Friday, April 30, 2010

New US World Cup Jersey, Group C Projections, and Grissom Soccer Camp

World Cup Home Jersey Released
The new white home jersey to be worn by the US in this summer's World Cup has been released by Nike. The jersey is made from polyester made from recycled plastic bottles and features a sash design similar to the design of the jersey that the US wore in the upset of England in the 1950 World Cup. In keeping with that theme, I ordered mine with the name and number of the goal scorer from that day, Joe Gaetjens.

Statistician's Projections of Group C

In an ESPN article, statistician Nate Silver, famous for his Major League Baseball player and US political predictions, has released his predictions for the results from the World Cup's Group C. So? According to Silver's simulations, England and the USA should advance. He projects the US getting 4.27 points from the three matches with a 21.6% of winning the group and a 55.8% of advancing. Too bad the games aren't played on paper.

Personally, my gut is telling me that this will be a much harder group than these projections indicate. I will be very happy if we get 4 points from the group. With a little luck, that will be enough. In my ideal World Cup scenario, we finish second in Group C and face Germany in the second round, followed by Mexico in the quarter-finals. Another crack at Germany in a knock-out situation would be an ideal situation for an upset by the US, and we know what it takes to beat Mexico. But again, with a little luck, this could be a good World Cup for our boys.

Grissom Hosts Soccer Camp

This summer Grissom High will host thier 17th annual Soccer Camp for children ages 5-16. The players will be provided with instruction on individual technique, skills and tactics. For more information and camp registration, go to

Thursday, April 29, 2010

High School Second Round Match-ups Set

This weekend, several local teams are set to participate in the second round of the knock-out style AHSAA play-offs where winners will qualify for the State Tournament to be held at John Hunt Park on May 7th and 8th.

Two marquee match-ups will provide excitement for local soccer fans as not one, but two Huntsville derbies will be contested for a spot in the state semifinals next week. In 6A boys action, the first Huntsville derby clash will take place Friday night at 6PM with Grissom hosting Huntsville. The second Huntsville derby match will feature Catholic traveling across town to Randolph at 5PM on Saturday in 1-4A Boys action.

Local teams in action (Home team first):

6A Boys
Grissom (3:1 over Clay-Chalkville) v Huntsville (1:0 over Mtn Brook), Friday, 6PM

5A Boys
East Limestone (1:0 over Hartselle, OT) v Cullman (3:0 over Madison Cty), Friday, 4PM

1-4A Boys
Randolph (1:0 over Oneonta) v Catholic (4:1 over Westminster Chrtn), Saturday, 5PM

6A Girls
Mountain Brook (5:1 over Decatur) v Grissom (3:0 over Hewitt-Trussville), Friday, 5PM

1-4A Girls
Madison Academy (5:0 over Westminster Chrtn) v Guntersville (2:1 over Randolph), Saturday, 11AM

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Willoughby signing falls through for RCU

It appears the Rocket City United's announced signing of 2009 winger and Huntsville native Paul Willoughby has fallen through. The Mississippi Brilla of the USL's PDL has recently announced that Willoughby will join the Clinton, MS team for the 2010 season.

Former RCU winger Paul Willoughby

"I love Andy [Zorovich] and Desmond [Armstrong]", said Willoughby. "I just wanted to try something new. I loved playing in Huntsville, but I've played there for the past two years and I wanted a new experience."

Willoughby is coming off an impressive season with the University of West Florida where he had 8 goals and 4 assists and earned spots on the Gulf South Conference All-Conference team and the Daktronics All-South Region Second team. In his two seasons at RCU, Willoughby compiled 3 goals and eleven assists and helped lead the team to the 2009 NPSL Southeast Region Championship and a place in the NPSL Final Four.

The Brilla are compiling an impressive roster and are defending the PDL South Conference's Southeast Division Champions. So, Willoughby will have some strong competition to find playing time. When asked about playing time with his new team, Willoughby said, "I don't know about that. I'll go and do my best and we'll see."

In The Presence Of Something VERY SPECIAL

Since today is the second leg of the UEFA Champion's League tie between Inter and Barcelona (FSC, 1:30 PM) , friend of the PWT-blog and former Rocket City United Technical Director, Greg Petersen, has written of his recent experience traveling to Barcelona and witnessing this Barca team up close and personal. Please don't confuse the "special" qualities described below with the "Special One" as Inter's coach, Jose Mourinho, likes to describe himself. Enough of my "special" diatribe, here's Greg's post...

