Crew Victorious over TFC
TORONTO, ON - May 18, 2013 - A 42nd-minute strike by Dominic Oduro was enough to give the Columbus Crew (4-4-3, 15 points) a 1-0 win over Toronto FC (1-6-4, 7 points) on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.
Oduro scored his team-leading fifth tally of the season just before halftime as he chased down and finished a perfectly slotted pass from Federico Higuain, who earned his third assist on the year. With the win, the Crew remains unbeaten (3-0-5) in eight visits to Toronto dating back to 2007.
The victory for Robert Warzycha’s side gives the Crew a leg up in the regular-season series in its quest for defending the Trillium Cup – presented by Scotts – as the two teams are set to play two more times in 2013.
"I thought it was a very physical game but fair," Warzycha stated. "I think we looked sharp today. It was a good performance in the first and second half. We gave them a couple of chances in the first half, most of them on second balls. The second half was very clean and I’m happy with the win."
Playing their first road match since April 20, the Black & Gold earned their third away win of the season and will close-out the month of May with the second test of their two-match road swing next Sunday when they travel to face the New York Red Bulls (5:00 p.m. ET / Unimas, FOX Sports Ohio).
AFC Falls to Sparta in Shocker
Content by Gary L. Moody Jr.
Photos by Pam Moody/ISNSoccer.com
CLEVELAND, OH - May 10, 2013 - Jesus Ginez and FC Sparta Michigan spoiled AFC Cleveland’s home opener on Friday night with a sneaky goal in the 89th minute. The goal gave the visiting side a 1-0 victory in their first-ever NPSL game.
It was an even match with both teams having their share of scoring chances. Vinny Bell and Tommy Schmitt were both effective in the attack for the hometown Royals, a squad that held an edge in possession on the night.
Bell would clank a shot off the crossbar late in the first half, while Schmitt constantly tested the Sparta backline as he tried to get behind defenders in the attack.
“I think we just need to get together more,” Schmitt remarked. “We were only together for two weeks. We got unlucky and lost 1-0. We are going to focus on chemistry and getting game fitness back.”
The weather was less than optimal as a day of showers and storms turned Krenzler Field into a fast and slick surface. Fans and supporters from the 6th City Syndicate braved the elements to enjoy the beautiful game in its return to downtown Cleveland.
“It’s nice being down here in a more intimate atmosphere, where you can really hear the noise,” Cleveland head coach Andy Hoggarth commented.
The game seemed to be headed to a draw after a 0-0 score at the end of the first half.
The teams continued to trade chances after the break, including a near miss from Cleveland attacker Ryan Minick in the 74th minute. But it was Ginez that scored the game-winner for the expansion Sparta side with literally moments to spare.
“They played it in,” Ginez said when asked about his goal. “It kind of bounced around there. I just hit it with my right foot.”
“We honestly didn’t know what it was going to be like,” Ginez added. “It felt good out there though.”
The 1-0 win gave the visitors three points to start their inaugural season, while Cleveland must look to road games at Detroit and Zanesville to advance up the league table.
“Possession is great, but possession with no purpose to it really isn’t great,” Hoggarth added. “We didn’t test their goalkeeper enough.”
Subside Sports Man of the Match: Tommy Schmitt, AFC Cleveland
Akron Reloads with Strong Recruiting Class
Many critics worried about the direction of the Akron men's soccer program after the departure of Caleb Porter to MLS. If this signing class is any indication, there is absolutely no reason to worry. New head coach (and Porter's former top assistant) Jared Embick is picking up where Porter left off. The future of Akron men's soccer is very bright. As they always say "Akron doesn't rebuild; they just reload."
That was certainly the case here as Embick officially announced the 10 members of the Zips' 2013 signing class Monday.
In all, the Zips will welcome nine incoming freshmen and a college transfer. Furthermore, the group includes a member of the U.S. Under-18 national team player pool, two high school All-Americans and three internationals. We are talking about players associated with the likes of npower Championship side Blackpool, EPL giant Chelsea, legendary Brazilian club Corinthians, and Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls. Very impressive indeed.
And sources tell us the 2014 class is going to be even better. That's not a surprise as early commit Bryce Cregan was coveted by many top programs across the country. But he chose Akron and did it early.
