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.