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Corporate Cup coaches eager to put on a show, compete for victories

By Sam Wilson

The Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase keeps growing, and the coaches involved hope their teams can put on another pair of exciting fans for the area’s soccer supporters to watch.

The third annual NY/PA Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase starts at 1 p.m. with a girls game, followed by a boys game at 4, on Saturday at Pitt-Bradford’s Kessel Athletic Complex. The showcase includes a girls game for the second time and now draws players by tryout from a 28-school area from New York and Pennsylvania.

The New York boys team has three players from Ellicottville: junior Jack Snyder and sophomores Bryce Butler and Noah Steinbroner. Freshman Mandy Hurlburt represents Ellicottville on the New York girls team.

Fillmore coach Jamie Mullen will lead the New York boys team. He hasn’t coached in the game before but came on board this year when the Corporate Cup organizers sought to include players from more Allegany County schools on the teams.

“One of the best things about this program, and I love to see this,” Mullen said, “is not only is this going to add to the culture of great soccer in the area, anything like this is good for that, but I love to see the opportunity for kids who are excellent, excellent players to be playing with each other as peers and comrades and respected teammates as opposed to like adversaries.

“I’ve seen that through the years with basketball and soccer … for 30 years. In the early days, everything was, all these best players were at each other’s throats, blood and guts. And now you see, through a lot of these AAU programs and programs like this, these kids get a chance to look at each other as teammates and learn to respect each other really highly. It’s changed the culture of sportsmanship and respect because a lot of these kids may go to college and be playing with each other. That’s kind of exciting to watch that transformation.”

For Mullen, managing the team will involve balancing the “showcase” element for every player with trying to win when it’s done.

“It’s a little more complex than a normal game, because you do have two very different priorities and I think there’s some guidelines for both of the coaches for Pennsylvania and New York, some suggestions everybody is going to try to honor,” Mullen said. “As far as I see it, I see the first half as being an opportunity to get everybody playing time and to showcase everybody, and then I think once you come down to the end of the second half teams are going to be striving to win the game and represent their state and their program. I think it’s ‘both/and.’”

Mullen’s staff includes Allegany-Limestone’s Jon Luce, the NY head coach last season; Genesee Valley’s Ryan McKnight; Cattaraugus-Little Valley/Salamanca’s Matt Kronert; and his son, Jordan Mullen.

After serving on Allegany-Limestone coach Dale MacArthur’s staff for the first Corporate Cup girls game last year, Olean High coach Dan Freeman leads the New York girls this time. After being approached by co-founder Kris Linderman, who explained the concept of the games to him last year, Freeman happily accepted a spot on the coaching staff.

“So I got in on it and I just realized how spectacular it was,” Freeman said. “I was watching a boys game this year and (Linderman) was there because his son plays and he was like, ‘Hey, you willing to do the Corporate Cup again?’ I was like yeah, I’m interested in doing it but I don’t think I want the responsibility of being the head coach. Then he called me three weeks later like, ‘Hey, Dan, we want you to be the head coach.’ I’m like, are you serious? And I just knew I couldn’t turn it down… I was like, this is kind of a pretty big deal. It really is, and I’ve got to give the credit to Kris, he has done a phenomenal amount of work and the time he puts into this, the time I put into it is nothing compared to what he’s doing.”

Assisting Freeman are Fillmore’s Jon Beardsley, Bolivar-Richburg’s Mark Emery, Hinsdale’s John Fitzpatrick and Olean assistant Dylan Shaw.

“I’ll have Dylan with me, I wanted to have my assistant with me, that makes it a little bit easier,” Freeman said. “Those guys are great guys and when you have all those minds working together, any of those guys could have been the head coach of this team.”

Freeman called it a “very hard” process of picking the team, given how many talented players came out for tryouts this season.

“Honestly, most of the girls that sign up for this are pretty talented girls,” Freeman said. “There aren’t too many kids that are not talented that sign up for this. They know it’s more elite, upper level, so it’s really hard. It’s a lot of ‘Look at this girl, look at this girl here.’ It was a hard decision but eventually, in the end, I think we’ll just try to pick the best team, but that’s how it goes.

“After that, we have a media day, and then after that, we have practices where we get to know the girls a little bit better and we just got them outside here. We’re figuring out what position to put them in and, honestly, the girls are just barely starting to play with each other. They’re starting to learn each other. But now the game is upon us.”

More information on the 2019 games can be found at oleansoccerclub.org.

New York Boys

Allegany-Limestone: Conner Golley, Bryant Talbot, Daniel Graham, Noel Dixon

Cattaraugus-Little Valley/Salamanca: Darec Funke, Reece Redeye-Desposito

Cuba-Rushford: Trent Chamberlain, Caden Larabee

Ellicottville: Jack Snyder, Bryce Butler, Noah Steinbroner

Fillmore: Micah Schilke

Genesee Valley: Keegan McKnight, Ryley McKnight, Dominic Sallazzo, Filip Trajkovski

Hinsdale: Spencer Sklar

Olean: Max Linderman, Joe Magro

Portville: Alex Wenke

Randolph: Kaleb Steward

Wellsville: Spencer Cline

New York Girls

Allegany-Limestone: Grace DeCapua, Tierney Hemphill

Bolivar-Richburg: Kelsey Pacer, Victoria Stuck

Cattaraugus-Little Valley: Isabella Deliman

Ellicottville: Mandy Hurlburt

Fillmore: Emily Hatch, Amanda Burrichter, Ada Sylvester, Zoe Beardsley, Carmen Mancuso

Franklinville: Abigail Burrell, Tayne Swanick, Gabby Milligan

Hinsdale: Kiley Tuttle, Kayla Brooks

Olean: Marina Miketish

Portville: Karly Welty, Rynae Cox, Ainslie Gardner

Randolph: Valerie Crouse

Salamanca: Rachel Chamberlain

Pennsylvania Girls

Bradford: Regan Johnson, Mikayla Bond, Chloe Shaw, Mackenzie Lucas, Lauren Placer, Emily Prince

Brockway: Kayla Jamison, Mackenzie Overbeck, Chanell Britten, Morrigan Decker

DuBois: Stefanie Hoyt, Rylee Wadding

Elk County Catholic: Olivia Sorg

Kane: Victoria Hallberg

Port Allegany-Smethport: Samantha Tanner

Ridgway: Lindsey Kocjancic, Jordan Bundy

St. Marys: Kyla Johnson, Lauren Eckert, Kaylee Muccio, Britney Shaw

Warren: Kyleigh Wilson

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