Midfielder Clint Caso (Kinnelson, N.J./St. Benedict Preparatory School/N.Y. Red Bulls Academy/New Hampshire), defender Louis Cross (Lancashire, England/Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School/Blackpool FC Academy), midfielder Robby Dambrot (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary HS/Internationals SC), goalkeeper Jonny DeMoya (Olney, Md./Sherwood HS/Baltimore Bays Academy), defender Riley Grant (Copley, Ohio/Copley-Fairlawn HS/Internationals SC), defender Brett Gravatt (Dunn Loring, Va./IMG Academy [Fla.]), midfielder Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J./Paramus Catholic/ N.Y. Red Bulls Academy), midfielder Tyler Sanda (North Royalton, Ohio/St. Ignatius HS/Internationals SC), striker Ismail Seremba (London, England/Chelsea Academy) and midfielder Victor Souto (Sao Paolo, Brazil/Sport Club Corinthians Paulista) will continue their careers with the Zips this fall.
Souto has gotten a headstart on his fellow recruits, enrolling at Akron in January. He looked sharp in spring scrimmages and looks to be a player that can contribute immediately.
"We feel we have put together a strong class that enhances the quality and depth of our team," Embick said. "It is important that our players have the ability to play the Akron way and we feel we have done a great job of identifying talented players who will adapt quickly to our system. All these players are technically gifted and have a high soccer IQ and we are confident they will help continue the success and tradition of Akron soccer."
Akron swept the Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament titles for the fifth time in six years in 2012 and claimed the nation's No. 1-ranking in the final poll of the regular season before advancing to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year. UA will return nine letterwinners and five starters this fall, including leading goal scorer Reinaldo Brenes and center back Bryan Gallego.
The success of the program is both a blessing and a curse. The top recruits want to play there, but they often leave early to pursue a pro career. Often times quality players choose to transfer as was the case this spring as four players left the program in search of more playing time.
This offseason was much of the same as Dillon Serna, Wil Trapp, and DeAndre Yedlin left for the riches of MLS. Chad Barson and Scott Caldwell signed Homegrown Player contracts while David Meves went in the MLS Supplemental Draft. Even Tommy Schmitt, who started his senior season as a top pro prospect, continues to ply his trade as one of the top strikers in the NPSL.
Clint Caso, MF, Kinnelon, N.J. (St. Benedict Preparatory School/N.Y. Red Bulls Academy/New Hampshire)
New York Red Bulls Academy ... helped the Red Bulls win the USYSA New Jersey U-15 State Championship in 2008 and qualified for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals Week ... was a two-time, first team all-state honoree at St. Benedict Preparatory School ... led St. Benedict's Prep to three straight New Jersey State Prep Championships (2008-2010) ... appeared in eight matches, making six starts, at the University of New Hampshire as a freshman ... recorded an assist and nine shots on goal for the Wildcats, who advanced to the championship match of the America East Tournament.
Louis Cross, D, Lancashire, England (Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School/Blackpool FC Academy)
Developed in Blackpool FC Academy since he was eight years old ... Blackpool FC youth team captain ... captained his country on a tour of Scandinavia and was named England's U-16 Independent Soccer Player of the Year ... also named League Football Education's Apprentice of the Month for February of 2013.
Robby Dambrot, MF/D, Akron, Ohio (St. Vincent-St. Mary HS/Internationals SC)
Three-time all-district honoree ... team MVP ... led St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to the regional championship in 2007 and a runner-up finish in 2008 ... totaled 15 goals and 26 assists in three years for the Irish ... played club soccer for Internationals SC of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy during his senior year ... won seven consecutive state cup championships from 2006-2012 ... rated a three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer ... also earned a varsity letter in basketball ... son of current Zips men's basketball head coach Keith Dambrot.
Jonny DeMoya, GK, Olney, Md. (Sherwood HS/Baltimore Bays Academy)
Played club soccer for the Baltimore Bays of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy ... 2011 All-Gazette (Md.) honoree ... rated a three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer.
Riley Grant, D, Copley, Ohio (Copley-Fairlawn HS/Internationals SC)
Rated 12th-best prospect in the Great Lakes Region and a four-star recruit, according to Top Drawer Soccer ... led Copley-Fairlawn High School to district and regional championships, and the state semifinals as a junior ... scored 16 goals, including seven game-winners, while tallying eight assists in that breakout season, earning All-Ohio Second Team honors ... played club soccer for the Internationals SC of the US Soccer Development Academy as a senior ... played on three Ohio Youth Soccer Association North State Cup Champion teams (2010, 2011, 2012) ... also played club soccer with Everest SC Black (2009-12) and Ohio Select Futbol Club (2005-09).
Brett Gravatt, D, Dunn Loring, Va. (IMG Academy [Fla.])
Product of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. ... scored 10 goals in his first two seasons ... spent time training in Barcelona and Holland ... invited to the Dallas Cup three times ... three-star recruit, according to Top Drawer Soccer.