Recently, I was on a business trip to Barcelona and YES, it was football related. During the four days of work, extended by another four days due to the volcanic ash situation, in which Europe was in a complete MESS, I had the privilege to witness something very special. Let me reiterate, SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL! That something special was watching FC Barcelona play live in Camp Nou.

Former RCU TD/Coach and Barca Fan Greg Petersen

I must put a disclaimer out first before I describe my experience and observations. My two favorite football clubs in the world are Ajax and Barcelona. Always have and always will be. The reason is simple; they promote a style of football I truly believe in, not only as a fan, but as a coach. Nothing gave me greater satisfaction last years Champion's League when Barcelona defeated Chelsea.

The match I saw live at Camp Nou was FC Barcelona versus Deportivo La Coruna, a match Barcelona won 3 – 0. Even though Barcelona was not in the best of form that night, you could still tell you where in the presence of a very special team made up of some very special players, supported by incredible fans that I would call “one big family” who happen to live in the best city in the world, and the match being played in a stadium that is truly one of the wonders of the world of football stadiums.

FC Barcelona v Deportivo La Coruna

Camp Nou: From the outside, Camp Nou does not look as big as it does from the inside, but once you enter the stadium, the visual is absolutely stunning! Even someone like me, who has seen a lot of Europeans stadiums, seeing and being in Camp Nou for the first time is a somewhat spiritual experience. I was very fortunate that my host had tickets right on the field. I was so close I could talk to the players. Watching the match from these seats was incredible. The seats also gave you an incredible perspective of the stadium. I'm still in “awe” how people from the very top deck even get to their seats? Friend or Foe of FC Barcelona, every true fan of football must experience a match at Camp Nou once in their life!

Camp Nou filled to the rafters.

The Team: The current squad of FC Barcelona, even if they don’t win this season’s Champion’s League trophy (I still say they will!) , will still go down in the history books as one of the special teams in the history of football. Watching players like Xavi, Messi, and Alves play live is very special, but even more special is watching this group of players play as a collective unit.

Attacking-wise, there is not a better team in the world. There ability to create scoring opportunities with their possession, passing, positional play, and individual flare is unsurpassed. All of this done in the name of “team”.

As we know, FC Barcelona is known for their attacking qualities, but to see them defend, especially after loosing possession of the ball is just AMAZING! I truly believe there is a Superman. If you don’t believe me, just watch Daniel Alves lose possession of the ball and watch him get it back!

Barca, not a lot of tall players there.

One interesting observation I would like to share... Out of the starting 11 in this match, other than Pique, Marques, and Toure, everyone else was probably less than 5 foot 10 inches. It just shows that size is not really an issue when you have players with serious technical qualities combined with intelligence, strength, and incredible explosiveness. Players who don’t possess these qualities really stand out against the norm here at FC Barcelona. With the current roster, players like Marques will probably be playing for another team next season. Even a great striker Imbrahmovic needs to prove he can fit into this squad.

Considering all of this, one of my main purposes of this trip was to review a trial of a 13 year old American player who had a week long trial at Espanyol and a one week trial at FC Barcelona recently. The player did exceptionally well, and most likely, he will be back in Europe full-time in August. It just funny to hear he not good enough for a MLS Youth Academy because of his size, but he is good enough for top European clubs. Go figure?

FC Barcelona Fans. One big family who love their team! God help the visiting opposition. Watching Barca fans in action is like seeing one body with many heads, but with same eyes and thoughts. Their expectations are high, but so is the level of play being played at their home Camp Nou. Watching them in action at home is very special! I am a fan!

Barcelona. My most favorite city in the world! If you have not been, put it on your places to visit. If you been there before, you know what I am talking about.

I hope everyone is doing well back in Northern Alabama. I look forward to posting my 2010 NPSL Southeast Division season preview (Coming soon to the PWT-blog!). It is going to be a very competitive competition! Go get your Rocket City United season tickets. There might not be a better value for your money in whole country.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

High School Playoff Start Today

Several local teams will be playing in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletics Association playoffs beginning today in the hopes of qualifying for the finals to be hosted at John Hunt Park on May 7th and 8th.

