Quaker Valley's 1996 championship boys soccer team gets call to WPIAL Hall
Call it the high school soccer equivalent of “The Perfect Storm.”
The Quaker Valley boys soccer team put together a historic season in 1996, an undefeated run filled with staggering statistics and standout performances under head coach Gene Klein.
“That was a once-in-a-lifetime group,” Klein said of his '96 squad. “They were extremely competitive — as competitive as any group I've had.”
That competitiveness resulted in a 26-0 record (including 21 shutouts), as well as section, WPIAL and PIAA titles and a goal differential of 169-7.
And now, nearly two decades later, that dominant season has resulted in Quaker Valley's 1996 boys soccer team's inclusion in the 2013 WPIAL Hall of Fame class.
The talented group included 13 players who went on to play college soccer. The '96 seniors won three PIAA championships in four years and posted an overall record of 92-8-5 — including an impressive 14-1 mark in PIAA competition.
After completing their amazing run through the '96 campaign, several players received postseason accolades.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America chose seniors Chris Churchill and Brad Christof as national All-Americans. Churchill served as the captain of the team, while co-captain Christof lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 49 goals and 26 assists.
Churchill, Christof and fellow senior Jobie Glessner were selected as NSCAA All-East All-Americans.
Churchill, Christof, Glessner and senior Sam Chamovitz were named to both the all-WPIAL and all-state teams. Seniors Joel Perkovich and Mike Norris also earned all-WPIAL honors.
The NSCAA also voted the Quakers the No. 1 team in the nation and named Klein its coach of the year.
Klein cites both passion for the game and competitiveness from a young age for team's success.
“They were soccer junkies,” Klein said. “They just loved to play the game.
“Pretty much everybody on the team came through the QV soccer program from an early age, competing and playing against each other.”
Klein calls the '96 season the “culmination” of the hard work and dedication of a special group of players.
“The '96 group benefitted greatly from several truly remarkable groups that preceded them,” Klein said. “We had some very talented players and teams leading up to '96 that helped mold their work ethic, leadership skills and love of competition. The '96 group fed off that tradition.”
The 2013 WPIAL Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony will be June 7, at the Doubletree Hotel in Green Tree. Tickets are $40 each and must be purchased online at wpial.org by May 30. No tickets will be sold at the door. For more information, call the WPIAL office at 412-921-7181.
Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.