title.

These games took place over the weekend, and our teams (Men's Adult Team, U23 Men's team, and Womens Adult team) won their games and qualified for the national championship tournament games in Chicago on July 20th to 22nd. We have had youth and adult teams make the national championships before, but this would be a first for the club, in our 90 year history if we are able to win one (and get a gold star above our logo on our uniforms).

A Croatian team from Chicago, RWD Adria (CBP Jadran) won the US Open Cup national championship in 2011 for adult men. So it would be great feat to keep it amongst a Croatian club two years in a row.

http://www.wisconsinsoccercentral.com/amateur/news/3774-croatians-under-23s-advance-to-nationals

Vedran-
Cavara
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Vedran Cavara
Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: June 19, 2012, 20:25
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Actually, I enlightened Ante and the rest of the staff as to this club.

JohnB
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Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: July 16, 2012, 08:07
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Championship weekend... Games will be played Friday, July 20th and Finals on Sunday, July 22nd at Chicago's Toyota Park.

Croatian Eagles Soccer Club Men's and U23 Men's teams are participating in the National Cup Championships..

Bus from Milwawukee will be leaving from our Croatian Park for the games. Friday 11:00 AM and Sunday 8:30 AM returning later that day. $5.00 per person. See http://www.milwaukeecroatians.org for more details. Also a reminder it is Croatian Fest this weekend. It is the midwest's largest Croatian Festival as Croatians from WI, IL, and surrounding states gather to celebrate our Croatian Heritage for over 50 years at Croatian Park.

JohnB
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Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: July 21, 2012, 08:59
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Great News... Both our teams advanced to the National Championship game..

Croatian Eagles Men's team won 4 to 0 over ASC All Stars from TX and play against PSA Elite from CA in the finals, Sunday July 22nd at 10:00 AM at Chicago Fire's Toyota Park.

Croatian Eagles Men's U-23 Team beat the Carolina Railhawks in penalty kicks to play against New York's Real Caribe in the finals at Noon at Chicago Fire's Toyota Park.

Good luck to the teams and hopefully we all will be celebrating 2 national championships at Croatian Fest, back in Milwaukee Sunday evening...

Link to an article about teams and matches...

http://www.wisconsinsoccercentral.com/amateur/news/3871-state-trio-ready-for-usasa-nationals

JohnB
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Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: July 21, 2012, 09:09
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Also... forgot to mention that an up and coming soccer talent, on Croatian Eagles Mens Team's Reserve Team, Craig Carlson, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 25, days before the teams had to play these semifinal matches. So both our teams have an extra motivation to win in honor of Craig. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

JohnB
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Post Re: Best Croatian Soccer Club, probably many of you never heard of...
on: July 23, 2012, 10:02
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Croatian Eagles win first national title

The Croatian Eagles Soccer Club celebrated its 90th anniversary Saturday.

A day later, there was even more reason to celebrate.

Substitute Ramon "Choko" Alvarado (Franklin) scored in the 119th minute as the Croatians outlasted California's PSA Elite 3-2 after extra time in the U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Men's Open Cup final Sunday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., to claim the club's first national championship.

"I really felt this was our time," Eagles manager Alex Toth said as he headed back to Croatian Park in Franklin for what surely was an extra-special final night of the annual Croatian Fest. "I just felt like everything would fall into place and it did."

The Eagles took the lead three times in the match at the home of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire, but short-handed PSA Elite couldn't find another equalizer in the second of two 15-minute periods of extra time.

The Region IV champions were down to 10 men when Alvarado scored after a player was sent off following his second yellow card, and shortly thereafter they were reduced to nine when a player was injured and had to be take off on a stretcher – he couldn't be replaced because PSA Elite already had used all four of its substitutes.

"I felt a little bit better, but soccer is sometimes a funny and cruel sport," Toth said. "You just never know. So until I heard the final whistle, I didn't relax. I was tense. When I heard the final whistle, it was great."

Croatians are the second Wisconsin team to win the USASA National Open Cup, following the titles won by Wisconsin Major League rival Bavarian SC in 2003 and '09.

As he did in Friday's 4-0 victory over Texas' ASC New Stars in the semifinals, veteran attacking midfielder Jason Willan (Menomonee Falls) put the Eagles in front in the opening quarter hour. This time, the 40-year-old curled a free kick from just outside the box on the left side around the wall and just inside the far post in the 14th minute.

