Club News - 2011-2012



Vardar Boys under-15’s on the road to Shanghai, China

Vardar Boys under-15’s on the road to Shanghai, China
Vardar Boys Win Prestigious Manchester United Premier Cup U.S. Final
July 18. 2012 - MUPC, the ULTIMATE football competition for under-15’s is on the road to Shanghai, China.

Following twelve gruelling months of local, regional, national and international competitions – 320 of the best under-15 footballers in the world are travelling to Shanghai this week, for the World Finals of the 2012 Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC)

The top twenty from over 8,000 teams will wait nervously whilst the Opening Ceremony & Draw takes place at the Holiday Inn Shanghai, Pudong Kangqiao, on Saturday 21st July 2012 at 20:00hrs with surprise guests alongside the teams, family and friends.

The tournament, jointly hosted by Manchester United & Shanghai FA will be played at Shanghai Shenhua’s Training Ground from 22-25 July 2012. The competition will reach its conclusion at 17:30hrs on Wednesday 25th July next when the final two teams go head to head at The Shanghai National Stadium; in a curtain raiser to the Shanghai Shenhua FC –v- Manchester United match.

Since its development by Nike in 1993, Premier Cup has been a proving ground for young talents enabling them to showcase their skills and take giant strides towards their dream of becoming professional footballers. Manchester United’s Daniel Welbeck played at MUPC in Hong Kong in 2005, and has come a long way since. Just seven years later, he has become a prominent force in both the Manchester United and the England squads and remembers his special MUPC experience:

Over 8,000 teams from 40 countries started out on the road to Shanghai, and now only the top twenty remain. Talented youngsters with a dream and a passion for football are counting down the hours to the opportunity of a lifetime, to test themselves against the best of their peers and showcase their talents to the world. Their time is now.

Participating Teams
Americas     Africa  
Argentina Boca Juniors   Tunisia Espérance Sportive de Tunis***
Brazil Santos Futebol Clube   South Africa Ajax Cape Town
Chile Universidad Catolica      
Mexico CF Pachuca   Australasia  
USA Vardar Soccer Club   Australia Keilor Park
Asia     Europe  
China Hubei FA   Italy Inter
Japan Gamba Osaka   Germany VfL Bochum
Korea Pohang Jecheol Middle School FC   Spain Athletic Club Bilbao
Thailand Bangkok Christian College**   United Kingdom Celtic FC
Host Team China Shanghai FA   Turkey Bursaspor*
      Croatia Dinamo Zagreb*
      Host Team, UK Manchester United
Premier Cup was developed by NIKE in 1993 as a grassroots tournament offering young players from diverse cultural and social backgrounds the opportunity to play at international level against the best teams in Europe. The tournament was also intended as an opportunity for the youngsters to experience and appreciate different styles of football, learn new skills and techniques and, for the lucky few, pave the way to a career as professional footballers. This regional tournament originally involving 624 clubs, evolved to become a world-wide event comprising teams from over 40 countries. In 2003 the competition was taken to new heights when Manchester United added their name to the tournament, joining Nike in their quest to promote excellence in youth football.



Vardar Boys win U13 and U14 State Cup Championships

Vardar Boys win U13 and U14 State Cup Championships
June 2012 - Both Vardar teams competing in the Michigan State Youth Soccer Association State Cup Championships came away with victories on June 2.

At the U13 age, the Vardar 99 boys battled it out against the Michigan Wolves on an extremely windy day. Wolves scored 30 seconds into the game. Vardar battled back and scored a goal minutes before the first half ended when Anthony Wells netted a pass sent by Vince Manzo. The game remained tied for the second half forcing overtime. In the first overtime, Cole Owen-Tunner shot the game winning goal off a corner kick. Vardar was able to stop the Wolves offense and secure the win following the second overtime.  At the U14 age, Vardar overcame the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors by a score of 4-3.

Both teams will now represent Michigan in the US Youth Soccer Region II Championships to be held in Saginaw, MI. Round robin games will take place Saturday, June 23 through Monday, June 25, with semifinal matches Tuesday, June 26. The US Youth Soccer Region II Champions will be crowned following final games Wednesday, June 27.

The other state associations represented include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio South, Ohio North, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Regional winners of the U-14 through U-19 Boys and Girls brackets will earn a berth to the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships presented by the National Guard July 24-29 at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.




Vardar Boys win at 2012 Manchester United Premier Cup

Vardar Boys Win Prestigious Manchester United Premier Cup U.S. Final

June 2012 - Fifteen boys from the Vardar Soccer Club will be making a special trip to China this summer representing the United States in the 2012 World Final of the Manchester United Premier Cup. The MUPC is the largest international youth football tournament in the world involving over 6,000 teams from over 40 countries.

