Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This and That

Champions League on FOX through 2015

FOX has extended its contract with UEFA to broadcast the UEFA Champions League.  FOX Sports will show matches through FSC, FSP, and the regional FOX Sports stations.  The CL Final will continue to be broadcast in HD on the main FOX network, including the local FOX54, for the next 4 years.

NAIA Women's Tournament

Two Saturday's ago, I called the play-by-play for the 2010 NAIA Women's Championship Final.  Lee University took home their third straight national title in a 3:0 victory over Cinderella story Hastings College to end another exciting tournament.   I'd like to thank the hardworking folks at the Decatur Parks and Rec. department and Jack Allen Soccer Complex, Amanda Dahl from the NAIA's media relations, and my buddy Juergen Beck from Freedom Light Productions, who runs a mean camera while catching all the action and braving the weather. 

Oh Yeah, This Happened

If you've followed this blog for a while, you already know that I believe FIFA's only reason for existing is to line the pockets of the bigwigs in charge.  On December 2nd, they erased all doubts of their corruption by naming Russia and Qatar as the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.  Don't believe me?  Below is the BBC's Panorama program that ran on the eve of the bid award, and casts a critical eye at the behavior of many FIFA Excutive Committee members who cast the votes to send the World Cup to Russia and Qatar.

Monday, November 29, 2010

U-20 USA v Mexico

USA v Mexico U-20s line up before the match
The United States U-20 team took on regional rival Mexico in the Torneo de las Americas tournament, yesterday.  In a chippy game that typifies all USA v Mexico matches, the teams drew 1:1, but the rules of the tournament dictated PKs, which Mexico won 4:2. 
Kennesaw State Soccer Stadium
I was excited to go see this game for a few reasons.  First, the game was played in one of the newest soccer specific stadiums in the US at Kennesaw State University outside of Atlanta.  I've been to many of the south's stadiums and this one, which also serves as the home stadium of the WPS' Atlanta Beat, is one of the nicest.  It seats about 5,000 and and has a nice polished feel to it.  It leaves you with the impression that a professional outfit plays here, and is not just a pile of bleachers with a new coat of paint.

The stands are close to the natural turf field, and there are no benches; everyone gets an actual seat.  Several suites run along the west side of the field, and there's a cool, tiered lounge-type area for eating and imbibing while not missing the action.   BTW, even though the stadium is was built as a partnership with KSU, it does not sit on University property and can server beer.  Bonus!
Future USA World Cup stars?
Another reason for excitement was the chance to see the next stars of North American soccer play up close.  Jaun Agudelo, the 18 year old who just a week prior to this tournament scored in his debut for the senior US team, was a force in the match and made the life of the Mexican left back difficult for the entire 90 minutes.  But still,  I had to keep reminding myself that despite their physical maturity and great skills, these players on the filed in front of me are teenagers.  For every graceful maneuver and breathtaking run was a ball played to no one, or a forced ramble that lead to a turnover.   A few more years of seasoning will serve these youngsters well.

Friday, November 26, 2010

U-20 Friendlies, NAIA in AL, and New NPSL Team in Atlanta?

U-20 Friendlies

 There will be lots of high quality soccer in the south this week beginning with the Torneo de las Americas outside of Atlanta featuring the U-20 teams from the United States, Columbia and Mexico.  The tournament culminates with a meeting of neighboring rivals USA and Mexico on Sunday afternoon at the new soccer stadium in Kennesaw, GA.  But the games won't end there as Mexico and Columbia will travel up to Chattanooga to face each other next Tuesday night.   If you're not able to make it to Sunday's match in Kennesaw, here's your chance to catch some of the next World Cup's stars less than a two hour drive from Huntsville.

NAIA Championships in Alabama

I've already told you that the NAIA Women's Championship will be held in our backyard, but the 2010 NAIA Men's Soccer Championship will also be held in Alabama.  Orange Beach will host the final 16 teams in a knockout style tournament.
 As for the Women's tournament, Decatur's Jack Allen Soccer Stadium will feature four games daily at 10 AM, 1, 4 and 7 PM on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  The four teams that make it through will meet in the semifinals at 1 and 3 PM on Friday.  The championship will be held on Saturday night.  Come out to Jack Allen or follow the action here.  I hope to see you out there as I'll be calling several of the games including the semifinals and finals.

