|photo by Paul Videla|
Monday night at Harllee Stadium, the Tigers will go up against the nation's best: Montverde Academy, which visits Palmetto for a 7:30 p.m. match.
The Eagles have not lost a match since 2010 and were named prep national champions last year by MaxPreps, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Elite Soccer Report.
They also earned MaxPreps' top ranking in 2012 and was voted to the top of the ESPN RISE/Powerade Top 50 in 2011.
Montverde has also sent 24 players to Division I programs since 2010, according to the academy's Facebook page.
The Eagles are coached by Mike Potempa, who has played for three different national teams (U17, U19, U20), played at Clemson and was a draft pick of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy.
What Montverde cannot do is play for a state championship - the Eagles are members of the Florida High School Athletic Association, but compete as an independent.
While the Tigers have no national crowns in the trophy case, they have been the area's most consistent program for over a decade, appearing in district championship games in 11of the past 12 years while winning five straight district titles.
Palmetto became Manatee County's first public school boys program to reach the state final four in 2009 and repeated the feat in '10. The Tigers reached the semifinals last year, too
The Tigers are 4-0 this season.