To qualify for the world tournament, the Vardar squad won six games and tied one over the course of the MUPC U.S. event held May 26-28 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, OR. In the championship game, Vardar faced Real So Cal and came away with a 1-0 win on a goal scored by Clarkston resident Jimmy Todd. In addition to winning the tournament trophy, the Vardar boys earned the all-expenses paid trip to China for the World Final to be held July 20-23 in Shanghai.

Vardar started the U.S. event with a 2-1 win over San Diego Surf on goals scored by Travis Harrington of Macomb Twp. In a second qualifying game Vardar outscored St. Louis Scott Gallagher 3-0 with two goals by Nash Popovic of Rochester Hills and one by Todd. Game three pitted Vardar against Sockers FC with a 0-0 outcome. A fourth qualifying game had Vardar come out ahead of the Clearwater Chargers 2-0 with goals scored Popovic and AJ Shaw of Lake Orion. Then in the Quarterfinal, Vardar faced the Nomads from Southern California and came out ahead with a 2-0 win from goals scored by Jake Rosen of Livonia and Tommy Dokho of Royal Oak. In the semi-final Popovic scored two more goals to give Vardar the edge over the Fullerton Rangers 2-1. For his prolific scoring, Popovic won the MUPC Golden Boot Award (six goals total). This is the second year in a row that Popovic has earned the Golden Boot.

On the defensive end, Jake Townsley of Sterling Heights started in goal and earned four shut-outs giving up only one goal in five games. Following a minor injury to Townsley, Pearce Skinner of Grand Blanc, came into goal and played the semi-final and final giving up only one goal and earning the final shut-out.
“We had solid goal-keeping for sure,” said Morris Lupenec, Vardar Director of Coaching, “but our overall defensive effort was great too. Before the tournament even started I had a good feeling with this core of kids. They have great team chemistry and worked hard throughout . I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

The Vardar squad also included: Connor McDevitt of Rochester Hills, Giuseppe Vitale of Washington, Michael Wetungu of Rochester Hills, Willie Maddox of Troy, Zack Castle of Pleasant Ridge, Duncan Holman of Bay City and Mitch Guitar of Troy. Lupenec of Rochester Hills and Eric Pogue of Royal Oak coached the team.



Vardar 98 wins at the 2012 Wolverine Tournament

May 2012 - Vardar 98 Red crowned Champions of 2012 Wolverine Tournament defeating Ann Arbor United 98 Strikeforce in the final 2-1.



Vardar Player invited  to attend the U.S. Soccer U15-girls National Team Camp

May 2012 - Marisa Viggiano, a member of the Vardar U15 ECNL Team, was recently invited to attend the U.S. Soccer U15-girls National Team Camp which is to be held June 3-10 in Carson, CA.

Players in this year’s group of U-15s are born on or after Jan. 1, 1997, and will make up the pool that can compete for spots on the team that will attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, which has an age cutoff of players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997.




Vardar State Cup Championship Contenders

Congratulations to the Vardar U13 and U14 Boys for winning their State Cup Semi-Final games and moving on to the Championship!

State Cup Championships will be held June 2 at the East Lansing Soccer Complex.

  • The U14 Boys will vie for the title in at 9:30 a.m.
  • The U13 Boys championship game will start at 2:30 p.m.

Good luck to both teams!



Nine Vardar Teams Compete in State Cup Quarterfinals

Vardar is well represented in the 2013 Michigan State Cup Quarterfinals to be held May 19 at the Saginaw Township Soccer Complex. With nine teams in seven age groups, the club is looking for great results. See the schedule below and come cheer on our Vardar teams!

9:30 AM Field #3 Vardar 18 Boys
9:30 AM Field #7 Vardar 14 Boys
12 PM Field #9 Vardar 17 Boys
12 PM Field #1 Vardar 15 Boys vs Vardar Ann Arbor 15 Boys
12 PM Field #3 Vardar Red 15 Boys
2:30 PM Field #3 Vardar 16 Boys
2:30 PM Field #8 Vardar 13 Boys
4:30 PM Field #9 Vardar 13 Girls

Teams that win the Saturday quarterfinal game will continue to the semifinals to be held Sunday in Saginaw



Vardar ECNL U15 Player selected for 2012 Puma Womens Showcase

March 15, 2012 - Hannah Cady, a member of the Vardar U15 ECNL Team, has been selected as one of the top 75 high school soccer players to participate in the 2012 Puma Womens Elite Showcase. The Showcase will take place July 22-24 at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

The Puma Showcase aims to gather the best athletes from elite teams, allowing the girls to display their unique talent while learning from other athletes excelling at the same level. This event also provides top women’s collegiate coaches the forum to observe up-and-coming talent. With matches across two days, coaches will be able to watch each girl in a professional light



Vardar represented at National ODP Championships

February 24, 2012 - Jimmy Todd and Eli Appleby, both members of Vardars U16 NPL team, was recently invited to join the U16 Michigan ODP team as they head to Frisco, TX Mar. 8-11 for the National ODP Championships. Michigan, which won the Region II championship last summer, will be representing Region II as the four regions will play at the national ODP event.



