Category: Blog

Goals from Deminguet and Ndaw Give AFC Mobile 1-0 Victory Over Florida Roots

Photo Credit: Seth Laubinger

AFC Mobile returned to winning ways in Panama City with a 2-1 victory of Florida Roots Futbol Club

The Azaleas created several chances in the first half, with Iba Ndaw and Ronaldo Fortune nearly finding the back of the net. However, Roots goalkeeper Zach Moenter put on a stellar goalkeeping display to keep the score level at 0-0, heading into halftime.

“In the first half, we competed. Did we execute the tactics we wanted against them? I don’t think so. No, to the level I was hoping for. We still created opportunities. We should have been one up at halftime.” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said.

The start of the second half saw Mobile’s Soane Deminguet and Jackson Wheatley enter the match. This was the first game back for both players after dealing with injury troubles. Both substitutes immediately made their presence known by performing a nice bit of linkup play, but Roots easily cleared their chance.

Deminguet opened the scoring in the 57th minute after Eddie Dakwa played a long diagonal ball to Ronaldo Fortune. Fortune slipped the ball to Deminguet and ripped a shot from outside the box and past Moenter to give the Azaleas a 1-0 lead.

“We (Deminguet and Fortune) have a pretty good connection together. We try to connect together. He saw a little pocket, so he put it to me. On my first touch, I saw a defender coming right at me, so I put my position forward and felt like I had to shoot.” Deminguet said.

The Azaleas doubled their tally in the 72nd minute when goalkeeper Salvador Plaza played a long ball the bounced right in front of Iba Ndaw, who slotted the ball home.

Florida Roots was able to get one goal back in the 78th minute. Mobile’s Salia Carr was called for a handball in the box, and Liam Kearns put the ball past Plaza. However, it was too late to make a difference, and the Azaleas brought back a 2-1 win to Mobile.

AFC Mobile Falls to Southern States 1-0

Photo Credit: Riley Navarre

AFC Mobile lost 1-0 to Southern States SC on Wednesday night in Mobile. The Stars took the lead late in the first half after being stifled by a new-look AFC Mobile backline, which saw head coach Steve Wieczorek play five at the back for the first time this season.

“I think we were tremendous tonight to be quite honest. We were competitive, we were mature, we did all the things that we needed to do except get the one goal we were playing for,” Wieczorek said. 

It was apparent that the Azaleas were expecting a high pressing match from the visiting Stars. Southern States controlled the ball for the early part of the match, but the Azaleas’ backline frustrated the Stars and kept them from finding the back of the net. However, the Stars took the lead late in the first half when Danny Reynolds sent a low-rolling cross into the box that was slotted home by Julian Avila 

“We expected them to come hard. That wasn’t an easy game,” AFC Mobile captain Thierry Zabarel said.  “Overall we did a great job, but little mistakes make the difference. But we have another game on Saturday, so we’ve got to focus.” 

The Azaleas made two changes to start the second half, bringing Darius Rashid and Ronaldo Fortune in for Eddie Dakwa and Karl Mbouombouo. Southern States dominated much of the possession, but continued to be frustrated by Mobile’s defense. The Azaleas received a much needed spark in the 60th minute when Ronaldo Fortune hit the Stars on a counter-attack while Southern States keeper Hector Grajeda was off his line. However, Fortune’s shot did not challenge the keeper as it went just left of the goal.  

In the 80th minute Mobile subbed on Iba Ndaw for Blake Palmquist and Chisom Ogbonna for Andrew Rhoda. With this substitution, Ogbonna became the all-time leading appearance leader for AFC Mobile. 

“Coming into the game, I heard a lot of screaming, but I don’t know what to say, but I love them all and I’m so happy to be here,” Ogbonna said. I’m trying to give everything I have to the team, to the community, to the fans. I love them so much.” 

Along with holding the all-time appearance record for the club, Ogbonna also is the all-time goal scoring leader. Coach Wieczorek sang Ogbonna’s praises after the match. 