Local teams in play (home team listed first):

6A Boys
Grissom v Clay-Chalkville
Mountain Brook v Huntsville

5A Boys
East Limestone v Hartselle
Madison County v Cullman

1-4A Boys
Randolph v Oneonta
Catholic-Huntsville v Westminster Christian

6A Girls
Mountain Brook v Decatur
Hewitt-Trussville v Grissom

5A Girls
East Limestone v Cullman
Madison County v Athens

1-4A Girls
Madison Academy v Westminster Christian
Randolph v Guntersville

Saturday, April 24, 2010

USASA Region III National Cup/US Open Cup Teams

The Perfectly Weighted Through Blog has learned the identity of the teams that will join Rocket City United in the United States Amateur Soccer Association's Region III National Cup/US Open Cup Qualifying tournament.
The USASA Region III stretches across the Southeast United States from Oklahoma and Texas east to the Atlantic Ocean.

The participating Region III teams are:

Aria SC New Stars - South Texas
Atlanta FC - Georgia (NPSL)
Brazil Soccer Academy - Florida
FC Tulsa - Oklahoma (NPSL)
Justice - South Texas
Legends FC - North Texas
Lynch's FC Irish Pub - Florida
NC United - North Carolina
Pumas USA - Alabama (NPSL)
Rocket City United - Alabama (NPSL)

The tournament will be hosted by the Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation and held at the University of Alabama Student Recreation Center over the Memorial Day Weekend. The ten participating teams will likely be placed into two pools of five to play in the group stage. The winner's of these groups will qualify for the knockout stages of the US Open Cup where they will be paired with teams from the professional divisions of US Soccer including MLS, USL, and NASL teams.

Friday, April 23, 2010

UNA FC,, and Buddle vs Gomez

UNA Students Establish A Soccer Club

University of North Alabama FC was established last fall. Yep, that FC as in Futbol Club. UNA students AJ Santos and Loic Dimithe established the club as an outlet for UNA students to play the sport they love. UNA does not have a men's soccer program, but UNA FC hopes to take on other collegiate club teams soon. UNA FC is recognized by the University and is open to male and female students of all skill level players, the best of which will fill out the competitive roster.

My Favorite New Soccer Website, Huh? has been publishing some very interesting articles in the past week. The first is a very detailed article on ESPN's coverage of the World Cup. Later this week, it published its list of most valuable teams. Included on that page are links to other interesting rankings, such as highest earners list of players and soccer's billionaire owners.

Buddle vs Gomez

Both Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez are tearing it up as the World Cup approaches. With the thin talent pool in that position on the US National Team, there peaking at just the right time to catch Bob Bradley's eye. Here's a video of their recent goals, along with some highlights of Alejandro Bedoya who is also a contention for a spot on the team.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Soccer Bar Review: Inside Out Cafe

In our on-going series to identify potential "soccer bars", friend of the PWT-blog, Darrell, who also writes the new American Soccer Announcers Exposed blog, has written up his review of the Inside Out Cafe located in Madison at 10871 County Line Road.

Just down the street from the new Rocket City United team office and soon-to-be-built practice fields is a nice quaint little restaurant/grill called the Inside Out Cafe, formerly called GameDay Grill. They call themselves “a rockin’ sports cafĂ©” and they appear to be so. It has a sports bar atmosphere, bar centric and music playing and there are about 12 TVs around ranging from small to large projection screen.

Backroom at the Inside Out Cafe, prime spot for soccer watching

They have an area in the rear that the manager, Diane, told me that they could arrange tables for us to watch a game on the approx. 52” TV in that area. She even said she would be willing to open early for us, if there was a early special game that a group of us wanted to watch together. We scanned the channels and I noted they have ESPN, ESPN2, and GolTV. I was told they have ordered pay-per-view in the past and expect to do so again in the future. They also have outdoor seating, which is about to be renovated/expanded, possibly to include an outdoor TV (no promise, just a comment).

To complement viewing, they have 12 beer taps, including Guinness as well as micro brewery and American selections, and a good selection of bottled beers. They don’t serve any other kind of alcoholic drinks. They do serve soft drinks. Their food is great! I’ve eaten there many times and never had anything less than delicious. They serve all the good items to go with beer such as wings, burgers, ‘dogs, and pizza. They also have salads and even have a kids’ menu. Their service is also good.

Inside Out Cafe menu has all the good stuff

The only negative thing I can say about the place is it is a little small. But then on the other hand, how many have we pulled together for a soccer event? I’ve seen at most about 12 or so. They can definitely handle that. The only other bad quality is some of their booths. The seats are uncomfortable. But that would not be a problem for watching soccer because we would rearrange tables for viewing the game rather than sit in booths.