2011 NSCAA High School National Players of the Year Announced
February 6, 2012 - Zach Carroll  has been selected as the 2011 NSCAA Boys High School National Player of the Year.

All National Players of the Year will be recognized at the annual All-America Luncheon, to be held in the Kansas City Convention Centers Grand Ballroom on Saturday, Jan. 14, in conjunction with the 2012 NSCAA Convention in Kansas City, Mo.

Zach Carroll, D, Sr., Grand Blanc H.S., Grand Blanc, Mich.
A two-time member of Michigans "Dream Team," Carroll was named the states "Mr. Soccer" in 2011. A three-year team captain, he helped his team to two state semifinal appearances and three Division I district championships.

A member of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., he was the starting centerback for the U.S. U-17 National Team that won the CONCACAF Tournament in Jamaica and competed in the U-17 World Cup in Mexico. He has committed to Virginia. 



Vardar player headed to Costa Rica for ODP Event
Vardar Boy to Make ODP Trip

January 20, 2012 - Antony Santavy, a member of the Vardar U14 squad, was selected to attend the Region II Boys ODP 1997 International Trip to Costa Rica this upcoming February.

For the entire list go to



Vardar players honored
Vardar players were named to the ECNL All Event Teams

January 20, 2012 - Vardar players Kelly Sweeney (U15) and Taylor Timko (U16) were named to the ECNL All Event Teams following the showcase event in Sanford, FL, Dec. 28-30. A total of 150 teams from 47 ECNL Member Clubs participated in the event and only 44 girls were selected for the All Event Teams in four age categories.

The ECNL All-Event Teams are selected based upon nominations from coaches and scouts based upon individual and team performances over the course of the three-game event. At the Sanford event, 13 clubs (of which Vardar was one) placed at least a pair of players on All-Event Teams. A total of 29 different ECNL Member Clubs were represented among the 44 honored players.

For the entire list of All Event Teams go to 



Vardar alumni in the News
Former Vardar player selected in MLS draft

January 19, 2012 -- Casey Townsend, a former Vardar player, and University of Maryland graduate, was recently selected by Chivas USA in the MLS draft. Click on the link to see the entire story.


CLUB NEWS -     

Vardar Player in the News
January 19, 2012 - The Windsor Star

Teen puts best foot forward
Habuda could be first local female on national youth team

If Bella Habuda is as effective on the soccer field as she is in writing persuasive emails, then her dreams of pulling on a Canadian jersey may soon be realized.

The 15-year-old Tecumseh native contacted Canadian under-17 womens head coach Bryan Rosenfeld in mid-November, sending him a quick bio and asking for a chance to try out for a team that was already into preparations for taking a run at qualifying for the U-17 World Cup this year.

The 2012 U-17 Womens World Cup will run from Sept. 22-Oct. 13 in Azerbaijan.

"I just told them I played in a top league in the U.S. and asked for a chance to tryout," Habuda said.

"Thats been my dream, to play for Canada in the World Cup and the Olympics.

"I was surprised when they called back so quickly. They invited me to come up for weekend so they could take a look at me.

"Im very happy its worked out so far."

Should Habuda make the cut for the squad that will travel to Guatamalea for the CONCACAF under-17 championship May 2-13 (the top three teams will earn a World Cup berth), she would become the first female player from this area to make a youth national team.

Shed be only the second player to make any womens national soccer roster.

Rose Sangster-Daley played for Canada at the 1993 World University Games.

More impressively, Habuda is trying to make the national team as the youngest player still in the developmental pool of 20 to 25 players based in Toronto.

"I was a bit nervous about being the youngest player at first," said Habuda, who as an underage player will be eligible for the team again next year.

"The other girls have been really nice and it warmed up fast. You get to a certain level and everyone is looked at the same."

She said the age difference hasnt been a factor when it comes to physical play either.

"Im the same size as most of the girls," said the five-foot-six Habuda, who had 11 goals in 14 games for Tecumsehs u-15s in the OYSLs Level One league last summer. "A few girls are a little bit bigger and heavier, but it hasnt been a problem."

More challenging is commuting up the 401 twice a month.

Fortunately, she and her parents can stay with her aunt, who lives only 20 minutes away from the teams training site at the Vaughn Soccer Centre.

"It can be tough going down there all the time, bringing all your homework to do," Habuda said. "Its worth it for the chance to play for Canada."

This isnt the first time Habuda has caught the eye of the countrys top programs.

She made the Ontario U12 girls team, but withdrew as it required her to practice in Toronto four times a week.

