November 07, 2018
By: Tom Meikrantz
The Freedom boys soccer team completed a sweep of the EPC and District championships Thursday when the Patriots survived a double overtime affair against Emmaus winning 1-0 for the 4A crown. That was the program’s first District title since 1990. Bradley Turocy scored the “golden goal” and tore off his jersey immediately signaling the relief and joy that the seniors felt to go out with the bang. Now to states. Freedom opens play Tuesday November 6th against Spring-Ford at J. Birney Crum Stadium. Hopefully the iconic Allentown facility will bode well for the Pates, the scene of their district victory.
Long-time Bethlehem soccer fans remember fondly an era when Freedom and Liberty dominated high school soccer. Ed Csongradi founded the Shamano Junior developmental programs which became a feeder for the high schools in the 1970’s. Willie Ehrlich coached some youth players from Shamano to the Ross Bike program. Between the years 1967 and 1986, either Liberty or Freedom won or shared 16 of the 20 District XI championships. Freedom won 5 in a row from 1982-1986 and had a 47-match win streak in that stretch. Liberty won the only state title in 1975 and Freedom the same in 1983 when there was only a AAA classification. The 1983 championship match is legendary for extending to 16 overtime periods tied 1-1 before PIAA officials finally ruled that the Pates and Trinity from District 7 would share the title. That lasted a total of 160 minutes. Quite a few players from both schools in the 1970’s went on to play professional soccer for Ehrlich’s Pennsylvania Stoners which began play in the American Soccer League in 1979 and played home matches at ASD Stadium which is now J. Birney Crum Stadium. They won the ASL national title in 1980.
Emmaus and Parkland have stolen the big school thunder in recent years but never went all the way in states. The Green Hornets were AAA silver medalists in 2000 losing to North Allegheny 1-0 in overtime. Emmaus and Freedom represent our 4A boys hopefuls and I hope they both make deep runs and maybe because of the bracket structure reach Hershey November 17th and make it an all-EPC state final!