Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kickin For Kitty Soccer Tournament Announced

I've written before about Kitty Jordan and the Kitty Miracle Fund that has been created to help those with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Well, I just received this email from my buddy Victor who is the Tournament Director for the Kickin For Kitty Soccer Tournament that will be held on September 4-6th in Huntsville in support of the Kitty's Miracle Fund.

Kitty's parents, Tim and Martha Jordan, were out at Rocket City's United Youth Night last Saturday and were presented with a ball and jersey signed by the RCU players and staff. RCU in conjunction with 9 local businesses raised over $2,000 dollars for Kitty's Miracle Fund.

RCU Club President Andy Zorovich shows off the customized Kitty jersey

Here's Victor's email:

Dear Players/Coaches/Directors,

You are cordially invited to participate in the First Annual Kickin’ For
Kitty Soccer Tournament on September 4-6, 2009 hosted by Kitty’s Miracle
Fund in Huntsville, Alabama. Kitty’s Miracle Fund is a non-profit
organization helping Tennessee Valley families cope with the expenses
associated with the treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). The goal
of the Fund is to provide afflicted families with some financial reprieve
after they have surpassed their insurance cap and are forced to pay for
treatment out-of-pocket. The goal of the Tournament is to have fun and
raise money for these families.

The competition is a 6v6 non-sanctioned tournament. Age groups will
consist of 6 divisions: U8, U10, U12, U14, High School, and Adult.
Brackets will be determined based on the number of teams registered.
Registration is $400 per team, with a $150 deposit due at time of
enrollment. The remaining balance is due at check-in on September 4th.
Teams that register early (before August 7th) will receive a 10% discount
on their registration fee.

For more information, please visit our website
(http://www.kickinforkitty.org) or contact Victor Collazo Perez
(Tournament Director) at director@kittysmiraclefund.org.

Teams can register online by visiting:

Remember, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and what better
way to kick off the month of September than with the Inaugural Kickin' For
Kitty Charity Soccer Tournament. Thank you for supporting this noteworthy
cause. I look forward to seeing you there!


Victor Collazo Perez
Tournament Director

What Have We Learned From the USA's Run?

What did we learn from the wonderful '09 Confed Cup from the US Men's National Team? Other then I have the fact that I should quit with the predictions? In my pre-Confed Cup posting, I said not to expect much from the USA's squad. I figured it would be a rerun of the World Cup 2006. I didn't expect the USMNT to get out of the group and it looked like I was correct, right up to the kickoff of the final group match.

USMNT who won the 2009 Confederations Cup silver medal

That was when we learned about the effort and heart that this group of players can show. Their belief in themselves was a joy to see. They played like they had nothing to lose, which is commendable. They made everyone who has been following this team for years and years proud. The audacity to believe that they had a chance to advance after 2 losses and a -5 goal differential was amazing. That never-say-die mentality is typical to the American culture and is something that continues to amaze the international soccer community.

Unfortunately, in the Final against Brazil, we also learned that the USA has depth issues. The USMNT player pool has 12-13 players who are of what I will call international pedigree. You saw it clearly in the second half of the Final, when the frantic pace and altitude finally started to wear on the starting eleven. There was no one on the bench who could come in and keep the level of play where it needs to be. In fact, there were seven players on the bench who didn't see a minute of play in the Confed Cup.

Now, injuries have certainly hurt the USA in the past few months. I definitely think the likes of Steve Cherundolo, Maurice Edu, and Brian Ching would have provided a Bob Bradley better options than he had on the Confed bench. It will be interesting to see if Bradley can identify more players during the upcoming Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifying campaign.

And it obviously will not hurt to add a player or two like Jermaine Jones and Edgar Castillo to the USMNT player pool now that FIFA rules have changed for switching National teams. Will these USA "defectors" be the answer? No, but they will add to the current depth of the player pool, which is vital to international success.