Its a geographical disadvantage that has claimed the dreams of several players from the area in the last two decades.

Whats different is the national coaching staff lets Habuda pick the two weekends she comes to Toronto each month.

She only has a few mandatory appearances, such as this past weekend when they conducted a scouting assessment of the players, where she must be present on a specific day.

Habuda said shes thankful they recognize the challenges of her travel as well as the fact shes playing for the suburban Detroit-based side Vardar in the Elite National Club League.

The ECNL, which stretches from coast to coast, is the top circuit for girls club teams in the U.S. and offers a better level of competition than anything she could find in Canada.

After her U.S. season is completed this spring, Habuda will get her international transfer back to Canada to play for Tecumsehs under-16 team.

"I do have to manage my time," said the Grade 10 student of juggling her studies at Belle River High School, playing soccer as well as training for the schools track and field teams this winter.

"Im very busy. I try to get to bed early when I can and eat well. Im also very thankful to my parents and all my coaches for their support for allowing me to do all this."

"Theyve told me Im doing well," said Habuda, the SWOSSAA midget girls gold medallist in the 200 and 400 and runner-up at 100 metres last spring. "Theyre pleased with how Im playing and they want me to keep coming back.

"I hope my best is good enough."      READ MORE.....

CLUB NEWS -     

Vardar Girls to Travel to Costa Rica with ODP

November 18, 2011 --  November 18, 2011 -- Hannah Cady, Madison Toth, Marisa Viggiano, all members of Vardars U15 Girls ECNL Team, were invited to the US Youth Soccer Costa Rica international trip scheduled for this upcoming February. All three girls are part of the Region II ODP 1997 Pool. During the trip, the selected girls will play against professional Costa Rica teams as well as experience international play and its environment.



Caleb Stanko Builds Career at Freiburg
Turning Pro: Michigan Native Caleb Stanko Builds a Career at Freiburg U.S.

November 18, 2011 --  U-20 Mens National Team member Caleb Stanko talks to about moving to Freiburg from Development Academy club Vardar and the growing process in Germany.

Michigan native Caleb Stanko moved to Germany from Development Academy club Vardar nearly eight months ago. After a three-month trial period, the center midfielder signed for Freiburg in Germany, joining the club’s setup in his first step as a professional. But as most young professionals learn, the path to becoming a successful pro is littered with ups and downs.  READ MORE....



Vardar Alum in the News

November 18, 2011 -- Bobby Adkins, a 1991 Vardar alum, was named to the All-Great Lakes Valley Conference First Team for his performance at University of Indianapolis.

Bobby Adkins was named to the All-GLVC first team. This is the first all-conference nod of Adkins career. He was in the top 10 in the circuit in assists, leading the Greyhounds with eight helpers on the year. The eight assists by Adkins now puts him in the UIndy single-season records list twice, with this years mark falling in a tie for 6th-best. Adkins tied for the team lead in points, with 14 total.   READ MORE....



Former Vardar player scores game winning goal in the NCAA tournament

November 15, 2011 -- Former Vardar player, Niki Read, scored the lone goal as the Big Ten champion University of Illinois defeated the defending national champion Notre Dame, 1-0, in a first round match-up of the NCAA tournament. Read, a junior midfielder at Illinois, shot less than five minutes into the second half which soared just out of reach of the Irish goalkeeper but under the crossbar.

It was Reads fifth goal of the season and her first game winning goal of the year. Read began her soccer career with Vardar as a U9 and through the years was part of a Vardar team that won six out of seven possible State Cup Championships under the coaching of Ralph Torre and Demir Muftari.

Click on the following link to view highlights of the Illinois-Notre Dame game which also shows Reads goal from three different angles.

Illinois advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament and next faces #2 Oklahoma State on Nov. 18, 6 p.m. in Oklahoma.




Vardar player named Mr. Soccer

November 10, 2011 -- Zach Carroll, a member of the Vardar Academy Team, was named Mr. Soccer by the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association. In addition, a number of other Vardar players were selected for the Dream Team. Please click on the following link to see the Dream Team.



Two Vardar U15 girls were selected to the All ECNL Event Team

November 1, 2011 -- Two Vardar U15 girls (Madison Toth and Maria Zandi) were selected to the All ECNL Event Team following the first ECNL National Showcase Event of the 2011-12 ECNL regular season, which was held October 8-10, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ. A total of 134 teams from 36 clubs participated in the event. The ECNL All-Event Teams are selected based upon nominations from coaches and scouts based upon individual and team performances over the course of the three-game event.

Toth and Zandi were part of a defensive line that did not give up a goal during the three-game weekend. Vardars U15 team had three consecutive shut-outs beating Atlanta Fire 4-0, DeAnza Force 2-0 and then Heat FC 1-0.