New NPSL Team in Atlanta?

Atlanta FC no more?

The latest rumor has it that Atlanta FC will be replaced in the NPSL Southeast Region by a team called Diablos Atlanta.  It appears the club will be led by former Mexican International Jose Manuel Abundis.  Plans are for the Diablos to play it's home matches in ReMax Stadium.  The stadium is also the home of the Atlanta Silverbacks who are to play their first season in the new NASL next year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catching Up

As you can tell, I've been taking a break from the blog.  Running the PWT-blog is a voluntary effort on my part and after the NPSL Championships last August, I was burned out.  So, in an effort to prevent future bouts with burn out, don't expect the frequency of future post to quite meet past levels.

So, what has happened in the Huntsville soccer scene since my last post?

Alabama A&M's men's team played their final match, an 0:8 nationally televised loss to the University of Memphis to finish 0-0-11.  A sad ending to a once great program.

 Rocket City United parted with its third coach in its four year existence.  Desmond Armstrong will not remain in the club, but will remain a feature in the area by opening Desmond Armstrong's Soccer Village in Greenbrier.   RCU will looked to better 2010's third place finish in the NPSL Southeast Region.  To help in this effort, RCU has hired Jan Henner to be it's Operations Manager.  Henner was previously on the staff at Bundesliga side 1899 Hoffenheim, and will run the RCU Academy.  As for the top position, it appears the leading candidate for head coach at RCU is Martin Methodist College Women's coach Gerry Cleary.  Next year's team will begin taking shape this Saturday, when RCU holds tryouts at Pt. Mallard Park in Decatur.   

Speaking of Martin Methodist, they will serve as the virtual home team during the 2010 NAIA Women's Soccer Championships held in Decatur next week.  I'll be calling several of the games from the Jack Allen Soccer Stadium including the final next Saturday at 5PM.  You can watch the live webcast of all the matches.

A women's league will begin this spring in affiliation with HASL.  The league format will most likely be four teams playing 6 to a side.  For more information, contact Suzy Pelmar.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

UAH Score But Still Lose At Montevallo

At first glance the scoreline of yesterday's 3:2 loss to the University of Montevallo would tell you that UAH has finally broken through their scoring funk, but the circumstance of the UAH goals indicate that assumption is not necessarily true.  As UAH were outshot 24-6 (10-4 on goal) by the 13th ranked Falcons, the Chargers are clearly still searching for answers in the attacking third.

Montevallo's Stephen Beatty opened the game with poacher's goal, cleaning up a rebound from a Tyler Early save.  UAH then ended its goal drought from an unexpected source.  A Falcon defender sent a looping backpass over his keeper's head and into the net for an own goal, UAH's first goal of the season after 279 scoreless minutes.

Five minutes after the halftime break, the Charger's took their first lead of the season when sophomore forward Tony Stock converted from the penalty spot.  Eight minutes later, Beatty scored his second of the match to level the score.  The score remained locked at twos until the second overtime when Vance Curro pounced on a bounding ball in the penalty area and stroked home the winner.  It is the second straight double overtime loss for UAH in what has become a frustrating early season run.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Munro Named 2010 MVP for RCU

Rocket City United has announced that Alexi Munro has been named the team's Most Valuable Player.  Munro recorded two goals and one assist in helping his team to a 3-3-2 record and third place in the NPSL Southeast Region.

2010 RCU MVP Alexi Munro

Munro, a South African native, is hoping to earn a contract with a Premier Soccer League (South Africa's first division) team, and had nothing but good things to say about his times with RCU when I spoke to him after the season.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

College Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend brought more of the same from the local outfits.

A&M Swept Aside in Two Blow-outs

It was anything but classic for Alabama A&M team that has been a shadow of their former selves at the Evansville Classic tournament this past weekend.  The Bulldogs fell at the feet of University of Evansville 9:0 on Friday night.  In the second match yesterday afternoon, Abraham Kassaye provided the only bright spot with a 25 yard blast to keep A&M from the shutout in a 7:1 drubbing against Bradley University.