"It was just classic Jason Willan. I've seen him do that many times," Toth said of the former pro. "Kind of fitting that he's getting close to ending his career, and our captain, our statesman scores a free kick like that.

"I really don't know what his plans are, I know he's going to take some time to think about it. ... But one of the things that he said is that he'd really like to go out on top. Winning a national championship, you can't go out any higher than that."

PSA Elite leveled about 15 minutes later. The Eagles failed to clear out a corner kick, and a PSA Elite player whipped in a cross that was headed in at the post – Croatians goalkeeper Ante Cop could only get a hand to it.

It remained 1-1 until the 75th, when Philip Surprise (Milwaukee Pius) scored his second goal of the weekend to put the Eagles back ahead. "He got some really good separation, he bodied the guy and then he was able to get enough on the shot ... it wasn't hard, but it was perfect placement with his left foot," Toth said.

Another failed clearance just 6 minutes later led to another equalizer for PSA Elite, this time a first-time strike from 6 yards out that again left Cop with little chance of keeping it out. "There was no way to save that," Toth said.

Still, the manager figured his team had another goal in them.

"I was pretty confident that we'd be able to find that third goal in overtime," said Toth, whose team needed penalty kicks to claim the Wisconsin Open Cup title last October after a 2-2 draw with the Milwaukee Kickers.

Alvarado, a 30-year-old who has played in the club since his youth soccer days, was "itching to get in," Toth said, and made a big impact when he got on the pitch.

First, he broke free and looked to be headed in alone on goal in the 100th before he was taken down by a PSA Elite defender, which led to a second yellow card and a man advantage.

Nine minute later, he ran onto a through ball from fellow substitute Mohammed Sethi (Mequon Homestead) on the left side and scored one of the biggest goals for Croatian Eagles SC since the club was formed in 1922.

"He just buried it," Toth said of Alvarado, who also scored in the semifinal. "He did a clinical finish, he opened up his hips and with the inside of his right foot just curled it to the far post."

And that was enough for the Eagles to claim the giant silver Cup for the first time.

Toth said one of the first things they did with the trophy was to add one of the armbands they and the members of the club's Under-23 team wore this weekend honoring teammate Craig Carlson (Grafton/Carroll), who passed away last weekend at the age of 25.

The Croatians, who are 23-1-3 in all competitions in a season that started back in September, have one match left: the Major League final against Madison United. That game originally was scheduled for Sunday but had to be moved because of the national final – it was rescheduled for Aug. 5 at Croatian Park.

Men's Under-23

The Croatians' younger team couldn't complete the sweep.

New York's Real Caribe scored after a set piece about 25 minutes into the match and made the slim lead stand up the rest of the way in a 1-0 victory over the Eagles in the final.

"The second half, we just pushed and pushed and pushed and got some some chances," said Croatians coach Patrick Hodgins, whose team ousted reigning champion Carolina RailHawks 4-3 on penalty kicks Friday following a 0-0 draw in the semifinals. "They had two pretty big center backs who ate up a lot of the crosses we tried to play in. They did a good job when they had the lead.

"At the end of the day, the more I think about it, you've got to be really proud of what you've accomplished. Finishing national runner-up isn't the title that we wanted, but it's nothing to be ashamed of."

The game's lone goal came after a corner kick. The Eagles didn't clear it all the way and the ball fell to a Real Caribe attacker who saw keeper Bryce Boyd (Milwaukee Marquette/UW-Milwaukee) off his line – he had come out for the corner – and took a shot. Boyd got a piece of the ball, but couldn't keep it out of the net.

UWM midfielder Cody Banks (Madison Memorial), Marquette striker Adam Lysak (Milton) – he played the full 90 minutes despite being questionable after aggravating a shoulder injury in the semifinals – and center back Steven Perinovic (Kettle Moraine) all had good chances for the Croatians, but they came away empty-handed.

It didn't help that Marquette midfielder Ryan Robb had to leave the match at halftime because of a concussion.

"To be honest, that really hurt us," said Hodgins, who switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 and then to a 3-4-3 in the second half in search of the elusive equalizer. "Ryan's been one of our playmakers and without him, it really took a dent out of our midfield."

The Eagles still have two matches left this summer, as they are undefeated in the Illinois State Soccer Association Under-23 League heading into the final week of the season. They also were playing in the Wisconsin Soccer Association U-23 League and finished champions of that league.

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