Of course, these are not the only thing we learned, but they were the most obvious. If the USA wants to maintain this level of international play, they will need to keep the never-say-die attitude and they will have to dig the player pool deeper.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally!! RCU beats Atlanta FC

In his first start for Rocket City United, Derek Pirtle was the difference as Rocket City United secured a crucial three points in the standings with a 2:1 victory over Atlanta FC. RCU head coach Greg Petersen dispatched Pirtle into the midfield to provide an "athletic presence" and the ever-ready midfielder did not dissapoint in his 65 minutes on the field.

After RCU gave up a nice goal to AFC's Jose Silva in the 21st minute on a powerful header from a corner kick service, it was Pirtle who evened the tally with a backpost header from a Paul Willoughby free kick from the flank. In the 29th minute, RCU newcomer Kyle Timm used excellent vision to play a terrific through ball to Willoughby. Willoughby used his quickness to draw a foul just outside the penalty area a few yards from the end line. On the ensuing free kick, Willoughby's ball found Pirtle who just needed redirect the ball toward net to score his first goal of the campaign.

Man of the Match Derek Pirtle discusses the big win

In the 38th minute, it was Pirtle's energy that led to the second goal. After Sutton Shults lost the ball, Pirtle doggedly tracked down the touchline after winning a desperate challenge. Pirtle then spotted Willoughby making a run into the area. Pirtle's service caused the AFC backs to misplay the ball which fortuitously fell to Rafa Barbosa who made no mistake and smashed the ball into the net for the go ahead goal.

The second half saw both teams squander multiple chances in front of goal with the highlight being Paul Willoughby mazy dribbling exhibition in the 61st minute. After receiving another excellent pass from Kyle Timm 40 yards from goal, Willoughby glided past five AFC defenders as if they were traffic cones on the training field. After getting past the last defender, Willoughby lashed a curling shot that crashed off the far post to end a truly Messi-like display of skill and body control.

With the time on the clock clicking down for AFC, coach Ricardo Montoya replaced defenders for attack minded players in an effort to equalize.

AFC coach Ricardo Montoya discusses the loss

While on the other end, RCU continually looked to apply the final protective coat to the game's shine. In the 86th minute, it looked as if Rafa Barbosa had his hand on the brush when he reached around the last AFC defender to pick the ball away. As he charged into the area and crisply beat the AFC keeper, a flag went up and the play was whistled dead as a foul had been judged to have occured.

As cries of derision rained down on the officiating crew, RCU took to the task of seeing out the match and the 3 minutes of injury time. A few tense moments occured as the back line of RCU yeilded but did not break and RCU had the three deserved points.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RCU Supports Kitty's Miracle Fund

Rocket City United is doing it's part to help another charity. This time it's Kitty's Miracle Fund. You may remember the post I wrote about this special girl a few weeks ago. In conjunction with their Youth Night special where every kid wearing their uniform gets in free, RCU and its business partners have pledged $50 for every RCU goal scored on the night.

For more information, go to http://www.KittysMiracleFund.org.


Vuvuzela! Or in the US, they are called "annoying plastic horns". While watching the glorious US victory over Spain the other day in a local establishment, the bar maid asked innocently, "Do all soccer games sound like a beehive?" Apparently, the sound had reminded her of her childhood farm when she would gather honey from the family's backyard beehive.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Check it out.

Now, I'll admit it. I owned one of these terrible inventions in my younger days, but after a few days at the stadium spent blowing it to the rythim of the "DC U-NI-TED" chants, my head would feel like silly putty. It took a lot to blow that thing, but even worse was when I had to listen to the countless others in the rows behind me blow it haphazardly throughout the game right in my ear. That and the punk rock music of my youth has certainly contributed to my poor hearing now. Even when I was able to successfully distance myself from the horns, I would leave the match with a headache.

Fortunately, many MLS teams have banned the horns from the stadium, as should FIFA. Except when Sepp "Blather" Blatter is speaking, blow away then... And let me offer a sincere apology to all those soccer enthusiasts who had to listen to me blow the Vuvuzela.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RCU To Host Atlanta FC In NPSL Southeast Showdown

Rocket City United plays host to a club they have never beaten in Atlanta FC this Saturday night at John Hunt Soccer Stadium. This is a must win for both clubs as RCU enjoys a 3 points lead over AFC in the NPSL Southeast division table with only a single league match remaining for the Huntsville outfit.