UAH Falls To Union 1:0 in OT on Own Goal

After a 251 minute drought, UAH had finally scored a goal as Tomoaki Matsuo rose to meet a well driven Jarred Muggleton free kick.  Matsuo nodded a looping header back across the goal and over the heavy footed Union University goalkeeper, but as the Chargers exclaimed with relief to cheer the long awaited goal, the celebrations were muted by the AR's flag snapping to attention.  No goal.  Offside.

In a match that was dominated by strong defending, neither the Chargers or Union was able to create many chances.  Union preferred spraying shots from distance while UAH attempted to attack without much midfield support.  Despite this, UAH had the better looks at goal.  In addition to the previously mentioned nullified goal from Matsuo, the Charger's lanky forward Tony Stock came closest to breaking the deadlock when he strode into the penalty area and lashed a vicious stroke that left the Union keeper hoping for intervention.  That intervention came in the way of the right post and the regulation time ended scoreless.

As the sun began setting the first overtime period passed without note and only 1:27 into the second a harmless cross passed across the UAH goalmouth.  Inexplicably, UAH defender Dylan Peppia dropped to the ground and attempted to head the ball clear, but only managed to direct it into his own net.  The mistake from the freshman ended the match in a decidedly frustrating fashion, another 1:0 loss for the Chargers.

The scoreless streak?  It's now 282 minutes without a goal.

Wallace State Cruises to Another 3:0 Win

To keep this post from becoming all "doom and gloom", I'd like to report that Wallace State Community College in Hanceville is having a stellar season.  WSCC defeated Hinds CC 3:0 behind two goals from Luis Helguera and solid goalkeeping from Huntsville's own Drew Hannan.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Trials of the Professional Referee

I'm a referee supporter.  These are guys who get no respect and are only noticed when they make mistakes.  It boggles my mind why someone would put themselves in the "line of fire" of the criticism that is hurled their way.  This criticism is often gloriously ignorant.  That is... Unless the criticism isn't wrongly placed. 

Remember the Hand of Gaul goal last fall?  In the video below, Martin Hansson, the Swedish referee who missed the blatant handling by Thierry Henry that sent France through to the World Cup, is followed by a film crew as he prepares to qualify for the World Cup.  Although subsequent evidence appeared that vindicated that Hansson could not have seen the infraction, Hansson faced criticism from the entire footballing world and a multitude of death threats. 

The video is about 30 minutes long, but it's well worth your time.  It's a fascinating look at what makes a high level ref tick and the multitude of pressures he feels.

Some good may have come from the awful mistake, however.  Along with several controversial calls in the World Cup, FIFA has finally recognized that something may have to change.  Debate about goal line technology and replays has been at an all-time high.  UEFA has even added two extra goal-line referees to have more eyes on the action.  Let's hope the authorities continue to provide help the the men in the middle.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

College Round-up

Huntsville Teams Both Start Season With Losses

Both Alabama A&M and UAH have gotten off to a rough start with two losses in their first two games.

A&M's final season started off in an inauspicious manner as the Bulldogs gave up 13 goals in a weekend tournament in Las Vegas, losing to UC-Riverside 5:0 and tournament host UNLV 8:1.  Abraham Kassaye tallied the team's only goal.

UAH seem to have a tough time scoring goals, as the Chargers fell on the road to Lincoln Memorial University 1:0.  The home opener yesterday was not much better when UAH was dropped 3:0 by Clayton State University.  In both games, UAH registered only a single shot on goal.

Ugh, it could be a long year for the local college teams.

Huntsville's PT Huang's Virgina Tech To Feature On FSC

Former Grissom High player and current VaTech redshirt freshman PT Haung may make his national television debut Friday night at 7PM during the NSCAA's Game of the Week on Fox Soccer Channel.  The game will feature the Hokies (0w-0d-2l) and South Florida (1w-2d-1l).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Huntsville Women's Soccer Picking Up Steam

Ladies, lace up your boots.  There has been a groundswell of interest in organizing women's soccer in Huntsville over the past year or so.   Now, you have a place of your own to play. 

Directions to Kiwanis Soccer Field from I-565:  Exit on to Jordan Lane (Exit # 17A). Take a right on Jordan Lane, Take a right at the second stop light on to Bob Wallace Avenue. Turn left at the first drive. There is a sign for the Botanical Gardens "Mulch Pile". Follow the drive up and to the left for the field.