Adam Najem, MF, Clifton, N.J. (Paramus Catholic HS/N.Y. Red Bulls Academy)
No. 1-ranked recruit in the state of New Jersey and No. 7 midfielder in the country, according to Top Drawer Soccer ... rated a five-star recruit by TDS ... member of the U.S. Under-18 National Team player pool ... NSCAA Boys Youth All-American ... member of the New York Red Bulls Academy of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy ... led his Under-16 Academy team to the national title in 2012 with the game-winning assist ... ranked No. 35 on ESPNHS's Top 150 Class of 2013.
Tyler Sanda, MF, North Royalton, Ohio (St. Ignatius HS/Internationals SC)
NSCAA High School All-American ... rated 13th-best prospect in the Great Lakes Region and a four-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer ... Ohio's co-Player of the Year in Division I and a first-team all-state honoree ... named Mr. Soccer for 2012 by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association ... first-team All-Greater Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Player of the Year ... finished his high school career with 29 goals, including seven game-winners, and 19 assists ... led the powerhouse Wildcats program, which won the national championship in 2010, to a collective record of 82-3-3 ... played club soccer for the Internationals SC of the US Soccer Development Academy.
Ismail Seremba, F, London, England (Chelsea Academy)
Ugandan descent, London-born ... with the Chelsea Academy since the Under-13's... debuted in the Chelsea Under 18-team during the 2010-11 season, scoring two goals in seven appearances ... made 24 appearances, including 11 starts, the following season and found the back of the net five times ... also made three appearances in reserve matches.
Victor Souto, MF, Sao Paolo, Brazil (Sport Club Corinthians Paulista)
Developed in Corinthians prestigious youth academy for 10 years ... captain of Corinthians Youth National Championship squad in 2009.
ISN's University of Akron men's soccer coverage is proudly presented by Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®. Cruise? All-Inclusive? Vegas? Call Bob Hasinski at 440-724-3513 for a great deal on a vacation of a lifetime! Bob can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You won't be sorry if you book your next vacation with Bob Hasinski and Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®.
ISN Stars of Coaching Presented by Korrio - April 2013
Content by Gary L. Moody Jr.
Photos by Joey Craven
Brandon Ponchak is always up for a challenge. He has gained a reputation as the go-to coach in non-traditional markets. We are talking about places where soccer is still gaining ground, in markets without professional teams, and in places where people say soccer can’t grow. You might as well call him “The Johnny Appleseed of Soccer” for all the work he has done to push the beautiful game forward.
“I really enjoy going to non-traditional markets because there are always hungry minds and desire for getting better,” Ponchak stated. “Sometimes the biggest struggle is trying to implement something new and different with the area soccer development because many people don’t like change. It is easier to continue what has always been done, but it’s important for the leadership to know that development should be the number one aspect.”
This journey has take him from different parts of Ohio to the Dakotas, and now to Kansas. Ponchak recently left his position with NPSL side Zanesville Athletic to become the head men’s soccer coach at NAIA Sterling College.
Ponchak has gotten it done at every level. He served as an assistant at Dakota Wesleyan University and Bluffton University.
His time at Dakota Wesleyan was particularly memorable for Ponchak. He worked with both the men’s and women’s sides with the latter having incredible success. The women’s team went 21 games unbeaten, winning their conference in the reglar season before winning the conference tournament. They even made a national tournament appearance in what Ponchak described as “a fun season.”
But who actually goes to the Dakotas for soccer? Ponchak did and it changed his perspective on the beautiful game.
“It didn’t take me long to realize that if you are involved in soccer there, you know every soccer person and player.”
Why you might ask? Because roughly 30 high schools in South Dakota and less than 20 high schools in North Dakota actually offer soccer. South Dakota was the last state high school association to sanction high school soccer.
Kansas is clearly a bigger market, one with an ever popular MLS franchise and a beautiful new stadium. But soccer across the state is overall still a work in progress, something Ponchak knows all about.
“There are positive aspects to being in non-traditional soccer markets, and the biggest one for me is the impact on kids’ lives.”
Ponchak even spent time at the middle and high school level at Lexington Christian Academy (KY) and with youth clubs like Dakota Blue SC (Mitchell, SD) and Bluegrass SC (Versailles, KY).
He also was on the staff of the USL PRO Charlotte Eagles as a camp coach and director. This was in addition to his work with the Dayton Dutch Lions, where he evaluated players at tryouts and worked on broadcasts.
It is easy to say that he has seen the game from many different perspectives in many different places.
His own experiences as a player growing up in Southern Ohio were paramount to his development into an exemplary coach.
“Southern Ohio soccer is ripe with talent, but sometimes it may not be the prettiest. The players always work hard though. That’s the culture there. It is more rural and blue-collar, so the players grow up hard working in everything they do.”