I rate them at 2 ½ soccer balls and not 3 soccer balls only because they do not have a soccer TV package per se.

Check it out. They’re all nice people too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Dillema Of Watching Live vs Recorded: A Story Of The 1999 UEFA Champion's League Final

This week's UEFA Champions League semifinals and this post from the blog, A More Splendid Life, got me thinking about the peculiar situations soccer fans in the US go through when attempting to follow the UEFA Champions League matches. Having to decide whether to skip out on work/school to watch a match live is tough enough, but attempting to record the match and then avoiding all information about the result of the match has become nearly impossible. Any shred of evidence regarding the match could be crucial, as you'll read below.

In his post, Richard Whithall described his attempt to watch the 2005 Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan and how a misguided glance at a newspaper effected his viewing pleasure. This particular final was famous for the fact that Liverpool stormed back from a 3:0 halftime deficit to lift the trophy with 3 second half goals and a shootout victory. As Whithall describes, avoiding soccer game information was much easier to do just a few short years ago. It used to be all you had to do was avoid your friends who knew you are a soccer fan but hadn't learned the etiquette of not talking about a game that someone may want to watch later. But that was before the advent of smart phones, ESPN/FSC news tickers, and blogs like the one you are reading now.

I had a similar experience to Whithall's during the famous Manchester United v Bayern Munich Champions League final in 1999. I had recorded the game and had successfully avoided all signs of the result except that I had somehow learned that the game ended in regulation. I don't remember how I knew that it ended without overtime, but it was the one piece of intelligence that I was unable to avoid in the hours between the live event and my date with my couch and the videotape. This one bit of info would change the way I took in the match.

Now, as you may know, I am a huge Bayern fan, and after Bayern took the a sixth minute lead on a Mario Basler free kick and successfully thwarted all ManU attacks for 84 minutes, I was elated... until seconds after the fourth official indicated 3 minutes of added time. Shortly into the added time, on a ManU corner, after a series of scuffed shots and failed clearances, Teddy Sheringham scored typically lucky late ManU goal, and the realization of what would soon take place from my video tape filled me with doom. You see, ManU had seized all of the momentum and I knew there was no way Bayern would come back from that goal. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long for the second goal, that I knew was coming, as a few seconds later, Ole Gunnar Solskejaer roofed a into the goal from three yards off another ManU corner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inserts the dagger in my soul and the ball in the net

I sat dumbfounded on my couch and was certainly upset about the loss, but in retrospect, I'm thankful that I did not watch the game live and had discovered that the game ended in regulation. It was easier for me to handle the dejection of that last minute loss by having the somewhat deterministic knowledge that no other result could have occurred. If I had viewed that match live, it would have been much more painful to have maintained a shred of hope that Bayern might weather the ManU storm to get into extra time and score the winner or survive to PKs. That sense of hope would have been annihilated by the sucker-punch of that second ManU goal. That is the sort of pain I can do without, thank you very much...

Fortunately, UEFA has helped eliminate the work versus soccer decision faced by the US soccer fan by deciding to hold this year's Champions League Final on a Saturday (May 22nd on FOX54 at 1:30PM). It's up to you now to clear your schedule for that afternoon, so you don't have to play the game of attempting to hide from the results.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 Rocket City Invitational Details

The 2010 Rocket City Invitational, the area's summer adult six-a-side soccer tournament put on by Southern Soccer, will be held in conjunction with the NPSL Final Four hosted by Rocket City United in Madison, AL. The Rocket City Invitational action will take place on July 31st and August 1st at Dublin Park in Madison and will be scheduled in such a way that players taking part will miss none of the NPSL Final Four matches going on just up the street at Madison City Schools Stadium. For more information, go to

Sunday, April 18, 2010

UAH Win Final Spring Scrimmage 4:3

After leading at halftime 3:1, UAH saw their lead over Faulkner University disappear as Faulkner scored two second half goals before an 80th minute Andres Flores free kick decided the victor on Saturday afternoon at the UAH practice facility. Flores played a short ball to Oscar Leon who stopped the ball at an optimal angle for Flores to blast through the broken Faulkner wall and into the net from 24 yards to end spring training for UAH on a high note.