Starting next week (September 9th) there will be a weekly women's pick-up game open to adult ladies at the Kiwanis Soccer Field on the corner of Bob Wallace and Jordan Lane from 6 to 8PM.  The hope is that enough interest will be generated to start a Women's league next spring.  

For more information, contact Suzy Permar at spermar11[at]gmail[dot]com.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 Season To Be The Last For Alabama A&M Men's Program

Of course, while I'm taking a break from the blog, one of the biggest stories of the year breaks.

Yesterday, the Alabama A&M athletic department announced the elimination of the Men's Soccer program after the 2010 seasonCiting budgetary cuts, Athletic Director Betty Austin decided to end one of the most successful programs in the school's history.   A winner of two national championships under the stewardship of head coach Sallah Yousif, the program compiled over 200 wins in 21 years. 

Phone calls and emails to the A&M Athletic Department have not been returned at the time of this post.

This is a truly sad day in Huntsville soccer and the community as a whole.  The program has not only recruited great soccer players to the area but valuable members of the community, who after their playing days were over continued to contribute to the value of the area. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HD Soccer on DirecTV!

I'm in the midst of taking a break from the blog for a few weeks, but I had to let you all know that if you have DirecTV, you now have all your HD soccer needs fulfilledFox Soccer Channel will go HD today.  GolTV went HD last Wednesday.   Yippee!  No word yet on if or when the other carriers around the area will pick up the HD channels. 

Also, if you have DirecTV, you'll see every Champions League and Europa League match and exclusive La Liga matches (the ones without Barca and Real). 

It's obvious that if you are a soccer fan, DirecTV is the carrier that you must have.  Now, if only the Fox people would stop with the ridiculous fees for Fox Soccer Plus. 

Anyway, it's time to call DirecTV, and mention that you heard it from me, so I can get the credits!  :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

NPSL Final Interviews

I was having some technical difficulties with my video camera yesterday, but now I've gotten them straightened out.  Here's a few interviews from Saturday night's NPSL Finals.

NPSL Commissioner Dan Trainer present the 2010 NPSL Championship Trophy to the Sacramento Gold.

Sacramento Gold Coach Rick Caldwell discusses the win.

Chattanooga FC Coach Brian Crossman discusses his teams efforts in the Final.

Sacramento midfielder and Man of the Match Ernesto Carranza gives us an interview and gets a shaving cream pie for his efforts.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sacramento Gold FC Claims 2010 NPSL Championship

Behind two goals from Ernesto Carranza, the Sacramento Gold FC defeated Chattanooga FC in the championship match of the 2010 edition of the NPSL Final Four.  Over 1,000 fans saw Chattanooga take an early lead when in the 12th minute Fynn Glover, who is more known for his timely tackling, struck a low drive from 22 yards that beat Conor McNulty in goal for Sacramento.

Just as they did in the semifinal match, Sacramento's attack was spurred to life after conceding the first goal.  This time, it took nearly the entire first half to break down the CFC defense, but when they did, they struck twice in quick succession.  In the 41st minute, a long penetrating pass was knocked down by CFC defender Andrew Stewart, but only as far as Carranza, who smashed a wicked volley from 25 yards that left Richard Masters in the CFC goal no chance.

A minute later, Sacramento followed up the golaso with a well taken corner from Eliot Chambers who found center back Utodi Madu.  Madu made no mistake when his header found the underside of the crossbar and bounded into the net.  The first half action wasn't over, however.  Shortly before the halftime whistle, a foul in front of the CFC bench left CFC midfielder Drew Courtney and Sacramento midfielder Hector Bermudez tangled up in a heap.  As the two player extracted themselves from each other tempers flared and Bermudez struck out with a kick to Courtney, resulting in a caution for Courtney and an ejection for Bermudez.

Down to ten men, Sacramento could have been content to sit back and defend, but instead decided to continue to attack throughout the second half.  The only change during the interval was Sacramento's Max Herera replacing McNulty in goal.  On the other end, Richard Masters was forced to make several interventions on his teams behalf.

