The Story of the Stars
The Stars have enjoyed an illustrious and rich history since its founding in 2001 as Junior Lone Star Football Club before becoming Philadelphia Lone Star Football Club in 2018. There have been plenty of highs and lows over the years, which all come together to make up our colourful past…
The club was founded in 2001 by Bobby Ali, a Liberian immigrant who had fled a civil war in his home country. The club was named Junior Lone Star Football Club after the Liberian National Soccer Team which is nicknamed the Lone Star.
The club started with a single team of 13 young Liberian players who competed in the EPYSA U17 State Cup from 2002-2005 and was led by the founder and coach Bobby Ali.
As more West African immigrants settled in southwest Philadelphia from Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Guinea, the club expanded with the Under-19s in 2006 as well as the Under-23s in 2007.
In their first season, the Under-19s led by coach Bobby Ali, finished as Finalists in the 2006 EPYSA Under-19 State Cup after losing to FC Delco 4-0.
In 2008, Junior Lone Star FC won its first major championship when the newly-formed Under-23s won the Eastern Pennsylvania State U-23 Cup under coach George Beyan. The Under-23s then represented Eastern Pennsylvania in the 2008 USASA Region I Men’s U-23 Cup where they defeated West Chester United SC and FC Delco in the semi-finals and final, respectively. The Under-23s subsequently represented USASA Region I at the 2008 USASA National Men’s U-23 Championship in California where they lost to eventual champions Ela Elite in the semi-finals.
At the end of the 2010 season, club president Stephen Lloyd Togba decided he has taken the club as far as he could and handed over the reins to Paul Konneh in 2011.
Upon his ascension to the presidency, Konneh first plan of action was to incorporate the club and apply for a non-profit status.
His next step was to take the club to another level by competing in a national league, the National Premier Soccer League. Junior Lone Star FC’s application was accepted and the First Team began play in its inaugural season in the NPSL in 2012, led by coach Bobby Ali.
The Stars lost 2-0 in their league opener against FC Sonic on 18 May 2012 and also lost their second league match 4-3 to AC Crusaders two days later with Dan Doe scoring the first-ever goal for the Stars in a national league.
The Stars will go on to have their first-ever win, a 4-1 home victory over Buxmont Torch FC on 3 June 2012 with Moses Jackson scoring a brace.
The Stars would go on to finish 5th with a 4-0-8 record in their inaugural season, 4th with a 6-1-4 record during the 2013 season, and 3rd with a 6-3-3 record during the 2014 season.
Also in 2014, the First Team went on to finish as Runners-Up in the EPSA Open Cup.
The Stars took a break from the NPSL in 2015 and instead traveled to Puerto Rico on tour where they played the Puerto Rico National Team as well as some local first division clubs. The First Team won all its games without conceding a single goal. Highlight of the trip was a 1-0 win against Puerto Rico with Seydou Ba scoring the decisive goal from a looping header!
The Under-23s, on the other hand led by coach George Beyan, went on to finish as Runners-Up at the EPSA U-23 Regionals in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The Under-19s, led by coach Thomas George, finished as Runners-up in the 2014 EPYSA U19 State Cup.
This is s period of success for the club through its First Team. The First Team still led by coach Bobby Ali, won its first-ever State Amateur Cup and Open Cup titles in 2016, finished 3rd in the NPSL Keystone Conference with an improved 6-3-3 record, and qualified for the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in the club history.
Unfortunately, Bobby Ali stepped down as coach of the First Team after the 2016 season to manage the Under-23s.
Neewilli Saie who served briefly as coach of the U-19s and then the U-23s, took over the reins from Bobby Ali in 2017 after taking the Under-23s for a friendly match against the United States Under-20 National Team in Florida.
However, things didn’t go as planned as the team lost 3-1 in its first-ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match to Ocean City Nor’easters with defender Koaussi N’Guessan making history by scoring the club’s first-ever goal in that competition.
Before making our historic appearance in our first-ever LHUSOC, the U.S. Soccer Federation did a feature on the club, posted below:
The team also lost the USASA Region I Amateur Cup Final to Lansdowne Bhoys.
In the NPSL, the team dropped to 6th in the Keystone Conference with a disappointing 4-1-5 record for the 2017 season.
After the 2017 season, coach Neewilli Saie resigned as First Team coach to return to graduate school and the club appointed former player, Fatoma Turay, as head coach beginning the 2018 season.
The club had one of its most successful seasons in 2018 after finishing 2nd in the NPSL Keystone Conference with a 8-0-2 record thereby qualifying for its first-ever post-season. With that record, the First Team was also ranked 6th nationally in the NPSL out of 100 teams and qualified directly for the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the second time in three years.
At the State level, coach Fatoma Turay also led the First Team to another dual State Cup titles in the 2018 Amateur Cup and Open Cup.
The First Team also competed in the inaugural Northeast Elite Soccer League (NESL) where they were crowned the 2018 NESL Regular Season Champions.
In order to get the Under-23s playing in a national league, the club applied to compete in the United Premier Soccer League for the 2018 season where the Under-23s finished as Runners-Up in their inaugural season.
On September 5, 2018, Junior Lone Star Football Club re-branded to Philadelphia Lone Star Football Club as a nod to the City of Brotherly Love that openly welcomed our club members from West Africa.
Later that month, a women’s team was announced by the club and the First Team goalkeepers coach, Charlie Flowe, was appointed as the women’s team first-ever coach.
Later that year, the club applied to and was accepted to compete in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) which is the largest amateur women’s league in the world.
During their inaugural season in the WPSL in 2019, the women’s finished second in the WPSL Colonial Division with a 4-2-2 record and qualified for post-season where they finished as Finalists of the WPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference after losing 2-1 at the last-minute to Torch FC in the final.
The First Team on the other, made their second appearance at the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup where they were again eliminated in the first round, this time by Reading United AC with a 2-1 scoreline.
In the NPSL, the Stars qualified for their second successive playoff where they finished as the NPSL Keystone Conference Runners-Up after losing to FC Motown 2-0 in the final.
On November 2019, the club was accepted to compete in USL League Two ahead of the 2020 season; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all leagues were shut down in 2020.
In late 2019, the club was accepted to compete in the USL League Two for the 2020 season but had to wait until 2021 due to the covid pandemic which shut down all soccer activities in 2020.
The first team played its first-ever match in USL League Two on May 5, 2021 at fierce local rivals West Chester United SC where they narrowly lost 0-1. They will then lose again 2-3 in a five-goal thriller away to Northern Virginia FC on May 8, 2021, with Aboubacar Camara scoring the club’s first-ever goal in USL League Two.
The First Team would then clinch their first win, at home, against Lehigh Valley United 2-0 on May 22, 2021, with Patrick Singbah and Anthony Allison on target before ending their inaugural USL League Two season 4th with a 5-0-9 (W-D-L) record.
In the NPSL, the first team were switched to the NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference where they finished as Conference Finalists after losing 3-0 at FC Baltimore Christos in the final.
On the other hand, the Women’s team returned for their second season in the WPSL where they finished.
The 2022 season was a bit disappointing for both the men’s and women’s teams as the first team finished 6th in the NPSL Keystone Conference with a 3-1-6 (W-D-L) record and 5th in the USL League Two Mid Atlantic Conference with a 3-4-7 (W-D-L) record while the women’s team finished last with a 1-0-7 (W-D-L) record.
In 2023, the club will be taking hiatus from the WPSL and the NPSL; however, the First Team will return for their third season in the USL League Two and will also compete in the UPSL Premier Division while the club was also accepted to have their Under-19s compete in the USL Academy during the 2013 season.