AFC, the reigning Southeastern Division champion, held home court earlier this season in Atlanta with a 2:0 victory in what had been described at the time as the roadtrip "from hell" by RCU's team manager Chris Shaffer.

RCU will look to break the streak despite missing central defending stalwart, Joseph Omondi, who will serve a one game suspension for his send off last week against Chattanooga FC. Jason Sabio will replace Omondi in the central role and will be looked upon to provide some vocal leadership through the center of the defense.

Jason Sabio dicsusses his Phillipine National Team call up and his first match against AFC

RCU Technical Director Greg Petersen's squad will look to continue to attack with the vigor that has them leading the division with 13 goals scored. However, they will have to do it against an AFC team that has relinquished the fewest in the division with only 5 goals allowed.

Petersen on the well earned draw at CFC and the upcoming battle against Atlanta FC

This weeks match is also Youth Club Night at John Hunt Soccer Stadium. All kids who show up for the 7:30 PM kick off wearing their youth team uniform will get in free of charge.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

USA Through To The Finals

The US National Team beat the #1 ranked team in the world today on goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. By beating Spain 2:0, the US ended a Spain's record of 15 straight wins, 32 games unbeaten and were the first team in the tournament to score on them.

There is a bittersweet taste left in the mouth of the US team, however. Michael Bradley was shown a straight red for what looked to be a fair challenge. Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda couldn't keep it in his pocket (Note that he was also the ref in the infamous draw against Italy in the 2006 World Cup). Bradley will be hard to replace in the final.

They'll now play the winner of the South Africa-Brazil semifinal shown on ESPN on Sunday at 1:30 Central time.

RCU and NPSL Tidbits

RCU falls hard to PDL's Mississippi Brilla, 2:7

Fielding a team made up of reserve squad players sprinkled in with some first team players who need minutes, RCU goals in the 15th and 89th minutest bookended seven Brilla goals in a non-league match against USL-PDL's Mississippi team. RCU coach Greg Petersen rested most of the starters for this weekend's big NPSL Southeast Region match against Atlanta FC.

RCU goes Tweety

RCU have launched a Twitter (is that the right way to say that?). You can now get the latest news and in-game updates by following RCU on Twitter. Check it out here.

NPSL Insider covers RCU Community Outreach

The NPSL Insider blog has a nice little article about the efforts RCU has made to provide the Valley with all sorts of community help. Check it out here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Road Trip Rewind

My wife was kind enough to give me a night out to get my live soccer fix for Father's Day. So, my buddy John and I traveled up to Chattanooga to take in what would be an exciting and controversial match between Rocket City United and Chattanooga FC. Game reports here, here, and here.

Here are a few behind the scenes photos from our road trip:

We stopped by Big River Brewery for a few cold ones. I had a nice IPA and a terrific hummus and goat cheese salad.

View of the Aquarium and the Riverfront from the parking garage. Very cool little area. I'll have to take the family up here in the future.

The team huddles before the match. On field temperatures where over 100 degrees and they were wearing all black!!!

View from the stands in the downtown Finley Stadium which holds over 20,000. A little big for the 2,140 in attendance, but the downtown location is nice. If only it were a natural surface...

I loved the fact that the beer vendor was in the stands. So, you don't miss any action.

The crowd sits in the box seats in front of the press box. We saw tons of Chattanooga FC replica jerseys (the blue ones with the VW logo).

The RCU bench reacts to the action on the field.

I highly recommend that you go up to Chattanooga to take in a game next time RCU plays up there. It's a very professional setup. Despite the heat, we had a great time.

HOLY MOLY!!! USA Pulls it out!!!