Masters heroics seemed to help CFC gain confidence, and it looked as if the tide had turned in CFC's favor when in the 65th minute, good combination work from substitute Moises Drummond led to a strong run from Irvin Espinal.  Espinal played a nice ball to Luis Salazar whose return pass for Espinal was played into the penalty area, but Espinal would not get to the ball as his progress was impeded by a Sacramento defender and the penalty was awarded.

Espinal's game leveling penalty attempt was denied however by Herera who had confidently lunged to his left to parry the ball away.  CFC continued to apply pressure, but it was be Sacramento who ended the doubt in the 86th minute when Manolo Pina found Caranza in the penalty area.  Caranza cut the ball back to create space for a right footed shot that slid under Master's reach for the 3:1 scoreline and the championship trophy for the Sacramento Gold FC.
The Sacramento Gold FC celebrate the 2010 NPSL Championship

Saturday, July 31, 2010

US Soccer Stars Turn Out For The NPSL All-Star Game

Rocket City United's Desmond Armstrong was not the only US soccer celebrity in the Madison City Schools Stadium Friday night.  Several US soccer stars were in attendance for the NPSL All-star game featuring Rocket City United and the NPSL All-Star squad.

In the stands was 1998 and 2002 USA World Cup player Jeff Agoos who was scouting the match for the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer.  Agoos had 134 caps for the USA and won 5 MLS championship, the most of any player.

Also in attendance was former 1994 USA World Cup player Fernando Clavijo.  Clavijo was representing Traffic USA, a player agency based in Miami, FL.  Clavijo earned 61 caps for the USA and has coached MLS clubs the New England Revolution and the Colorado Rapids and the Haitian National Team.

John and I posing with some of our USA heroes.
Left to right, Ryan, Desmond, Fernando, Jeff, and John

NPSL Finals Tonight in Madison, AL

Chattanooga FC will face the Sacramento Gold at 7:30 PM Central at the Madison City Schools Stadium in Madison, AL.

RCU Falls To NPSL All-Stars

RCU Shut-out By All-Stars 2:0

Despite dominating possession for the majority of the match Rocket City United gave up two late goals to the NPSL All-Stars in the team's final appearance of the 2010 season.  RCU looked the better team in first half as forward Andrew Nkurunungi menaced the back four of the All-stars with his speed and strength, but his lack of finishing the plays frustrated RCU coach Desmond Armstrong.  "[Nkurunungi] was very exciting in the first half.  He got himself into some great situations, taking on one and two players at one time and getting into the goal area and then, he doesn't pull the trigger."  That lack of killer instinct in the box would cost RCU on the night.

As would be expect for a team that had less then twenty-four hours to prepare for the match, the NPSL All-stars struggled to connect well.  The talent was evident, but RCU held the advantage until the 70th minute when Armstrong emptied his bench and the RCU reserves made crucial mistakes.  On a free kick from 45 yards out, Spencer Shastri of the Pocono Snow ran through the heart of the area completely unmarked and powered a header easily into the net for the NPSL All-stars to take the lead.  Shortly thereafter another bad giveaway from the RCU defense, led to FC Tulsa's Abed Elkour converting from 15 yards for the games final goal.

Earlier in the night in the NPSL Third place match, FC Sonic defeated the Madison 56ers 3:1 on the back of 3 goals in the first 25 minutes.  Madison was able to pull a goal back in the final seconds, but the team from Lehigh Valley, PA claimed third place.

A Chat with Chattanooga's Sheldon Grizzle

I was able to speak to Chattanooga FC's Sheldon Grizzle about the organization's highly successful year.  He discusses the team's trip up to DC and announces that DC United will be coming down to Chattanooga next year to return the favor.   

After winning the semifinal, the team is expecting several hundred Chattahooligans to make the short drive down US 72 to cheer on the Blues.  It should be a raucous atmosphere at the Madison City Schools Stadium tonight.

Friday, July 30, 2010

2011 NPSL Finals To Be Hosted By Rocket City United

In Thursday's press conference prior to the kick-off the 2010 NPSL Final Four, NPSL Commissioner Dan Trainer announced that Rocket City United had won the bid to host next year's Final Four.

"[Due] to all of the community support [in the Huntsville/Madison area], we are also awarding the 2011 Finals here.  That is the first time that we have done it back to back.  Andy [Zorovich], Rocket City United, and all of the local municipalities have done a great job of welcoming us here and making sure that the facilities are good."