Ponchak had success of his own as a player. He remembers several events quite fondly: helping his high school team get its first-ever shutout while recording 33 saves, traveling to Sweden to play in the Gothia Cup, and helping his college get their first-ever conference tournament championship.
But who influenced him and ultimately inspired him to build a career in the game he loves? Ponchak credits his father for building a mentality and work ethic that has driven him as both a player and coach.
A quote from Bill Shankly rang true for Ponchak: "Coaches do not make great players; mothers and fathers make great players."
Former teammates and players have also been a driving force for Ponchak.
He spoke fondly of former teammate Seth Dille, who was born with cerebral palsy.
“He has the biggest heart of anyone I know. Nothing negatively affects him and he doesn’t let anything hold him back. He is in the U.S. National Paralympic Soccer Team pool. Everyone needs to be around Seth; he’ll put a smile on everyone’s faces.”
Former DWU player Jason “Jay” Roddy is another source of inspiration.
“Jay had a stroke in his 3rd day with the team. He was in incredible shape and then the tragedy happened. The positive thing is Jay lived and has made a near-full recovery. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.”
And not a day goes by where Ponchak doesn’t have an impact on the game we all love. Inspiring players, providing a quality training environment, sharing passion, and developing players on and off the field are all parts of his game.
Korrio understands it is your passion for coaching kids that drives you. We also know that the less time you spend dealing with administrative, communication and automation hassles, and the more time you spend on the field, the happier you’ll be. And because you play a crucial role in our children’s lives, we want you spending as much time as possible coaching our kids. Korrio offers a modern approach to coaching by allowing new ways to communicate and develop a community on and off the field. Congratulations to the ISN Star of Coaching this month.
Answering the Call: Why Supporters Still Matter
By Gary L. Moody Jr.
The worst nightmare of a supporter is to see their club go away. But great joy can be found again by bringing that club back to life.
Sports betting sites are a great way to enjoy international football, especially matches in England.
Ralph Burditt knows this firsthand as the first Chairman of AFC Rushden & Diamonds, a phoenix club created out of the ashes of a well-known English club called Rushden & Diamonds.
Like many clubs, R&D suffered greatly during the football recession and swiftly disappeared. Supporters were left without their hometown club and had a big decision to make: try to save the existing club or start from scratch. The huge debts made it difficult to keep the original club alive so they decided to start over, creating an entirely new organization in the process. It is a proven method, considering the meteoric rise of AFC Wimbledon into the Football League.
“AFC Wimbledon is a very inspirational club,” Burditt declared. ”The supporters were dealt a great wrong by the football community and the FA. There were a lot of people needed to make things right. They have had outlandish success.”
Wimbledon expects promotion every other year, a lofty goal that has been met so far, but many obstacles lay ahead. AFC R&D have goals of their own, none higher than sustainability. The club, which is focused on the community, has 26 teams (including men’s and women’s squads) already in place. The purpose is to develop local players to play in their first team and beyond.
Burditt also hopes the club will eventually have a ground to call their own as they currently share a ground over 5 miles away.
“We hope to give rise to the construction of a facility that will provide much-needed sporting facilities in the area,” Burditt continued.
The strength of support in the Rushden and Irthlingborough area was noted by a recent match that drew 1157 fans, a bright spot in AFC R&D’s inaugural season.
That season has been a success by all accounts, considering they currently sit at third place in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Division One table.
Developing young players has been a priority and it has been a job well done so far. Alfie Taylor and Joe Merrill are the first names that come to mind when discussing players that have the ability to progress up the pyramid. Louis Smith, Ashley Foulger, Sam Brown, and Elliot Dent are other young players with lots of talent.
Simply put, the future of AFC Rushden & Diamonds is bright. Maybe, just maybe the club can relive the biggest successes of their former selves. For Burditt, the best memory was Duane Darby scoring 2 against Kettering Town in 2001. This time around maybe it will be one of AFC R&D’s young stars that will score an iconic goal.
America's Next Great Hope: Terrence Boyd
This is part 2 of the European Soccer Experience as ISN's own Kris Reid visited Rapid Vienna, home of U.S. national teamer Terrence Boyd. He was treated to a training session, a tour of the city, and a lot of football talk with one of our sport's biggest young stars.
Kris takes it from here.
Kris Reid: So I´ll be honest, I didn't necessarily know too much about the Austrian league until recently.
Terrence Boyd: Me neither! This is one of the biggest clubs in Austria. They are like the Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga or Real Madrid of La Liga.