An nearly unbelievable course of events sees the USA through to the Confederations Cup semifinals where they'll take on Spain on Wednesday. A 3:0 victory over African Champions, Egypt, combined with a 3:0 Brazil victory over Italy sees the USA on to the next phase of the competition due to goals scored. Wow!

RCU Battle To A Draw In Chattanooga

Certainly if one were to ask anyone in the Rocket City United organization at the end of 89 minutes of yesterday's match against Chattanooga FC if they would be happy with a 1:1 draw, they would have replied affirmatively. However, after being awarded a highly questionable penalty kick in the 3rd minute of second half stoppage time, RCU had the chance to steal all three points. RCU were left thinking of what could have been when ChatFC goalkeeper Richard Masters guessed correctly and denied Freddy Okello's penalty attempt on the last kick of the match.

Okello on his run up to take the PK in the game's final moments

RCU (3-2-1) continues to sit atop the NPSL Southeast Region alone with 10 points from 6 matches. Perhaps more importantly, RCU controls its own destiny in its quest to win the Southeast Region title. Two wins in its remaining league matches will see them on their way to the NPSL playoffs and a chance to play in the NPSL Final Four in Madison, Wisconsin.

The record crowd of 2,140 saw a battle on the field where the gametime temperatures were as hot as the tempers of the players who saw inconsistent refereeing mar the contest. In the 22nd minute, Jason Sabio, who recently returned from international duty in the Phillipines, sent a searching ball that found Okello in stride. Okello niftily backheeled a square ball that fed Rafa Barbosa into the area. Barbosa's well placed shot found home and RCU led 1:0. The goal was a mirror image of the Barbosa to Okello backheel pass that saw Okello on his way to his first goal of his hat trick against Pumas FC a week earlier.

ChatFC (2-2-1) responded with fervor sending two shots off the woodwork before Irvin Espinal one-timed a Mark Beattie cross off Tyler Early's outstretched mitt and into the RCU goal in the 41st minute. ChatFC dominated the second half only to have the looming target man Omar Cooke squander multiple opportunities.

Despite the obvious physical play of both sides, it was RCU center back Joseph Omondi who was sent of in the 67th minute for a second bookable offense. Shortly thereafter, RCU Technical Director Greg Petersen was sent off for dissent.

With the man advantage, ChatFC pressed for the go ahead goal, but good goalkeeping by Tyler Early combined with poor finishing conspired to keep the game even at a goal a piece. In an attempt to sure up the defense, Derek Pirtle entered for Rafa Barbosa in the game's waning moments. Deep into stoppage time, Norbert Webley delivered a free kick into the ChatFC penalty area. The referee, who had let all manner of physical shennanigans continue throughout the match, whistled what both sides concede was a trifling call. With Barbosa, their normal PK taker having just been removed, Okello stepped up to take the kick from the mark. Perhaps the soccer gods recognized that there was something rotten in the call, as Masters dove left to stone the attempt and the match ended in a 1:1 draw.

Note: After the match concluded, an unidentified Chattanooga FC official physically confronted RCU midfielder Paul Willoughby. It is not known if there will be disciplinary repercussions from the league.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Is There a Wii Version Of This???

This little vid was created by El Conductor, a fervent supporter of Chattanooga FC. It shows a Fifa '07 version of Chat FC playing Rocket City United. Excellent work, although I think his some of his player settings may have been a bit skewed. :)

Pretty good likenesses of the players and the the kits. Let's hope the game doesn't look too much like this, though.

Road Trip!!!

Rocket City United travels up to Chattanooga tomorrow night at 7PM to take on Chat FC. RCU will have the first look at the cauldron that is downtown Chattanooga's Finley Stadium. ChatFC has consistently had crowds of 1,500 at each of its home games. So, it should be fun for the players to play in front of a large boisterous crowd.

RCU shut out ChatFC in their first meeting 2:0 at John Hunt Soccer Stadium and will look to stay atop the NPSL Southeast Region table. ChatFC is flying high after two straight shutout victories including a 1:0 win on the road against Atlanta FC. It should be an exciting contest.