“When you get the opportunity to work with players with such integrity and class, and [who] cares so much about the club and puts the club first in all their actions and all the things that they do, I’m just very very pleased with him,” Wieczorek said. He’s a very important fixture for the club and I’m very happy to have worked with him and I hope for more time with him because he’s the type of person that the young players need to emulate and look to be someday.” 

AFC Mobile is currently level on points with Pensacola FC in fourth place. The Azaleas welcome the 59ers to The Lip this Saturday night at 7 p.m. 

AFC Mobile Draws New Orleans Jesters 1-1

Photo Credit: Michael Shartava

AFC Mobile drew the New Orleans Jesters 1-1 on Saturday night at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex to remain unbeaten at home in the 2021 season.

“The Jesters are a tried and true NPSL club. So the positives – we’ve played them twice, we’ve got two draws. They were competitive games, we’re evenly matched. Maybe they had a little bit more of it today, but again we’ve had enough chances to win games and win this game tonight. So I’m proud of the guys’ effort,” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said. 

It was an even affair in the first twenty minutes of the match with few scoring opportunities for both sides. Mobile’s Ronaldo Fortune provided a spark for the home side when goalkeeper Will Blake played a long ball out of his own box, finding the feet of Fortune in behind the New Orleans defense. Fortune was taken down in the box and the home fans clamored for a penalty, but it was not given. The Azaleas opened the scoring in the 20th minute thanks to some fantastic combination play between Fortune and midfielder Soane Deminguet. Fortune played the ball to Deminguet, who dribbled down the left wing and sent an arching cross back to Fortune at the top of the box. Fortune chested the ball down and struck it with his first touch, sending it soaring over New Orleans’ keeper Lemoy Graham and into the back of the net. 

“Credit to Soane, it was beautiful play leading up to the goal,” Fortune said. “To be fair, he played the ball to my chest and I had a good touch and I didn’t have enough time to dribble or anything, so I just thought ‘you know what? The coaches always tell me to shoot, so why not shoot.’”

Much of the first half saw New Orleans pressing hard to equalize, forcing Mobile’s goalkeeper to make a few spectacular saves to keep the home team’s lead. However, Blake was beaten in the 45th minute when New Orleans’ Sheldon Green sweetly struck a ball at the top of the box and into the Mobile net, making the match 1-1 at the half. 

It was a defensive struggle to start the second half with both teams finding space and scoring opportunities hard to come by. Mobile saw a few chances near the end of the half when Fortune played a slick, low-rolling cross to Iba Ndaw. Ndaw tried to find Fortune to complete the one-two, but the ball was easily cleared by the Jesters. Late in the match, Mobile’s Blake Palmquist was tightly marked and his shot soared over the crossbar. 

The 1-1 draw keeps Mobile in fourth place in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference standings. The Azaleas will play two home matches this week, welcome the second-place Southern States this Wednesday, and Pensacola FC on Saturday night. New South Alabama head football coach Kane Wommack will join us to do the opening coin toss on Wednesday night. Next Saturday night will be our annual Military Appreciation Night where military personnel are admitted for free with a valid ID. Tickets for both matches can be purchased here.

Richard Moodie Named Director of Coaching for the AFC Mobile Academy

Mobile, Alabama – January 15, 2021 – University of South Alabama women’s soccer coach Richard Moodie will take over as Director of Coaching for the AFC Mobile Academy. 

“I am excited to announce the hiring of Richard Moodie as the club’s new Director of Coaching,” said Steve Wieczorek, AFC Mobile Academy technical director and first-team head coach. “It was clear to me in our work together last fall that he was the right person to lead our coaching staff and to instill our club philosophy and game model throughout the Academy.” 

Richard Moodie has been the head coach of the South Alabama women’s soccer team since December 2016. In his three seasons with the program, Moodie has led the Jaguars to two Sun Belt Conference regular-season titles and two Sun Belt Conference tournament titles. Three players from Moodie’s stint at South Alabama have played first division soccer in Europe: two in the Cypriot First Division, and one for Tottenham Hotspur of England’s FA Women’s Super League. 

