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Pitt’s Filip Mirkovich joins Wrexham Red Dragons for 7v7 The Soccer Tournament in Cary, NC

Photo courtesy Wrexham AFC Twitter

Pitt rising senior midfielder Filip Mirkovic has been spending the summer keeping fit and playing with the Long Island Rough Riders, competing with the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) club.

Little would Mirkovic know that he would have an opportunity of a lifetime when Rough Riders head coach Tom Bowen told him and teammate Nico Cavallo they were nominated to join the famed Welsh team, Wrexham AFC, which needed a few names to fill out its roster in The Soccer Tournament competition they’re taking part in during their North American tour, in Cary, North Carolina, this week.

Mirkovic, a Manhattan native, is familiar with playing in Cary, as he has been a key piece of the successful Pitt teams that have won multiple ACC Coastal Division titles and have reached the College Cup played at that same site twice.

The deft passing midfielder, who led Pitt in assists last season with 12 helpers, will be returning to Oakland for his senior season in the Fall.

“That will be cool if I do get a good amount of in decent amount of playing time,” Mirkovic told FrontRowSoccer ahead of the experience.

“I’m not expecting a whole lot to be honest with you. That’s all mostly on the coach. So, I’m not too worried about that. I’m there for the experience. It’s still going be very fun to watch them play.”

Sure enough, Mirkovic did get a chance to play on Thursday, as Wrexham came back from a 2-0 deficit in its first match, to defeat Como 1907, 3-2.

Later in the day, the same Wrexham side defeated the US Women’s team, 12-0, where Mirkovic finished with a goal and an assist.

With a win in Friday’s final group stage match vs Say Word FC, at Noon, Wrexham will advance to the knockout round at the The Soccer Tournament.

Here’s how it works in The Soccer Tournament: Matches consist of two 20-minute halves, after which the game is not over. It enters “Target Score Time” which is not timed (i.e. no clock).

To win the game, one of the teams needs to hit the target score, which is always one more goal than the total scored by the highest-scoring team at the end of 40 minutes of regulation.

For example, if the score is 3-1 at the end of regulation, the target score for either team to hit becomes 4 (one more than 3), and the first team that reaches 4 goals wins the game.

Should 10 minutes elapse in this untimed period without the target score reached, one player will be removed from each team to create a more open game. An additional player will be removed from each side every five minutes until one of the teams reaches the target score.

The “Elam Ending” ensures there are no draws, and every game ends on a goal being scored.

The winner of the tournament will take home a $1 Million prize.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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