I'll be getting in the Perfectly Weighted Through Blog-mobile for the drive up to Chattanooga. If you're going up there, remember to leave an hour earlier, because Chattanooga is in the Eastern Time Zone. You don't want to show up at halftime. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Interviews from the Pumas FC match

In this pregame clip, I spoke with Michael Biggs about the game with Pumas and some of RCUs new signings.

Here is a halftime clip with RCU's top scorer Rafa Barbosa as he talks about his 1st half goal.

Freddy Okello was kind enough to speak with me after scoring a 2nd half hat trick.

Coach Greg Petersen and I discuss the victory over Pumas FC.

Be sure to catch the replay of the match this week. Broadcast info can be found here.

Alabama Classic Rewind

Here's the clip of the Rocket City United goals and saves from RCU's 4:1 victory over Pumas FC.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't Hate

There's been a lot of buzz about the American born and raised Giuseppi Rossi who scored two goals to help Italy defeat the US National Team in the first match of the Confederations Cup on Monday.

Rossi scores the second and fourth goal of the game

Despite spending the first 13 years of his life in America, he has decided to play for the country of his mother and father. Some folks have called him a traitor, Judas, and even worse. When I think about it however, I can't blame him in the least.

This is a kid who wanted to be a professional soccer player from the time he learned to walk. So, when Parma offered him a spot in their academy, he accepted and moved to Italy with his family. Do you think he would have had the same soccer education in the US? No. Europe is where you go to test yourself at the highest level. He lived in Italy for 5 years and his parents are Italian. It makes total sense for the kid to want to play for Italy. That's his heritage. It has since worked out for the kid.

Rossi discusses playing for ManU and his move to Europe

So, don't hate. It's not good for the soul.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Alabama Classic: RCU thumps Pumas FC

Three second half goals by super sub, Freddy Okello, insured that Rocket City United would defeat their I-65 rival Pumas FC of Birmingham 4:1 in the second Alabama Classic match of the season. Perhaps more importantly, the victory sees RCU (3-0-2, 9 points) as the lone team at the top of the NPSL Southeast Region table.

The teams prepare to take the field in the Alabama Classic

RCU got off to a quick start. In the 7th minute, Birmingham native Michael Biggs rode off several challenges to send a ball into the area for Rafa Barbosa who struck the shot soundly to beat Pumas goalkeeper DelosSantos. Barbosa would turn provider in the second half.

After taking the field for Jesus Delgado shortly before halftime, Okello recieved a nice pass from Paul Willoughby and coolly finished from 15 yards. Not long after, it was Barbosa who set up Okello. Freddy's shot beat DelosSanos but bounded off of the left upright. However, Okello was the first to react as he charged through to tap the rebound into the empty net. Okello completed his hat trick by toe-poking another sweet feed from Barbosa past DelosSantos.

Pumas was not to be shut out as they pressured Tyler Early's goal in the final twenty minutes. After a goal mouth scrum, Paolo Vasquez was on hand to lift a shot over Early's shoulder. However, that would be all that Pumas FC could muster, and RCU took the season series with a victory at home to match the 5:2 May 9th victory in Birmingham.

A full match report can be found here.

RCU Reserves (in black) work to get a shot on the Pumas goal

Prior to the first team match, the RCU reserves fell to the Pumas reserves 0:3. Jeffrey Preston was the hero of that match which could have been much worse if not for the many acrobatic saves from Preston.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Alabama Classic: RCU v Pumas Tomorrow Night

This Saturday's Alabama Classic (derby for you anglophiles, classico for you latinophiles) between Rocket City United (6 points from 4 games) and Pumas FC (6 points from 3 games) of Birmingham is a must win for both teams. RCU picked up their first victory of the season 5:2 in the away fixture of this match-up with a solid second half performance that saw RCU roar out to a five goal lead before Pumas netted two consolation goals. Coach Greg Petersen does not expect this game to follow that script as both teams are much improved since that evening in early May.

