The Indiana State Cup finals take place this weekend at Lawrence Soccer Complex and one participant will have a heavy local influence.
Columbus Express has amongst its ranks Acy Huffman, Cauldon Feldhaus (both Jeffersonville), Kameron Jenkins (New Albany), Andrew Wimp (Providence) and Danny Laird (Floyd Central).
Coach Ryan O’Connor said the five have shown the commitment it takes to achieve great things.
“Their one-and-a-half hour drive shows their determination to put themselves with the best group in the area,” he said.
Express beat Sullivan County Youth The Pride (2-1), Jr. Irish NIFA Premier (5-1) and Marion Lightning/Stoddard (2-0) in the preliminary stages to make it to the final four of Indiana’s top-tier tournament.
However, O’Connor said it is no surprise to him that they have reached this stage of the tournament, having won the Veterans and Crossroads tournaments in Evansville and Carmel respectively.
“At the start of the season with this group, we had aspirations of getting to this semifinal,” he said. “With the combination of the retained players from last year and the addition of returning Columbus players, we knew that we would be one of the best squads in the state.”
They will play defending champion Fort Wayne Fever in the semifinal on Saturday (10 a.m.), with the winner taking on either FC Pride ’94 or Millennium Vardar in the final on Sunday (4.30 p.m.).
“I’m okay with this because we are coming off of a week’s rest,” said O’Connor. “They will underestimate us to say the least. The boys absolutely hate that we are looked at as an underdog and want to prove they belong on the top of the tables.”