For more information about the ECNL All-Event Team, click on




Member of the Vardar U15/16 Academy Team, invited to the U.S. residency camp in Bradenton, FL

August 31, 2011 -- Matt Nance, a member of the Vardar U15/16 Academy Team, was recently invited to attend the U.S. U-17 residency camp in Bradenton, FL.

Nance is one of 33 boys and the only player from Region 2 invited to participate in the semester-long camp that could include an international trip to Spain and France. This U-17 cycle that just began this August will represent the U.S. in the next U-17 World Cup in 2013 in the United Arab Emirates.

Vardar congratulates Matt and wishes him luck in Bradenton.




National Premier Leagues Website Launched
The 2011-2012 NPL season will kick off in September 2011

June 27, 2011 -- The National Premier Leagues include many of the nation’s top clubs in geographically-based leagues, each of which is independently operated but linked with the others under the same technical guidelines, philosophies and structure.

The 2011-12 season will kick off in September and all the latest news and updates from each NPL can be found on, the official NPL website, which was launched last week.   

A complete presentation on the vision, structure and future of the National Premier Leagues can be found on the NPL website. This presentation also includes an overview of the Player Development Programs created for each National Premier League.   Read More...



Vardar Elite Cup 2011

Date: August 19th – 21st, 2011

Tournament: Vardar Soccer Club would like to invite all youth soccer teams to an exciting tournament in Southeast Michigan which promises to bring in top level competition.

Venues: Ultimate Soccer Arenas, Lyon Oaks County Park, Wixom Total Sports and Bicentennial Park. We have the best turf and grass fields in Michigan. We also have indoor lighted fields.
Host Organizations: Vardar Soccer Club

Competition Ages/Levels:
Girls U8-U14 and U18
Boys U8-U18




Vardar Logo Sets Stage for New Soccer Season

JUNE 2011 -- Vardar Soccer Club took a page from its successful past to create a new look for the future. Director of Coaching Morris Lupenec unveiled the clubs new logo which was created using elements from the original 1980s logo and elements from its previous logo that has been used by Vardar for the past five years.

The "vintage look with modern elements" continues to use three stars which represent the third Vardar club to be established in the world. The original Vardar was a professional mens team playing in Macedonia (est. 1961) and the second Vardar was a mens club formed in Detroit in the 1970s. The third club was established in 1984 as a non-profit youth soccer organization. Vardar III used Roman numerals in its logo to acknowledge its status as the third Vardar club and in the early 2000s, management replaced the numerals with three stars.

"We are in a new uniform cycle so it made sense to take a look at updating the logo at this time," explained Lupenec. "We wanted a design that honored our past but we also wanted a look for the future. Im extremely pleased with the edgy look that our graphics designer created. The Vardar name and logo are already recognized around the country and Im confident this logo will make the kind of impact were after whenever we step on the field to compete."

The new logo will be available on all Vardar uniforms for the 2011-2012 season. In addition, beginning immediately, all Vardar spiritwear will sport the new look. Vardar merchandise is now being handled by Soccer Plus and will be available in store July 1.




Vardars Carroll to Play With U17MNT on Live TV

JUNE 2011 -- Vardars Carroll to Play With U17MNT on Live TV

Zach Carroll continues to shine on the U17 Mens National Team. Zach has earned a starting spot at centerback for the upcoming 2011 FIFA Under 17 World Cup tournament. All games will be televised (see schedule). And look for #2!

  • Sunday, June 19, 7PM vs Czech Rep - ESPNU
  • Wednesday, June 22, 4PM vs Uzbekistan - Galavision
  • Saturday, June 25, 7PM vs New Zealand - ESPNU

All three group games will also be shown live-streamed on




Congratulations Vardar U10 Boys!

JUNE 2011 -- Vardar U10 Boys had an outstanding spring session! Not only did they win the U11 Major Blue Division, but they came within a single point of winning the U10 Premier division. Combined the boys had an overall record of 14 wins, 2 losses and 3 ties during the spring session. All the boys should be congratulated for their fine efforts.

As a team the boys accomplished the following over the 2010-2011 year:

  • 2010 Vardar Elite Cup-Champions
  • 2010 Force FC Club Invitational-Champions
  • 2010 MYSL U11 MAJOR GOLD-WEST Division-Champions
  • Wolverine Tournament-Finalists
  • 2011 MSYL U11 MAJOR BLUE Division-Champions


Vardar and SC Freiburg Agree to Partnership
Vardar Soccer Club announced today that it has entered into a partnership with Sport-Club Freiburg of Germany
June 6, 2011 -- Vardar Soccer Club announced today that it has entered into a partnership with Sport-Club Freiburg of Germany that will promote player development, training and a continuous exchange of players and coaches between the two clubs.