In other UAH news, a full time head coach for the program is expected to be announced on Monday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet RCU Assistant Coach Mike Lee

Despite suffering from jet lag that had him wide awake at 3AM this morning, new Rocket City United assistant coach, Mike Lee, was able to get to his first RCU practice this afternoon. He was nice enough to talk to me about his role with the team and his thoughts about his first practice.

Lee, who is a former player of RCU coach Desmond Armstrong at Montreat College in North Carolina, is a native of South Africa and has recently completed a tour of English training grounds and youth academies including Sunderland and Newcastle.

In other news, Rocket City United will host the Nashville Metros of the PDL in their second preseason match of the year next Saturday at 7:30. The location of the match has not been finalized.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Short, Tall, and Xavi

Despite my declaration that I would no longer be doing this sort of thing, it only took a week before I felt the need to share some of the most interesting (in my mind) links out there. This may become a weekly thing. We'll see.

The Tall and the Short of It

Peter Crouch, tall (6' 7"). Jermain Defoe, short (5' 6").

One of the things I love about soccer is that it is an equal opportunity sport. Soccer is a skill-based sport much like baseball used to be before the home run era began. In soccer, you don't really gain any advantage with size, a player's success depends more upon his smarts and technical ability. So, you can be a short guy and and still tower above your peers on the field (pun intended). Conversely, in gridiron football, basketball, and now in some respects baseball, a player's success greatly depends on size or strength. The Spoiler has compiled it's list of the best short players ever, and not to be left out, the Best Eleven has compiled a list of active tall players.

Xavi, I Think I Have a Man Crush

Is Xavi the real Messi(ah)?

After a spree of multiple goal games, there has been a ton of talk about Barcelona forward Lionel Messi's ranking as one of the best players of all time. While there is no doubt that Messi is immensely talented, I have to wonder how much of his recent success is due to one particular teammate, Xavi. I mean, just look at how Messi dissapoints for Argentina, where there is no Xavi to retain possession and provide the defense-splitting pass onto Messi running in behind. I was floored when I heard some of the stats coming out of the recent Champions League tie that Barca won over Arsenal. During the two matches against Arsenal, Xavi attempted 244 passes, completing 229 for a 94% accuracy rate. That's more passes than the entire Arsenal midfield combined, and Arsenal is known for their "keep it on the floor and knock it around" style! In last week's El Classico match against Real Madrid, the man had 60% of the possesion himself and both goals were sparked by Xavi passes. Amazing!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Announcers Get It Wrong? Say It Ain't So

There's a new blog on the block. Friend of the Perfectly Weighted Through Blog, Darrell, who is a certified referee, has become increasingly frustrated with the outright ignorance of the rules that so many TV commentators have. Over the years, Darrell and I have had many conversations complaining about controversial talking points of games broadcast over the weekend and how time and again the announcers calling the game explained the sequence wrongly.

With the start of the MLS season recently, Darrell decided to call out these announcers publicly on his new soccer blog called American Soccer Announcers Exposed. Darrell is now the self acclaimed "Dogger of Bad Commentary", and has had it with TV soccer announcers who consistently get the facts wrong.

As you may know, I do a little TV commentary myself. So, I'll be firmly in the ASAExposed cross-hairs, and will have to make sure that my comments are legit or I'll find myself sliced and diced by my man Darrell.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RCU Falls In Preseason Opener

Tonight, Rocket City United gave up a first half counter attack goal to fall to Martin Methodist College 1:0 in the first preseason match of the year held at Point Mallard Park in Decatur.

RCU took the field with an eleven that will look vastly different from the squad that is expected to suit up for the first team on May 22nd. Neither team seemed interested in threatening the opponents goal until MMC worked some nice passes together in the 40th minute and discovered themselves up by a goal when a looping header from eleven yards found the back of the net. RCU responded with pressure that resulted in substitute forward Daniel Perry smacking a shot over the head of the MMC keeper only to rebound off the crossbar. When a MMC defender failed to clear, Brandon Sanford lifted his shot inches high from close range and the half ended with MMC up by a goal.

As the teams tired in the second half, the game opened up and the teams traded misses. RCU squandered several terrific crosses from left back Daniel Segewitz, including a four yard header nodded wide by returning center back Steve Van Horn. The story of the match was lack of finishing, perhaps due to rust and fatigue, and the MMC goalkeeper earned the shutout without having to make a save. Despite this, RCU coach Desmond Armstrong was happy with the play of the team, especially the play of former Alabama A&M center back Samadu Matumba who looked very comfortable marshaling the backline.

