Lili Oren posed with the rest of her teammates for a photo, but she was clearly the center of attention.
Lili, a member of the Under-14 Chattanooga (Tenn.) FC team competing on the opening day of the US Youth Soccer Association National Presidents Cup at the MeSA Complex this morning, didn't know it but her father was in attendance.
U.S. Army Captain Lex Oren has been deployed in Seoul, South Korea, for the past 10 months, but when his daughter's team made it to the national tournament, Lex Oren made arrangements to come to Greenville for the event.
He decided to surprise Lili, and he watched the game from above the field. When the 1-1 draw was over, a photo of the team was orchestrated by Carolina Elite Soccer Academy co-executive director Pearse Tormey.
Lili was kneeling on the front left, and her father was driven down to the field on a golf cart and sneaked into the photo right behind her at the last second.
After a few shots were taken, Tormey said, "Now let's get a few of the two on the end."
Lex tapped his daughter on the shoulders. Lili had a puzzled look and then turned around and stood and the two embraced. There were tears all around.
"I had no idea who it was," Lili said. "I was honestly kind of freaking out. I had no idea. Then I turned around. I just got so happy, I didn't even think. I just turned around and realized it was my dad."