As part of the partnership, SC Freiburg will share with Vardar its Youth Player Development Curriculum with the goal being that training and player development methodologies are consistent between the two clubs at every level.

To further promote SC Freiburg’s training methods and philosophies, Vardar coaching staff will be invited to Freiburg during the summer to participate in training sessions and SC Freiburg coaches will travel to Michigan to conduct training sessions and collaborate with Vardar coaches on soccer training methods.

In addition, this August, SC Freiburg has arranged for Vardar’s U18 team to participate in the U19 tournament hosted by the SpVgg Oberndorf, a highly regarded youth tournament in Europe which will have the U.S. boys facing teams from Brazil, Spain, Cameroon and other German Bundesliga clubs. In the past, scouts from throughout Europe have attended this tournament. Lodging, ground transportation and all meals will be covered for the Vardar players.

Then, beginning with the 2011/2012 season, Vardar’s U16 and U18 Academy Teams will compete as SC Freiburg Vardar. Throughout the two-year partnership, SC Freiburg will be able to recruit Vardar’s players for its German youth academy program and Vardar will identify and recommend other talented players from youth clubs in the U.S. and Canada.

Caleb Stanko of Holly, MI, recently became the first Vardar player to sign with SC Freiburg’s U19 Men’s Team
“This is a great opportunity for Vardar players and other Michigan players to have an avenue to play in the European market,” said Morris Lupenec, Vardar Director of Coaching. “Germany is at the forefront of top soccer talent as seen by their past World Cup performances, and we are excited to be partnered with a club that has a long history of developing soccer players that perform at the highest level.”

Sport-Club Freiburg is a German soccer club, based in the city of Freiburg in Breisgau in Baden-Württemberg. SC Freiburg currently plays in the Bundesliga, the top tier of German soccer. SC Freiburg is the smallest club in Germanys top flight and relies heavily on player development in order to compete at the highest level. In fact, SC Freiburg was the first professional soccer club in Germany to introduce a Development Academy in the late 1990s and was just recognized again in May 2011 by the German Soccer Federation (DFB) as having one of the overall best academies in Germany. The clubs Academy regularly produces players that make it into the professional team and its U-17 and U-19 teams always are among the top teams in the country.

Caleb Stanko of Holly, MI, recently became the first Vardar player to sign with SC Freiburg’s U19 Men’s Team. Stanko, a member of the Vardar U18 Academy Team that won the National Championship in July of 2010, had been training in Germany since March of 2011. “Caleb is a perfect example of how this partnership can work to the benefit of Vardar players,” Lupenec said. “Hopefully Caleb will be just one of many Vardar players who will train with SC Freiburg and make an impact on European soccer.”



Vardar U16s make run at first in U.S. Soccer Development Academy division
Vardar is 4-0-1 with four shutouts in last five Great Lakes Division Central Conference games
Tariq Akeel has helped Vardar Academy U16s to a 4-0-1 in their last five matches.

Photo By: Vardar soccer

ESPN.RISE.COM -- June 1, 2011 -- Vardar U16 has been on a tear in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

The Detroit-based squad has gone 4-0-1 against five of its Great Lakes Division Central Conference rivals, posting four shutouts. It surpassed Crew Soccer Academy (8-2-2, 10-5-4) for first place in the nine-team division.

Jeffery Adkins leads the team with seven goals, followed by Youseff Bjaidar and Tyler Jugon with five each. Tariq Akeel has four and Zachary Pagani has three.

In succession, Vardar vanquished seventh-place Chicago Magic (4-5-3, 5-10-4), second-place Crew, ninth-place Internationals (2-8-2, 7-10-2) and fifth-place Sockers FC (4-2-5, 6-3-9). Vardar battled to a scoreless tie Sunday against eighth-place FC Milwaukee (2-7-3, 2-14-3).

What makes Vardars position more daunting for opponents is 6-foot-3 defender defender Mahamoudou Kaba, whod been playing up with the under-18 squad, could return to the U16s, according to coach Mike Lupenec.

"Were going to bring Mo down to play with the younger academy," Lupenec said. "Were sitting in a good position to make the playoffs, and that was our main goal. Last year, our older academy actually won the national championship. Our younger academy has made the playoffs the last two years."

Kaba, who plans to graduate early this year, has verbally committed to South Carolina.

Lupenec credits the defense of Phillip Soong, Mike Leone, Jeffrey Robbins and Sean Hasen, as well as goalie Matt Smolinski, for limiting scoring chances, particularly during the toughest match of the run -- the 2-1 win over the Crew on May 21.

"Theyve been steady in the last few games," Lupenec said. "Our center backs (Leone and Soong) have done an excellent job."

After losing consecutive 1-0 matches to Derby County Wolves (5-4-7, 8-6-9) and Chicago Fire (6-3-4, 10-4-6), Lupenec made a change in the offensive rotation after May 14.

