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Team brings prayer to the soccer field

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Aug. 13, 2003
An area soccer team came away winless at the National State Games of America last week, but still managed to leave quite an impression.
The MYSO (Meridian Youth Soccer Organization) Crunch, a team of local 16- and 17-year-old players, traveled to Hartford, Conn., to take part in the Games, which lasted from Aug. 6-10 and featured more than 5,000 athletes from 43 states.
Matched against older teams, some of which included Division I college players, the Crunch came away with an 0-3 record. Still, they may have been the ones teaching their opponents a thing or two.
Russell Sonak, head coach of the team, said the pregame prayer became a tradition shortly after the team was organized.
Word of the team's tradition got around, and the Crunch soon came to be known as "the team that prays."
Some teams thought the Meridian squad's actions were unusual, but they were always well received.
So neat, in fact, that Blanks said the Crunch may have spread the tradition to some of their opponents.

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