Segewitz on MMC preseason friendly from Ryan Harbaugh on Vimeo.

In other RCU news, the club will field a full reserve squad that will play 8-10 matches including matches against the other NPSL Southeast Region teams. Reserve games will be held 3 hours prior to each first team match throughout the season.

UAH's Joe Nemzer on Recruiting Players

The National Collegiate Scouting Association ran an interview with UAH Interim Head Coach Joe Nemzer. In the article, Nezmer talks about his coaching style, the work ethic of his teams, and the great educational value of UAH.
Nezmer also gave this important tip for young players who are looking to get recruited,
"A common misconception among high school athletes is that “If I’m good, colleges will find me.” While this may be true in some cases, for the most part, you won’t be recruited unless you are proactive."


The North London Derby is today (ESPN2 1:55PM), and Arsenal fan and PWT-blog contributor Chris has written a love/hate note about arch-rival Tottenham Hotspurs manager Harry Redknapp (love only because Arsenal has dominated since Harry took over Spurs). Enjoy!

Here it is, April 14, 2010 and time for the North London Derby once again. Arsenal’s relative dominance over Spurs both head-to-head and in the final EPL standings over, well, over the entirety of Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal not withstanding, it’s still as fierce and bitter a rivalry as exists in the world of club football. When Arsenal beat out Spurs for 4th place in the EPL and a lucrative Champions’ League berth four years ago on the last day of the season, amid reports of mysterious stomach ailments among key Spurs players, whatever the rivalry might have lost was renewed. Go ahead, blame the lasagna. Harry Redknapp probably knows the guy who made it. The present match also has much riding on it, namely Spurs hopes for that elusive 4th place finish this year and Arsenal’s slim, but not dead, hopes for the EPL crown.

I write, however, not about the rivalry, but about Spurs’ head man, one Harry Redknapp. Like Larry Brown of American basketball, Harry Redknapp is well traveled, to put it mildly. He began his coaching career in 1976 with the Seattle Sounders of the NASL. Really? I didn’t know that. He looks a picture of health compared to Sigi Schmidt. Following long-term stints at Bournemouth (1983-1992) and West Ham United (1994-2001), Harry’s been increasingly peripatetic, doing managerial duties at Southampton, Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur. Oddly enough, part of the lore of the origin of the club’s name involves one “Harry Hotspur.” Ah, the interconnectivity becomes apparent.

Interconnected? Harry Redknapp, father of player Jamie and Uncle of Frank Lampard, is, coincidentally (I mean, is this really irony?), the son of a lifelong Arsenal fan. In fact, when the senior Redknapp passed on a few years back, Arsenal Football Club sent a wreath to the funeral.

What, however, would Harry Redknapp do to make a living were he not a football coach? Yes, that’s what I’ve been trying to get to. The man simply oozes a sort of loveable cheesiness, like a guy in a wife-beater t-shirt, adorned with gold chains, cooking a cheesesteak sandwich in South Philly. If you think I’m ragging on Philly, please note that I did not refer to it as “Philthy.”

So here’s a speculative list. Please feel free to add to it.

1. Philadelphia sandwich maker
2. Used car salesman
3. Used car salesman (it’s just so apt)
4. Aging London gangster in Guy Ritchie films
5. London cabbie
6. Barker at French Quarter strip club
7. Car title loans huckster
8. Ace recruiter for Alabama and Auburn (“Wot, you only sent a shoebox of guineas?”)
9. Dick Van Dyke role in “Mary Poppins”
10. Cockney bootblack (“Shine yer boots, Guv’ner?”)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

High School All-stars Announced

Several local players were selected to represent the North All-stars in the annual AHSAA North-South soccer game to be held at John Hunt Park on Monday July 12.

Local Girls
Danielle Berryman, Madison Academy; Christine Jones, Huntsville;
MIDFIELDERS: Natalie Harding, New Hope; Nancy Brasseale, Catholic-Huntsville;
FORWARDS: Courtney Hurt, Grissom; Jessica Salinas, Bob Jones; Morgan Thorsen, Westminster Christian
GOALKEEPERS: Taylor Rae Rutherford; Decatur.

Local Boys
DEFENDERS: Jonathan Ray, Grissom.
MIDFIELDERS: Kennedy Pope, Huntsville; Johnathan Mitchell, Bob Jones; Steve Owens, Sparkman.