“I am extremely grateful to Steve and the board for presenting this opportunity to me. Soccer in our community is growing at a rapid pace. Our goal is to provide another platform for our youth to grow both as people and soccer players.” 

With the appointment, AFC Mobile Academy’s boys director Ruben Risco will continue to serve in an advisory role, and will maintain his role as a first-team assistant and club ambassador. 

“Ruben is a valued and loyal member of our coaching team. He stepped in for us as we were getting our Academy off the ground, and provided an invaluable service to us. We’re glad to keep him on board, while finding a long-term solution for the Director of Coaching position club-wide.” Wieczorek said. 

Moodie is no stranger to the AFC Mobile Academy. He has been a member of the Academy project from day one, and last fall, he coached the club’s 2006 girls team. 

“With this being our first year as a club, it has been enjoyable to watch the growth in such a short period of time. Our goal is to create a player-centered program and maximize the potential of everyone in the club. I hope to work with our coaching staff to help achieve these goals.”

As Director of Coaching, Moodie will be assisting Wieczorek as the two college coaches working to implement a club-wide vision of tactical, technical, and values-based instruction – on and off the field.

“Coach Moodie and I plan to be very hands-on, working every day to continue to improve our club standards as we strive to create an elite playing experience, centered on individual player development and goal attainment through soccer,” Wieczorek said. 

AFC Mobile To Assume Management of Mobile County Soccer Complex

AFC Mobile has agreed with Mobile County to assume management of the recently opened Mobile County Soccer Complex, beginning October 1st. 

“We’re grateful the County has entrusted us with the management of this Complex, and look forward to managing it as it grows into one of the top facilities in the region,” AFC Mobile CFO Sean Landry said. “Special thanks is owed to Commissioner [Connie] Hudson, who has been a great partner for AFC Mobile and for the soccer community for years. Soccer in Mobile has never had more momentum than it does at this moment, and the on-going development and use of these fields will help the Mobile soccer community realize its full potential.”

The Complex, located on Halls Mill Road near the intersection of Interstates 10 and 65, formally opened in July of this year. The project, spearheaded by County Commissioner Hudson, is planned in three phases, the first of which consists of three lighted fields and an unlighted practice field. The Complex will eventually consist of 10 fields, including a FIFA-regulation championship field with seating for approximately 1,000 spectators. 

AFC Mobile’s vision for the complex includes drawing regional and national soccer tournaments to the city of Mobile as well as creating unique programming to ensure the fields are highly utilized and valuable to everyone in Mobile County. Furthermore, AFC Mobile hopes to ensure the complex is the destination for soccer in Mobile by making the complex available and affordable to all users in the area for practices, games, and tournaments. 

AFC Mobile Beats Baton Rouge 7-2 In Final Preseason Test

Behind four goals from Iba Ndaw, AFC Mobile rolled over Baton Rouge United 7-2 in their final preseason test before the 2019 Gulf Coast Premier League campaign.

“Iba’s job is to bounce to the ball in the middle third of the field, and then get in the box and put it in the back of the net, and today he did exactly that,” said AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek.

Ndaw opened the scoring in the seventh minute with an assist from his former Spring Hill College teammate, club vice captain Tilman Schober.

“I have great chemistry with Tilman. We’ve played together in a lot of games, and he understands me well, and I understand him. I’ve always enjoyed playing with him because he’s an unselfish player and he always knows where to find me,” Ndaw said. “We’re going to do a lot of good things together this year, and I’m looking forward to it.”

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Tillman Schober and Iba Ndaw celebrate after a goal. Photo: Seth Laubinger

Ndaw netted his second in the 21st minute after getting on the end of a ball from Sam Blackburn, and he completed his hat trick by scoring in the 28th minute.

