Liberia Crowned PHL Unity Cup Champions for the Third Year in a Row

Liberia defended its Philadelphia International Unity Cup Champions title in a 3-0 victory against the United States during the final round of the tournament, hosted on October 12 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester. As part of the 2019 GlobalPhilly Expo, the tournament celebrated Philadelphia’s diversity over the past three months by providing an opportunity for local soccer fanatics and athletes representing 52 countries to participate in a World Cup-style competition. 

Before the match began, the event kicked off with a naturalization ceremony hosted right on the field to celebrate 22 new American citizens representing 13 countries from around the world. In addition to the ceremony, the Unity Cup also hosted a mini-tournament for children representing over a dozen countries, with Mexico’s youth team ultimately coming out on top. 

Although this was the United States’ first time qualifying for the championship in PHL Unity Cup history, the team stood no match for Liberia’s athletic skill and sportsmanship. Liberia dominated the field from the very beginning of the game, scoring their first goal within the first seven minutes and holding this lead throughout the first half. They then tacked on an additional two goals in the second half, further solidifying their victory. This marks the third year in a row that Liberia has brought home the PHL Unity Cup trophy, cementing their status as the team to beat for next year’s tournament. 

Liberia gave the honor of placing their team’s sticker on the champion slot of the bracket banner to Daniel Yallah. Only 19 years old, Yallah led the team to victory in the 2018 championship against Ivory Coast; this was the second time the two teams faced off on the championship field, and Yallah was instrumental in securing Liberia’s 2018 victory in the wake of their 2016 defeat. Yallah was diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer earlier this summer, but he refuses to let this stop him from pursuing his passion for soccer. To prove it, he even signed a one-day contract with the Philadelphia Union in September, where he trained with them for a day just before their match against the New York Red Bulls. Off the field, Yallah has also started various fundraising campaigns to raise money to help support his younger siblings in the event that his condition worsens. 

Philadelphians can reflect on the tournament’s success and Liberia’s journey to the top by checking out the PHL Unity Cup’s blog here


Article written by Amelia Winger on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association

Photo credit: Philadelphia International Unity Cup