Following the announcement, I was able to ask Dan about the decision to award the 2011 Final Four to Rocket City United and the future of the NPSL in general.

NPSL Commissioner Dan Trainer

UPDATE:  The league is looking to expand into the south-central US states (TX, AK, OK) and re-establish themselves in the southwestern states (southern CA, AZ, NM, NV).  So, to include all of the regional champions, next year's event will no longer be called the NPSL Final Four.  There may be as many as six teams from the various regions taking part in next year's event. 

RCU Faces NPSL All-Stars Tonight and NPSL Video Broadcast Info

Rocket City United has the unenviable task of playing the a team made up of the top players from around the NPSL tonight in the NPSL All-Star match at 8 PM at the Madison City Schools Stadium.  The NPSL All-Stars head coach Matt Driver is very excited about the opportunity for these players to be seen by professional scouts.

FC Buffalo star Dan Stevens isn't too happy with the humidity in Alabama, but is very excited about playing in the All-Star game.

Chicago Fire NPSL goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz is predicting a win for the All-Stars.

Game time for NPSL All-Stars v RCU is 8PM.  The game will follow the NPSL Third Place match featuring the Madison 56ers v FC Sonic at 5:30 PM.  Tonight is Military Appreciation night and several hundred soldiers from Redstone Arsenal will be honored by RCU during the game.


If you can't make it to the stadium, you can watch the action live streamed on the Web on Ustream. 

NPSL Semifinal Recaps

FC Sonic 1:4 Sacramento Gold

After taking a lead in the 72nd minute on a Cody Altinini goal, Northeast Region Champion FC Sonic gave up four goals in the final 18 minutes to fall to the Sacramento Gold FC in the first match of the NPSL semifinals Thursday night. 

The Altinini goal woke up the game that had been a bit listless in the first 70 minutes.  West Region Champion Sacramento pushed into the attack in an effort to equalized and found paydirt when Manolo Pina's cross was mishandled by FC Sonic goalkeeper Sam Bishop.  Bishop's attempt to clear was slapped down off off his own defender AJ Barnhold's leg and into his the net.

Minutes later Sacramento scored two goals that would not be mislabeled as "golasos".  Hector Bermudez created some space at the top of the penalty area and rifled a left-footed curling shot into the far side of the net.   As FC Sonic switched into full attack mode in an attempt to save their season, Sacramento struck again.

This time it was the NPSL's leading goal scorer, Manolo Pina, who made an impressive solo run down the right side of the field.  As he rounded the final defender and charged into the penalty area at a tight angle, Pina showed why he's had such success this season.  Seeing that he had no help, he slapped a low drive with the outside of his right foot that eluded Bishop and nestled into the far post to ice the match.

Sacramento substitute Chris Akwaja added an empty netter deep into injury time for the final scoreline of 4:1.

Chattanooga FC 2:0 Madison 56ers

Southeast Region Champion Chattanooga FC has given up the fewest goals of any team in the NPSL this year and it was their stellar defense that led them to their 2:0 victory over the Midwest Region Champion Madison 56ers in the second NPSL semifinal on Thursday night.

Centerback Thomas Clark provided the difference on both sides of the field as he headed home the game winning goal from a corner kick in the 51st minute.  Clark was making his first start in the place of CFC captain Russell Courtney, who went down to a knee injury in last Saturday's friendly against DC Untied's Super-20 team.

Madison looked dangerous in the midfield, but were only able to break through the CFC defense on a single occasion.  Minutes after CFC's goal, 56er's forward Henry Aiyenero found himself with a free header from 8 yards.  Aiyenero powered his shot toward the corner, only to have it palmed away by Richard Masters in goal for CFC.

Madison continued to pressure the CFC defense but were consistently denied by timely tackles from Clark and fellow center back Andy Stewart.  As Madison threw numbers forward, CFC sealed the match in the 85th minute on a beautifully executed counter attack goal.  Substitute Sasha Viatrov found himself breaking down the left side with fellow substitute Robbie Hill streaking across the field on a 70 yard run from inside his own half.  Viatrov played a brilliant cross that left only Hill with a chance to play the ball, and Hill did not leave any doubt as he redirected the ball back against the grain and into the 56er's net.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NPSL Final Four: FC Sonic Coach, NPSL PR Director, Broadcast Info

Meet FC Sonic's Coach Dave Whitesman

I was able to talk to FC Sonic coach Dave Whitesman at his teams final training session prior to the NPSL Semifinal against Sacramento Gold FC tomorrow night at 5:30 PM at the Madison City Schools Stadium.