KR: I was maybe a little unaware of the details of the Austrian league until lately, but it appears as though this club is a big deal here.
TB: I didn't really follow this league until I was signed over the summer, but I am quite satisfied so far.
KR: You had your bicycle kick a few weeks back. Pretty awesome stuff so far.
TB: It is a bit of luck, too, you know. In practice, it doesn't always work, but this time it did. It's crazy.
KR: What prompted you to play for the U.S. Men's National team as opposed to Germany?
TB: The U.S., they cared for me. They brought me in for the Under 20's. And then it was the first time I was able to play for the national team and then I got my passport ready. I mean I'm a big fan of the States. I love the States and I want to live there after my career. But in Europe it's all about soccer. The level is highest in Europe. I love the States. For me, it's the grandest country, the best country. I'm really so proud to be able to represent them. It's not something everyone gets to do.
KR: I feel like you're part of the next generation of people who are going to start representing the USA internationally because historically we haven't had a great soccer culture relative to the Europeans.
TB: I think it's one of the countries that is developing the fastest. With every big event, with every World Cup it's getting bigger. I mean there is so much potential there. There is a huge population and so many great athletes. Like, if some of the kids who normally played American football started playing soccer, you know. There are so many gifted athletes in the states. If the USA treated soccer like Europe does, I think the USA would be the best.
But I am a big American football fan, too. My family, when I met them for the first time in ten years, my father was an Olympic qualifier. I invited them to the U.S. soccer camp. The evening we played, my grandpa was like “I have no idea what soccer is about, but just do your best.” They don't really take it seriously in the States. It's funny!
KR: Would you ever consider playing for a German team?
TB: Well, of course I want to play for a German club, but I want to represent the USA internationally. After the Antigua match, my fourth U.S. match, Peter (the media relations director for Rapid Vienna) asked me, “Do you really want to do this?” And I said, “Of course, one hundred percent.” But of course, I want to play in the German league. To me, it is the best league in the world.
I mean, if you look at the EPL, it is the same five teams. And the other teams are just kicking long balls and it's a rough game. But in the Bundesliga, there are maybe eight really good clubs. They are all really good and competitive. You never know who can win. You never know what can happen.
KR: I think any year, any team on any given day can beat another team.
TB: Of course, Bayern is the biggest deal, and Shalke and Dortmund, too. They are always at the top.
KR: But they could always lose to any other team, like Bremen.
TB: That's true. It's crazy!
KR: So you are set on the German Bundesliga?
TB: Not really. My favorite club is Arsenal so that would be a dream come true.
ISN: You are on a three-year contract with Rapid Vienna.
TB: Right. I didn't come here to stay only a couple of months, or to leave after one season. You never know what the future brings. First, I have to play good and create options. Of course, if you want to be one of the best, you have to play for the best teams and against the best teams. Right now, I am still progressing, still developing.
KR: In your first game over the summer, you scored two goals. Crazy!
TB: Yeah. It is crazy. But there are still times where I didn't score (for five matches), but in the last match I scored again. It's crazy for me because I've been a reserve team player and now the media is saying, “What's wrong with Boyd? Why isn't he scoring?” After I scored the bicycle kick, they gave me some nicknames like Air Boyd. I say calm down because you never know what could happen.
KR: Back to USA soccer culture, you said it will continue to progress.
TB: Yes, I think in ten to twenty years, I hope, the USA will move towards the top twenty leagues in the world. Maybe even top ten, you never know. The potential is there.
KR: I think so, too. What about the Jamaica game?
TB: We lost the first one, which shouldn't happen. The second match we won. And then we just beat Antigua, so that's good. It was crazy because we changed the system after the first loss. Things happened. We were, like, not scared, but just maybe they overpowered us in the first match. Fresh at every tackle, everyone versus one battle. They recovered well, extremely fast.
KR: So I know your team is tied for second in the Austrian league with the team you play on Sunday (Austria Wien), making it a big match.
TB: Even if it's the last place team, it's always an important game. Like, in the last game, we lost three to nil. And if we lose at home, it's crazy. They told us not to go out on the street.
KR: Do you have a routine when preparing? A favorite song?
TB: The same songs before, yes. Right now, Aesop Rock and Sol.
KR: What about the team? Did they take you in as part of the family?
TB: I prefer to talk about music (laughs). No, it's been good. They integrated me. I still feel like I'm in Germany because we speak the same language. Many things are similar. I feel comfortable here.
After the interview Terrence drove me around Vienna and we talked about music and he showed me the sights. He treated me to lunch and a coffee at Starbucks. An incredible gesture from a rising star in the game of football. I would not be surprised if he becomes a household name in the soccer community in the next few years.