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Williamsport City Lions semi-pro team begins its season today

Lycoming women’s soccer coach Kenny Fern and Penn College women’s soccer coach Ian Scheller both know each other quite well. Not to mention that both have been involved in the game of soccer for most of their lives.

So the two got together and pondered what they could do in the area to work together with each other. That’s when they decided to do a youth program called the Lisbon Lions Soccer Academy which had more than 100 kids.

But the two soccer coaches wanted to do more than just that. They wanted to start an adult soccer league in the area.

“We wanted something where we can have these kids have someone to look up to, something they can see. A progression,” Fern said. “That was kind of the thinking behind it. … People love the Crosscutters, so it’s the same thing with soccer. When you hear Williamsport, I want them to think of soccer, too.”

That was the genesis behind the Williamsport City Lions, a semi-professional soccer team that will play this spring and summer. The Williamsport City Lions men’s season begins today with a road contest at Allentown United II. The Williamsport City Lions first home contest is Sunday at 1 p.m. against New Jersey Alliance FC II.

The Williamsport-based team will play as part of the UPSL. The women’s team will be part of the Women’s Premier Division and the men will be part of the American South Division 1. The men’s season runs this afternoon through July 15, and the women’s season will run from May 1 to July 15.

On the men’s side, Williamsport will compete in their division against Allentown United II, CD Catrachos PA, Club Tijuana Xolos NJ, New Jersey Alliance FC II, Philadelphia Lone Star II and UCFSC Jeffrey Mendoza. The teams part of the women’s league were not made available at the time of publication.

“I thought the first year, two years we’d be building teams and putting a foundation in place,” Fern said. “The league is the USPL, Division I. I think we can actually compete in that league and finish near the top.”

The men’s and women’s teams held tryouts in the early spring and finalized a roster by mid-April. Both teams are dotted with tons of local talent from the area.

“We’ll be very strong on the men’s side. Lock Haven boys, a few of the Lycoming boys and a few others. We look fairly strong,” Fern said. “On the women’s side, we got a few from Lock Haven, Misericordia, King’s and Lycoming.”

Fern will be coaching the Williamsport City Lions men’s team and Scheller will coach the women.

Both teams are loaded with plenty of talent from District 4. On the men’s side, the team features South Williamsport’s Hayden Swinehart (96 career goals); Wellsboro’s Brett Rudy, William Lowthert, Gabe Leach; Lock Haven’s Beckham Sibiski; Lewisburg standout goalie Tony Burns (48 career shutouts); and plenty of talent from Williamsport including JR Confair, Tom Pombor (50-goal scorer), Jimmy Pombor (50-goal scorer) and Kolachi Pombor (50-goal scorer), among plenty of others.

The women’s roster also features plenty of talent including Loyalsock’s Jules Cruz; Montoursville 100-goal scorer Lily Saul; Mount Carmel 100-goal scorer Mia Chapman; Bloomsburg’s Abbey Gerasimoff; Jersey Shore’s Maddie Maihle; South Williamsport’s Bella Green and Claudia Green; Lewisburg midfielder Ella Reish; Warrior Run’s Mikaela Majcher and the state’s all-time shutouts leader in girls soccer (60) in goalie Madi Welliver of Warrior Run.

All in all, two fantastic rosters with plenty of players up and down the field who can make plays.

“We would have liked to go into the Premier Division, but unfortunately Premier Division starts in the beginning of April and, due to having college players, we have to have leagues start when college seasons finish,” Fern said. “It’s a great option to start and see what we are looking for over the next few years. We want to graduate a crew we have out of college and still have them playing for us.”

Fern also noted that the league is growing rapidly and has a lot of money invested into it.

The Williamsport City Lions will play all their home games at Loyalsock High School for this upcoming season. The postseason for the league consists of the top four going to the playoffs. In addition, all kids will be admitted into games for free.

“Whether you play soccer or not, we want as many kids in (stands) as possible,” Fern said.

Fern and Scheller are both optimistic at the success their respective teams will have this year.

“We have a good area here where there’s not an established club. We want to establish Williamsport City Lions and kids can come through our program and into our team,” Fern said.

MEN’S ROSTER

(in alphabetical order)

Sean Barrant; Tevin Beadle; Jamison Bohner; Tony Burns; JR Confair; Brady Dowell; Braeden Eckard; Tucker Hayes; Ethan Heller; Owen Hollobaugh; Gabe Leach; Carson Litzinger; William Lowthert; Kevin Kolaski; Owen Magee; Gabe McKeon; Colton Miller; Logan Moore; Davis Pagett; Eric Perez; Bryce Phillips; Jimmy Pombor; Kolachi Pombor; Tom Pombor; Will Poirier; Brett Rudy; Beckham Sibiski; Alastair Stark; Hayden Swinehart.

WOMEN’S ROSTER

(in alphabetical order)

Kylie Brodkorb; Sara Burns; Alex Butler; Kayt Cappola; Mia Chapman; Jules Cruz; Stephanie Danowsky; Abbey Gerasimoff; Bella Green; Claudia Green; Kari Hack; Mikaela Majcher; Maddie Maihle; Maddie Metzger; Ella Reish; Leah Sankey; Lily Saul; Emily Shultz; Taylor Snyder; Erin Swanger; Madi Welliver; Kati Wyland.

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