Petersen discuss the loss to Atlanta and the upcoming Alabama Classic

RCU is coming off a disappointing 0:2 road defeat to Atlanta FC where injuries and other personnel issues didn't help matters. Team Manager Chris Shaffer described the road trip as a "long day in hell" where nothing worked out for the boys in red, white, and black. RCU will look to sure up their defense with the return of central back, Norbert Webley, who was nursing a hamstring injury picked up early in the Chattanooga FC match.

Shaffer discusses the Alabamba Classic and describes what went wrong in Atlanta

Pumas has added a few dangerous players who have helped them to join the four-way crowd at the top of the Southeast Region table. During that time, Pumas is leading the NPSL Southeast Division in scoring, averaging 4 goals a game. After trailing 2:1 at the half against Saturn FC, Pumas struck 6 times in a victory that Saturn FC described as "worst humiliation ever in Saturn history".

The kickoff for tomorrow night's match and all remaining RCU home matches has been moved back to 7:30PM to accomodate the spectators who would be staring directly into the setting sun while sitting in the John Hunt Soccer Stadium's West Stand.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey Ladies! (Get FUN-ky!)

Rocket City United just got a little more "Brown Chicken, Brown Cow" with a Ladies Night promotion of this Saturday's home match against Pumas. All ladies in the house get half-off tix.

And it's for a good cause. Proceeds will go to the Hope Place, a shelter for domestic abuse victims.

After the game, RCU will host a Club Members party at 801 Franklin with free beer (yes, it said free beer!) from team sponsor and Huntsville's own Olde Towne Brewing Co. The party is free to Club Members and Season Ticket holders. RCU Club Membership is $45 for the season or $10 for a single game Club Membership.

It's Ladies Night and the feelings right....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

MARS Soccer League Crowns Champion

A fifth minute goal by fleet footed winger Matt Peaslee was all that the Cosmos needed as they shut out the Red Shift 3:0 in the MARS Soccer League Final tonight at the Redstone Arsenal Soccer Field on Patton Road. Two insurance goals by Justin Waldon in the final five minutes put the nail in the coffin over the outmanned Red Shift who were missing key players and had only a single person on the substitutes bench .
Brian Sanders sends in a corner as MARS Soccer President Andy Heaton looks on

Both teams got early chances but it was the Cosmos who found net, as Victor Collazo-Perez swung in a cross that fell to Peaslee's favored right foot. Peaslee lined up the shot and drilled it into the near post past Hajin Kim in the Red Shift goal.

Devon Sanders nearly scores for Cosmos

Red Shift almost equalized a few minutes later, when Ricardo Simmonds was put through alone with Cosmos keeper Ken Morrison to beat. Simmonds found himself in two minds however, and Morrison came up with the big save to deny the opportunity.

Patrick Coleman wins a header for Red Shift

Cosmos continued to press the attack. Their shots found woodwork and side netting, but the second goal remained elusive. A perfectly weighted though ball from Devon Sanders found goal scorer Peaslee in stride but his sliced right footed effort spun just wide of the far post. Soon after, the halftime whistle was blown.

Matt Peaslee narrowly misses the target after a nice through ball from Devon Sanders

Red Shift came out for the second stanza rejuvenated. Forward Paul Lawson nearly struck when after slaloming the Cosmos defense, he sent a powerful drive that Ken Morrison could only parry to the ground. No Red Shift players were on hand to convert the loose ball, and the opportunity was swept away by the Cosmos defenders. Soon after, Boris Simmonds also had a good look from about 20 meters that sailed wide of the mark.

Red Shift's Boris Simmonds settles nicely and launches a shot just wide

The game then bogged down into a midfield battle, but Victor Collazo-Perez created some "Oohs and ahhs" with a nifty lob over goalkeeper Kim who had strayed from his line. The Red Shift defense was alert, however and cleared it out of danger.

As time wound down in the tight game, Red Shift sent players forward in droves and it almost paid off when Ben Donahue nearly hit the target from an acute angle. However, it wasn't to be as the lack of substitutes showed in costly mistakes. An errant back pass was intercepted by Waldon who calmly slotted home to double the score. Just seconds after, it was Waldon again making it 3:0. This time he tucked away a spilled ball off a shot from Sanders, and Cosmos had the title in hand.