"Right after the Fire game, we decided that we were going to put our best best offensive players in a 4-3-3," Lupenec said. "Youseff, Tariq and Jeffery have been clicking and putting pressure on back lines.

"Their roles have been basically to score goals, and I think that changing the system helped. Yousseff is very athletic; Jeffs very technical; and then Tariq is a good offensive man who likes to get forward."  READ MORE......



U14 boys State Cup Champions

JUNE 2011 -- Vardar U14 Academy Boys won 2-1 in the State Cup Final against TNT Dynamite.  The MVP award was shared by Willie Maddox and Nash Popovic  and the Most Valuable Goalie was Spencer Ward. 

These two teams (13 Boys and 14 Boys) and the Vardar 14 Girls now head to the Region II Championships slated for June 25-29 in Fox Cities, WI.




U13 boys State Cup Champions

JUNE 2011 -- U13 boys State Cup Champions. Pearce Skinner was awarded Most Valuable Goalie and both Mitch Guitar and Conner McDevitt were awarded MVP. The boys defeated Crew 3-1. Vardar went up 2-0 in the first 12 minutes of the game and held the lead thru the game.

The U13 Boys team is coached by Curtis Ward.




Vardar Player Earns Golden Boot Award

JUNE 2011 -- Nash Popovic, a member of Vardars U14 Academy Team, earned the Golden Boot Trophy for the six goals he scored during the recent Manchester United Premier Cup held Memorial Day Weekend in Beaverton, OR.

The Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) is the largest international youth football tournament in the world, involving over 6,000 teams from over 40 countries. Teams from around the globe compete in regional or national qualifying tournaments, all with the ultimate goal to reach the MUPC World Finals for boys, and the Gothia Cup tournament for the girls U.S. winner. Once again, Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton hosted the U.S. Finals for the MUPC. The tournament saw 20 of the top U14 and U15 boys and girls teams each in the nation come together to play for the crown.

Vardars boys earned a sixth place finish with a three win, 1 loss and 1 tie record. Vardar girls went 1-2-1 for the weekend




Vardar has four teams vying for the State Cup Championship title

JUNE 2011 -- Vardar has four teams vying for the State Cup Championship title this Saturday, June 4, at the East Lansing Soccer Complex, 3700 Coleman Rd., E. Lansing.
The U13 Boys and U18 Boys State Cup Finals begin at 9:30 p.m. while the 14 Boys championship game begins at 12 p.m. and the 15 Boys battle for the crown beginning at 5 p.m.   Come cheer on our Vardar players!



Vardars U13 Boys earned the Championship title at the Wolverine Tournament

MAY 2011 -- Vardars U13 Boys earned the Championship title at the Wolverine Tournament May 30 beating the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors Gold 1-0.

The team is coached by Curtis Ward. The Vardar 13s next take on the Crew during the State Cup Championships on June 4



Nine Vardar teams have qualified for the State Cup Quarterfinals to be held this Saturday, May 21 at the Saginaw Soccer Complex in Saginaw. Game times are as follows:
  • 9:30 AM Vardar U18 Boys coached by Demir Muftari and Morris Lupenec, Field #6
  • 9:30 AM Vardar U13 Boys coached by Curtis Ward, Field #7
  • 9:30 AM Vardar Red U13 Boys coached by John Phillips, Field #8
  • 12:00 PM Vardar U14 Academy Boys coached by Mike Lupenec, Field #9
  • 12:00 PM Vardar U14 Pre-Academy Boys coached by Mike Lupenec, Field #10
  • 2:30 PM Vardar U16 Boys coached by Morris Lupenec, Field #1
  • 2:30 PM Vardar U13 Girls coached by Eric Pogue, Field #7
  • 2:30 PM Vardar East U13 Girls coached by Rick Christensen, Field #8
  • 5:00 PM Vardar U15 Boys coached by Mike Lupenec, Field #3

Come on out and cheer on our Vardar players! Winners will then play on Sunday during the State Cup Semi-Finals. The State Cup Championships will then be held on June 4




Novi Jags Tournament Finalist: U9 Vardar Ann Arbor Team



Vardar Red 98 at the Nike Challenge Cup in Dublin, OH

April 2011 —  Vardar 98 Red had an outstanding tournament in Dublin, Ohio.

The team defeated Blast FC in the semi-finals 6-3, and lost to Lexington FC in a thrilling Final match by a score of 0-1.  

Congratulations Team!



Vardar players travel to Costa Rica to play on the 1996 and 1995 Region II Boys International Tournament

February 2011 —  Three Vardar boys were part of the Region II ODP team to travel to Costa Rica this past week to play on the 1996 and 1995 Region II teams in the Boys International Tournament.