Rocket City United Begins Preseason

Tonight, Rocket City United's coach Desmond Armstrong will begin moving the pawns into place on the quest to defend the National Premier Soccer League's Southeast Region title and return to the NPSL Final Four as RCU opens its preseason practice schedule with an evening training session at Chapman Middle School.The team that takes part in the training tonight will certainly look a bit different from the one that lines up in the Madison City Schools Stadium for the season opener on May 22nd. The majority of the squad is expected to be made up of out-of-season college players who are finishing their spring classes in the next few weeks. So, the players for tonight's training will have a local flavor while the distant collegians will fill out the roster in the coming weeks.

Here's a breakdown of the expected local returners from the 2009 team:

Tyler Early - Last year's starter will be challenged for starting position by others in camp.
Jeffrey Preston - Good shot stopper who served as backup in '09 will be battling for playing time.

Brian Hadley - Outside back who has worked very hard in the off-season and appears to be in top form.
Daniel Segewitz - Converted forward has a pinpoint crossing ability and will look to lock down the left back spot.
Steve Van Horn - The captain of the '08 squad is fighting to return from a knee injury that kept him off the field for most of the 2009 season.

Jesus Delgado - Crafty and attack-minded describes "Chuey", who will fight for a starting position.
Derek Pirtle - Industrious central midfielder will try to raise his technical game to match his intensity.

Fernando Sanchez - Very technical player who has yet to find his best position.
Sutton Shults - Winger who has a howitzer shot from distance will look to see the field more in the 2010 campaign.

Friday, April 9, 2010

One Goal: Road to South Africa

I just watched this vid on Youtube and it got me so pumped for this summer's World Cup, I had to share it with you. If you are a fan of soccer in the US, you must watch this video!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Alabama High School Finals To Be Streamed By Raycom Media

The Alabama High School Athletics Association has signed an agreement with Raycom Media to live stream the state's Soccer Finals as part of a comprehensive 3 year agreement to broadcast a variety of the AHSAA's sporting events online and live/tape delayed over the air broadcasts. Raycom has streamed several AHSAA events this year via their broadcast TV station websites including WAFF 48 here in Huntsville. The AHSAA Boy's and Girl's Soccer Finals will be held in Huntsville this year on May 7 & 8.

NAIA Men's National Championships in Alabama

Last week the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that the 2010 and 2011 Men's Soccer National Championships will be held in Alabama. The University of Mobile will host the tournament at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, AL. The competition will feature the top 16 men's soccer teams in the NAIA in a knockout style tournament held over a one week period. This year's tournament will be held November 26-December 4.
The NAIA Soccer Committee must enjoy the comforts of Alabama as Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile have all hosted the men's tournament in the past. Decatur hosted a successful Women's Championship this past December and Jack Allen Recreation Complex will continue to be the site of 2010 and 2011 Women's Championships.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

UNA 7-Aside Tournament in Florence

The University of North Alabama Women's Soccer team will be holding a 7-a-side tournament in Florence, Al this Saturday April 10th from 9AM - 3PM. The tournament will help raise funds for the program. They are looking for players or one team to fill out the final team opening. The level is fairly high as there are mostly college level teams competing. The tournament will be held at the University of North Alabama Athletic Complex on the turf soccer field and will cost $150 per team.

If you or your team is interested in playing, contact the UNA Assistant Coach, Graeme Orr at graemeorr23[at]hotmail[dot]com.

RCU Announces 2010 Soccer Camp Schedule

Rocket City United has announced its 2010 individual, team, and advanced player soccer camps. Led by the RCU Technical Director, Desmond Armstrong, RCU players will also be on hand to instruct campers from ages 5 to 16.

These types of camps are great gateway for kids to get into soccer. I remember going to a camp like this as a youngster. It was where I met some of the local high school and college players from my town who I idolized back before pro soccer was widespread and on TV 24x7. To get a chance to be coached by the local RCU players and coaches will be great for these kids and may light the spark of a life long love for the game.

RCU Coach and Camp Director Desmond Armstrong will instruct kids at all of the camps

Individual Player Camps

The Individual camps are half-day (or evening) for recreational and competitive boys and girls ages 5 to 14 focusing on improving technical skills, creating tactical awareness and instilling a love of playing soccer. Participants will receive a camp ball and t-shirt and parents are treated to a special daily 10-minute soccer lesson called "Rocket City United's Backyard Basics".