MARS Champions: Cosmos

Don't Expect Much From Confederations Cup

Now that the US has avoided complete catastrophe in World Cup Qualifying (at least until they lose in Mexico in August), we can focus on the near impossible group in the FIFA Confederation Cup. I usually don't do predictions, but I see this playing out like our World Cup 2006 group.

The US starts off at 1:30PM on Monday afternoon on ESPN against Italy (#4 in the FIFA rankings). I fully expect a loss here. Italy will remember the classic night in Kaiserslautern and come out hard, not wanting to repeat it.

They then get a few days to lick their wounds and follow up with a 9AM Thursday morning matinee on ESPN2 against Brazil (#5 FIFA ranked). Believe it or not, I can see the US getting a point here through sure scrappiness and Brazilian overconfidence.

So, assuming they somehow get a point out of one of those matches, they'll go into their final match of the round on Sunday at 1:30PM on ESPN2 needing a victory over a dangerous Egyptian (40th in FIFA) team. Just as in WC06, they'll give up a silly goal (or two) and not be able to get the result. Three and out in CC09. Hopefully, this will give the boys a sour taste that they will not want to experience again in one year's time.

And maybe this time around, the US will have the soccer Gods on their side when the WC10 draw doesn't land them in another Group of Death. So, hopefully the failure in the CC09 will lead to group success in WC10.

BTW, all the matches will be in HD!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rocket City United Blanked On The Road

RCU fell 0:2 to Atlanta FC on the road. The loss creates a log jam at the top of the Southeast Division with 4 teams sitting on 6 points. Detailed game report can be found below:

Undermanned RCU Drop Away Game 2-0 to Atlanta FC

Saturday, June 6, 2009

RCU Looks For Revenge Against Atlanta FC Tonight

It was an agonizing defeat. The third game in three days in ninety-nine percent humidity and soaring temperatures. With several injuries depleting the squad, Rocket City United needed a two goal victory over Atlanta FC to take the US Open Cup birth outright. They got the first goal on a 25 yard blast off the foot of Rafa Barbosa and were pressing for the second when tired legs started to show. In a ten minute sequence, Atlanta FC stole two goals and the right to face the professional USL side Charleston Battery in the first knockout round of the US Open Cup.

Tonight, RCU would love to avenge that loss in league play. RCU will look to extend their first place lead in NPSL Southeast Region with a result on the road at the Hoskin Stadium in Sandy Springs, GA. Coach Greg Petersen should have the services of speedy winger Kempess Villafana after an extended rehab on a pulled hamstring.

Atlanta FC sits in third place and will look to close the gap the leaders in an effort to defend its NPSL Southeast Region title. AFC coach Ricardo Montoya will have to balance his teams efforts tonight with keeping an eye toward Tuesday's big US Open Cup game in Charleston. Kickoff is at 6PM Central.

RCU interviews from last Saturday

Halftime interview with RCU winger Paul Willoughby

Post game thoughts from Greg Petersen

Co-Man of the Match Norbert Webley on the performance against Chat FC and his new central defender position

RCU v Chat FC gallery

Here's a few photos of last Saturday's victory over Chat FC at John Hunt Soccer Stadium in Huntsville.

Norbert Webley stands his mark up.

Kirk Childers closes down his mark.

Joseph Omondi soars for a header.

The full gallery can be found here, courtesy of Chattanooga FC's Facebook page.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ugh, So Let's Forget About That, Shall We

US National Team needs to channel Leonard from the film "Memento"

The sign of a great striker is a short memory. Miss a sitter from 2 inches out that your invalid grandmother could convert... No matter, put it out of your mind and convert the next chance. I wonder if that's the sign of a great team, too. The USMNT laid an egg last night. Now is the time to have a short memory, because with only two full days between last night and Saturday's match against Honduras, they need to forget it, fast.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kitty Needs Your Help

Eight-year-old Catherine "Kitty" Jordan has been a soccer player since she was four. A fast and tenacious player on both offense and defense, she played at St. John’s Catholic School and participated in the Challenger Sports British Soccer camp in Madison, AL.

