Smart Renegade ready for ‘Real’ Challenge

ImageSouthern Indiana United U17 Renegade go into this weekend’s Indiana Challenge Cup finals at Lawrence Soccer Complex in Indianapolis as not only one of the best, but also one of the smartest.

The players, who attend six different high schools, have an average GPA of 3.5. Many also participate in community service and maintain part-time jobs.

Team manager Delana Goodson said there is a great mix of players on the team, the core of which has stayed together for over five years without venturing across the river to play for Louisville clubs.  

“It is truly a home-grown team,” she said. “SIU soccer has played a huge role in their lives and the boys have bonded more than any team I know.”

Her son Austin is one of the original members of the U13 team and he said playing on it has been “an awesome experience.”

“There are no egos on our team,” he said. “We are friends that love to play the game.”

Coach Jonathon Eade, who has coached at Southern Indiana United for 11years, has also been with Renegade since they were U13s.

“It has been such an awesome experience for me to see the guys stay together, develop and work together, and then experience success as a result of their hard work and team camaraderie,” said Eade.

“They have developed friendships and have learned the importance of team commitment and the reality that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Renegade swept its Challenge Cup preliminary round bracket, beating SEI United (6-1), Three Lions FC (1-0) and Evansville (2-0) to make their second successive semifinal in the competition, which is open to travel and recreational plus teams.

They will play USF Real of East-Central Indiana on Saturday (6 p.m.), a side they’ve not yet met this season.

The victor will take on either Westside United or Three Lions White in the final on Sunday (4 p.m.).

“We are excited that we qualified for the semifinals now two years in a row and look forward to competing for a championship,” said Eade.

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