Players with the 96 ODP team were Matt Nance, Connor Balantyne and Craig Duggan.

Other than Region I, II, III & IV participating in this event, four youth teams from Costa Rica joined in the international event including Brujas, Heredia, Alajuela and Saprissa



U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team and Vardar defender Zach Carroll interview

February 2011 —  ACADEMY IN THE NEWS: Get to know U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team and Vardar defender Zach Carroll

CONCAF game featuring Zach Carroll on the U.S. U17 MNT will air on ESPN Desportes and live-streamed on

Look for the quarterfinal against El Salvador on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m



Vardar Academy Player selected for U17 World Cup qualifying and CONCACAF championship

February 2011 —  Vardar Academy player Zach Carroll has been selected to travel with the U.S. U17 MNT squad to Jamaica for U17 World Cup qualifying and CONCACAF championship. Coach Cabrerra took 20 boys and Zach is one of three centerbacks on the trip.

The CONCACAF website will live stream stats and highlights at,,12813,00.html

The U17 squad will play games against Cuba and Panama. More info can be found on the U17 website within U.S. Soccer at



Vardar Academy players named as top 20 players in the Midwest Region

February 2011 —  Vardar Academy players Zach Caroll, Jeff Adkins, Phillip Soong, Mike Moscone, Matt Meldrum and Tariq Akeel were named by Top Drawer Soccer as a top 20 player in the Midwest Region.

The Regional Top 20 Rankings (for the 2011 – 2015 classes) were based on input from Top Drawer Soccer staff, scouts and coaches at various levels. Both the numerical rankings and the star ratings are subject to update at least once per week. Read more:



U.S. Soccer Names 36 players for Training Camp at The Home Depot Center

December 1, 2010 —  U.S. U-18 MNT head coach Mike Matkovich has finalized a 36-player roster for a training camp at The Home Depot Center from Nov. 20-28. The training camp will include friendly games against local men’s teams, including Ventura County Fusion, FC Hasental, Hollywood United and Orange County Blue Star.

The roster includes 31 players who are currently part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, plus a former Academy player in Victor Pineda who signed a Homegrown Player contract with the Chicago Fire earlier this year. Midfielder Caleb Stanko played up last season with the U-17/18 Vardar squad that captured the 2009-10 championship.    Read More...



Vardar Player picked for Academy Select Team

November 22, 2010 —  Zach Carroll, a member of the Vardar U18 Academy Team, has been invited to participate in a U.S. Academy Select Team game during the Dec. 2-6 Winter Showcase to be held in Phoenix, AZ. The game between two groups of players born in 1994 and 1995 will be played at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 4.

Select Teams are made up of Academy players chosen by youth national team coaches and U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors. They will have the opportunity to play alongside some of the top players in their age group in front of youth national team coaches, Technical Advisors, national team scouting network and hundreds of college coaches from across the country. In the past, professional scouts from Major League Soccer and foreign clubs have also been in attendance. All of the players are age-eligible to compete in the 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in April, and players born on or after Jan. 1, 1994, are eligible for the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in February


Michigan State Cup Championship - U14 Girls

November 1, 2010 - Vardar’s U14 Girls edged the Michigan Hawks in a very well played 1-0 game on October 17th to win the Michigan State Cup Championship.  These two teams are no stranger to the State Cup Finals, this game was actually a rematch of the championship game last season.  The Vardar girls went 6-0 in State Cup play, scoring 23 goals without allowing an opposing goal.    READ PRESS RELEASE




Force FC Invitational Tournament U10B Gold Champions

September 5, 2010 -The Vardar U10 Boys won the Force FC Invitational Tournament U10B Gold Champions .

Congratulations to Coach Morris and all the boys for a well deserved championship!



2010 Vardar Elite Cup Champions - U13  Boys

August 22, 2010 - Coach Phillips boys went 4 and 0 to become Vardar Cup 2010 Champions. The final game they defeated Ole Soccer Club U13 by a score of 6-1.

Congratulations to Coach Phillips and all the boys for a well deserved championship!



2010 Vardar Elite Cup Champions - U10  Boys

August 22, 2010 -The Vardar U10 Boys started the new fall campaign on a very positive note by going undefeated on its way to winning the Vardar Elite Cup U10 championship.

The tournament featured some of the top U10 teams in Michigan, along with a very strong Warren County United team from Ohio. In its first game, Vardar beat Waza FC East 10-2 then dispatched the Michigan Jaguars 6-3 in game two. On Sunday morning the boys persevered through a rough match against Alliance FC, 3-0.

The finals featured two undefeated teams with Vardar facing off against a very talented MI Wolves team. As expected the two teams battled fiercely throughout the game. Vardar emerged victorious with a well earned 4-2 victory.

Congratulations to Coach Morris and all the boys for a well deserved championship!