Catherine Jordan, aka "Kitty"

During this spring’s indoor season, the family noticed something wasn’t right when Catherine was often breathless after only a short sprint across the soccer field. Her words to a friend, “My energy is just not working.” At a weekend Girl Scout campout, Catherine grew so tired while hiking, she couldn’t make it back to the cabin on her own.

The family feared it might be anemia, a virus, or possibly asthma. However blood work confirmed a deeper horror: Leukemia. Her parents took Catherine to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama on April 6, 2009. The next few days produced a frightening diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) that would require intense chemotherapy and the need for a bone marrow transplant sometime later this year.

Complications from her first round of chemotherapy have kept Catherine from coming home between rounds; part of one of her lungs was removed. Mom lives at the hospital while Dad and brother, Patrick, travel back and forth from Huntsville to Birmingham on a regular basis. It is a difficult and painful process for any child and family to endure.

Catherine was blessed with a beautiful and strong spirit. In spite of the complications and hardships, she continues to live with the wonderful spirit that draws people close to her. Kitty, as she likes to be called, believes in her “girl power” and dreams of getting better, going home to her family, seeing her friends, and, of course, playing soccer.

To raise funds for Tennessee Valley families whose children are being treated for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, 10% of the ticket sales of the RCU vs Atlanta FC soccer game on June 27th will be donated to Kitty’s Miracle Fund and an additional $50 per goal scored by RCU will also be donated.

In September 2009, they will host our first-annual “Kickin’ for Kitty” charity soccer tournament. If you are interested in supporting this event, or if you are affiliated with a team that would like to participate, please visit our website, http://www.kittysmiraclefund.org, for more details.

US v Costa Rica World Cup Qualifier TONIGHT!!!

HUGE GAME! Tonight the USMNT will take a very tough Costa Rica squad on a difficult artificial turf in Saprissa Stadium. Here's last night's US press conference to get you in the mood.

One major programming note!!! The game broadcast has been moved from ESPN to ESPN2 and coverage will start at 8:30 PM.

RCU vs Chat FC Highlights

Here's the goals and Tyler Early's best saves from Saturday's RCU victory.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Concerned Soccer Lovers

American soccer lovers are a fretful bunch. It seems they are always defending the sport they love from attacks from ignorant fans of "real" sports and even those soccer lovers who look down on soccer in the USA as unrefined, the so-called "euro-snobs". This constant looking over their shoulder sometimes makes them a bit paranoid when it comes to the next big enemy of the game. Here are two articles that find that enemy in unexpected places.

HASL Declares Champions

Newly Crowned HASL Division II Champion, ManChest Hair United
Great Name and Shield

Last Friday saw the final matches of the HASL Spring 2009 season. Congrats to all of the division champions.

• Premiership : Foot Clan
• Division I : Shurke
• Division II: ManChestHair United
• Division III: Ta Sety Warriors

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rocket City United on TV

So, if you were not part of the 625 fans who packed John Hunt Soccer Stadium on Saturday night, you can still catch the game on TV. Here's how:


In Huntsville, tune into Huntsville1, the city's information channel. Starting later this week (probably Wednesday), the games will be broadcast twice daily from in the evenings 4-6PM and in the mornings from 4-6AM. Blake from Huntsville1 is also trying to get prime-time slot for the game and will update us as he works the schedule out. Huntsville1 airs on channel 16 for Comcast subscribers and on channel 42 for Knology subscribers.

In Decatur, tune into WYAM TV 51, the station with vision. The games will be broadcast on Friday night at 7Pm and rebroadcast on Sunday afternoon at 4PM. WYAM airs on channel 20 for Charter subscribers and on channel 56 for PCL subscribers, and broadcast "over the air" on channel 51.