NPSL PR Director on NPSL Final Four

Ryan Knapp, the NPSL PR Director, has a nice little post on his personal blog about the NPSL Final Four and the important part leagues like the NPSL have in the US soccer community.

"It is still shocking to me the stigma carried by anything less than MLS in the US.  I’ve seen  plenty of amateur games played in the NPSL and PDL and have been mostly impressed by the quality I’ve seen."

Following the Action:  Your Choices
 John calls last years NPSL Final

If you can't make it out to the Madison City Schools Stadium, you can still follow the games by tuning into the audio webcast or via several twitter feeds.   My broadcast partner, John Moran, and I will be calling the play-by-play on the field that will be streamed live by Teamline.  There's also been a rumor of a video webcast, but a few of the details need to be worked out.  I'll let you know if it will comes to be.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Funny Goal Celebration, GolTV in HD, Chattahooligan NPSL F4 Preview

It was THIS BIG!

I've heard of fishing stories, but that was a pretty good catch.

If GolTV falls in the woods... 

It was announced that GolTV will broadcast this Emirates Cup friendlies in high-def, but unfortunately, no one is currently getting the GolTV in HD, yet.  There have been rumors that DirecTV may add the channel as early as next Wednesday, but that does us no good.

NPSL Final Four Preview, Chattahooligan-style

Chattanooga FC's supporters group, the Chattahooligans have written up a pretty nice little preview of the Final Four.  They're hoping to bring down around 250 of their friends to cheer on the Blues when they take on the Madison 56ers in the night cap of Thursday's NPSL Semi-finals.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rocket City Invitational and More NPSL Final Four

Rocket City Invitational Set To Kick Off on Saturday
This year's Rocket City Invitational will be held on Saturday and Sunday in Madison at Dublin Park.  The small-sided adult tournament is being held in conjunction with the NPSL Final Four and the Soccer Wars Festival.  In addition to the fun format of soccer action on the field, all RCI players are also invited to take in the action of the NPSL Final Four and will be special guests at the Station II at Bridgestreet for a tournament party on Saturday night after the NPSL Championship match. 

The RCI is still looking for female players to fill out one more team in the Women's division.  So, if you know any female players have them register for the fun.

NPSL Final Four Audio Webcast On Teamline

All of the matches during the NPSL Final Four will be broadcast on a live audio webcast.  Click here to listen live to the matches.

CFC Drops NPSL Final Four Warm-up to DC United

NPSL Southeast Region Champions Chattanooga FC traveled up to my home town to face the MLS club DC United's Super 20 team in a friendly this past Saturday.  CFC used this match in RFK Stadium as a warm-up to the NPSL Final Four, but hopes the result are a little better than the 3:0 shut-out loss they received at the hands of the DCU.  CFC's coach and I are from the same area in the DC suburbs and he was featured in the Annapolis paper, The Capital.

RCU President To Appear on Lite 96.9

RCU's President Andy Zorovich is doing a lot of appearances lately to promote the NPSL Final Four and the Soccer Wars Festival.  Listen in on Wednesday when he will appear on Lite96.9.

Friday, July 23, 2010

NPSL Final Four News

RCU President Andy Zorovich To Appear On Madison Weekly Radio Show

Monday's broadcast of the Madison Weekly Radio Show on WTKI 1450 AM and 92.9 FM will feature RCU President Andy Zorovich.  Zorovich will discuss the NPSL Final Four and RCU on Monday morning at 8AM.  Click here to listen live

NPSL Final Four News Links

Here are some articles about the teams in the NPSL Final Four.

56ers to face Chattanooga FC
Chattanooga FC to Face Madison 56ers In NPSL Final Four 
Sac Gold win division, head to Final Four
RCU to Host Final Four Tournament 
Soccer Wars to be held July 29-31 in Madison 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

High School Elite, More NCAA, College Player Development

Times Releases Elite High School Players List

The Huntsville Times has released its list of Boys and Girls "TimesElite" High School soccer players.  Grissom swept the Player of the Year awards with Jonathan Ray and Courtney Hurt being honored.