Dates/Locations (9a.m.-12p.m. for all ages; 9a.m.-10:30a.m. ages 5-7)
  • June 1-4 Monrovia, AL Monrovia Middle School
  • June 14-18 Hampton Cove, AL Cove Park Field
  • June 28- July 2 Huntsville, AL Chapman Middle School
  • July 12-16 Madison, AL Dublin Park
  • July 19-23 Fayetteville, TN Fayetteville AYSO Fields
  • August 2-6 Monrovia, AL Monrovia Middle School (5:30p.m.-8:30p.m. for all ages; 5:30p.m.-7:00p.m., ages 5-7)

Advanced Player Camps

The Advanced Player Camp is for the older, more polished player from ages 13-16 and will also focus on improving individual technical and tactical skills.

Dates/Locations (9a.m.-12p.m)

  • June 21-25 Huntsville, AL Chapman Middle School

Teams Camps

The RCU team camps are for entire club, high school, AYSO or rec teams. Coaches work hand in hand with RCU coaches to focus on tactical playing systems, advanced formations and identifying a specific team strengths and weaknesses to maximize performance. Location, times, and duration of training sessions are tailored to each individual team.


Individual Camps - $100/player ages 8-16, $80/player ages 5-7, $20 sibling discount

Advance Player Camps - $135/player ages 13-16

Team Camps- Contact RCU at for info.

Coaches Clinics

One great offering from RCU that was not included in the recent announcement is the coaching clinics. These clinics are designed for the beginning coach who may never have played the games and are offered free to soccer organizations through the non-profit Rocket City Soccer Foundation.

For more information on any of these RCU offerings, visit

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

PWT-blog Changes

As you may have noticed, there have been some changes around the PWT-blog recently.

First, you'll notice a new look for the blog. A few months ago someone mentioned that the colors that I was using at the time were Auburn colors (blue and orange). That was entirely unintentional. As a recent transplant to the area (Wow! Has it been four years already?), I have no affinity for either Auburn or Alabama (Fear the Turtle!). Hence, I decided to make the colors college neutral.
You'll also notice that there is a series of link across the top of the page. One is a link to the ongoing Soccer Bar Review page where you can find the info on our quest to find the local establishment with the best "Soccer Bar Potential".

Second, you may have noticed that the frequency of my posts has decreased. When I started this blog in Feb '09, I wrote,
"PWT-blog was started to discuss the Huntsville soccer experience; from where the good pickup games may be, to playing in the local amateur leagues, following our local professionally run NPSL team, Rocket City United, and even watching our favorite first division professional leagues..."
In the attempt to recapture some of that local flavor, I have decided to focus my posts to local area soccer news only. While I enjoy posting interesting things that I come across and may still drop a few nuggets every once in a while, those types of posts have been taking up too much of my time, and you can find most of those types of things on a myriad of other soccer blogs.

On that note, the PWT-blog is always looking for contributors. If you fancy yourself a writer or are just a guy/gal who likes soccer and has something that they'd like to share, send me your ideas. I'd love to give you all an outlet to share with the Huntsville soccer community.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

UAH Alumni Game Recap and New Coach

Well, I screwed up. I got the date for the UAH Alumni game wrong and missed it. Thankfully, Joe Nezmer, the interim-Head Coach of UAH was kind enough to give us a recap of a great day on Saturday, March 27th, for UAH soccer in the first of what will hopefully be an annual event.
"The alumni game was a real interesting match up. With our back line and starting keeper not being able to play, we had to play some guys in positions they weren't accustomed to. I'm really happy with the alumni that showed up for the game. It was made of guys that are mostly less than five years removed from the program, and most of them are still playing in adult leagues throughout the area.

As far as the game itself, it ended in a 2-2 tie. The highlight of the game for us was a brilliant shot from about 20 yards by Oscar Leon, that was hit [into the] upper 90. Another highlight was former captain and goalkeeper (and assistant coach for the Women) Geoffrey Merry, netting the first goal for the alumni. The celebration was capped off with Geoff asking for hot dog.

All in all, it was a very good day and I'm glad that so many of our alumni made it out. I plan on increasing our numbers next year while also planning more alumni events during the fall season. I'm really looking forward to broadening our alumni base, and I think the game was a good step."
In other UAH news, a permanent replacement for Tafadzwa Ziyenge, who is off to head the Arkansas State women's program, is expected to be announced in a few weeks. The search for the new head coach is in its final stages, although it is not clear whether Nezmer will remain with the program in an assistant coaching role.