NCAA Men's College Cup Coming To Alabama

Yesterday, it was announced that the 2011 NCAA Men's College Cup would be hosted in Hoover.  Here's a video on the announcement.

Is There Room For College Soccer In US Player Development

Speaking of college soccer, there's a debate raging within the US soccer community (and in our comments section) over the role that college soccer has in player development.  Some feel that reliance on the college game to develop truly elite players is hindering the progression of US soccer and that the better options is developing players in a professional environment.  Other feel that college soccer allows a good environment for players who mature later than their counterparts in the professional ranks. The Washington Post has an interesting article with quotes from some big names in the college game.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NCAA Championships in Alabama, More Atlanta Soccer News, NPSL All-stars Announced

Hoover to Host 2011 College Cup

The city of Hoover, AL has been awarded the 2011 Men's NCAA National Championships including the semifinals on Dec. 9th and finals on Dec 11th.  The University of Alabama-Birmingham will serve as the host institution for the first NCAA Men's Soccer Championships to be held in Alabama.  The matches will be held at Regions Park Stadium, home field of the Birmingham Barons baseball team, and will be reconfigured for soccer.

Alabama has become a destination for college soccer as Orange Beach, AL will be hosting the 2010 and 2011 NAIA Men's Soccer Championships.  Decatur's Jack Allen Soccer Stadium was the site for the 2009 NAIA Women's Soccer Championships and will host the Women's Championship again this year from November 29-December 4.

Atlanta Forms "Soccer Cabinet"

A few days ago I wrote about a rumor that an EPL team was interested in starting an MLS club in Atlanta.  I was somewhat dismissive about the veracity of the rumor, because, let's face it, we've heard it all before.  Now, a group of business officials from the Atlanta area have created a "Soccer Cabinet" to explore ways to engage the soccer community in Atlanta and help Atlanta's international reputation by embracing the world's game.  They've even come up with a five point plan to address those goals.  Maybe something good will come of this.

NPSL All-star Roster Announced

The NPSL has released the list of players who will take on Rocket City United in the NPSL All-star Game that will be played next Friday, July 30th at 8PM at the Madison City Schools Stadium as part of the NPSL Final Four festivities.

NPSL Final Four Match-ups Set

The full NPSL Final Four schedule has been released.  Rocket City United is hosting the three day event that will feature five matches including an All-star match featuring the best players from around the NPSL taking on RCU.

The seeds for the Final Four tournament were determined with a points per match formula due to the uneven schedules between the Regions.  Northeast Region Champion FC Sonic-Lehigh Valley earned the first seed, followed by Chattanooga FC , Madison 56ers, and Sacramento Gold FC.   The semi-finals will be a 1v4 and 2v3 matchup with the losers playing in the 3rd Place match on Friday while the winners are given an extra day of rest to prepare for the Finals on Saturday.  Friday night will also feature the NPSL All-stars taking on Rocket City United.

Here's the schedule of the matches.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

5:30pm NPSL Semi-final 1 --FC Sonic (Northeast) v Sacramento Gold (West)

 8:00pm NPSL Semi-final 2 -- Chattanooga FC (Southeast) v Madison 56ers (Midwest)

Friday, July 30, 2010

5:30pm NPSL 3rd Place Game (Semi-final 1 loser v Semi-final 2 loser)
8:00pm NPSL All-Star Game (NPSL All Stars v Rocket City United)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

7:30pm NPSL Final - (Semi-final 1 Winner v Semi-final 2 Winner)

Since the part of the NPSL's charter is to develop aspiring professional players, the NPSL will host several player combines where coaches and scouts from various professional organizations will be able to see promising NPSL stars up close in a training environment.   This is a great opportunity for of the players to be "discovered" during three sessions on Thursday and Friday.

In addition, there are several fun soccer related games and activities for kids and parents alike going on as part of the Soccer Wars Festival adjacent to the field at the Madison City Schools Stadium.  The festival will culminate with a parade a 5PM on Saturday from downtown Madison to the Madison City Schools Stadium.