“It’s always a fun time playing in front of the home crowd, and after our first two preseason games we owed it to them to turn up today,” Ndaw said.

Baton Rouge scored an own goal in the 34th minute. Just three minutes later, Blackburn scored his first career goal for AFC Mobile with an assist from Chisom Ogbonna. The Azaleas took a 6-0 lead into the half after Ndaw scored his fourth and final goal of the match.

“I think he could’ve scored more goals,” Wieczorek said. “That’s been the big thing with Iba. He is capable of so much, and we just need to continue to drive that out of him.”

The match quieted down after a mass substitution for the Azaleas to start the second half. Baton Rouge United got on the board in the 83rd minute. However, the Azaleas responded just three minutes later with a goal from the club’s all-time leading goalscorer Chisom Ogbonna. Baton Rouge pulled one more back in the 90th minute and the match finished 7-2 in favor of the home team.

“In the second half, although we did concede two, we had a lot of the ball which shows we’re good in possession,” Wieczorek said. “Yes, some negatives to concede, especially when we’re well on top like that, gives us some things that we can improve on going into our first game.”

AFC Mobile will kick off the 2019 Gulf Coast Premier League season at home next week against newcomers Tallahassee Soccer Club. The match will kickoff at 7 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex. Tickets are $10, and all kids 12 and under will be admitted free. Season tickets are on sale for $40 and can be purchased here.

AFC Mobile Scores Three Goals In Three Minutes To Beat Pensacola FC

PENSACOLA–AFC Mobile scored four unanswered goals, including an improbable three within three minutes late in the game, to snatch three points from Pensacola FC in a 4-3 road win on Saturday night. 

“I’m so proud of the guys and their fight. To be down 3-0, after making some huge errors to give up those three goals, but all the credit to the guys,” coach Nate Nicholas said. “They fought hard [and] came back with some big goals by some big players.” 

The first half was a cagey affair with few real chances to challenge either keeper. Barrett Mills gave Pensacola the lead in the 43rd minute. Pensacola doubled its tally minutes later after Mobile’s Barou Ndaw came off his line in an attempt to clear the ball, but the ball fell straight to Pensacola’s Kameron Bethell who floated it into the empty net. Despite a relatively even first half, AFC Mobile went in to halftime trailing 2-0. 

Minutes after the start of the second half, Pensacola’s Gavin Gillies was able to beat the Mobile defense on a breakaway. His shot was fired toward Ndaw, who made contact but  was not able to hold on to the ball. Gillies then slotted home the rebound to give the home side a 3-0 lead. 

The Azaleas pulled their first goal back when Sherman Winchester boomed down the right-hand side of the pitch and sent the ball into Chisom Ogbonna. Ogbonna’s shot was deflected, but Erik Aispuro picked it up and sent it through the Pensacola keeper’s legs to bring the score to 3-1. 

Mobile looked listless for much of the second half with chances coming not at all, then all at once. 

The Azaleas’ comeback started in the 84th minute after Martin Fiemawhle headed in a ball chipped in by Ogbonna from the left wing to make the score 3-2.

Off the restart, Clairy Kengeye ran at the Pensacola defense and slotted the equalizer past the Pensacola keeper in the 85th.

“After I missed one at the goals I felt like I really needed to redeem myself and I felt like it was a good time to get one more since the team was hyped,” Kengeye said.  

The winner was scored by Ogbonna, Mobile’s leading goal-scorer just one minute after Kengeye’s goal. Ogbonna was played in by Aispuro on the left wing, cut into the box and fired a curling shot into the back of the net to give the Azaleas the 4-3 win, sending his goalkeeper, bench, coach and the busful of onlooking AFC Mobile fans into a frenzy.

“We had all the momentum completely shifted to our side,” Nicholas said. “It just kind of snowballed; it was one after another after another… After we scored the fourth, we could have scored a fifth right after,” Nicholas said. “It was like there was one team playing the last ten minutes, and it was us.”

A sizable contingent of Mobile fans made the trip east on I-10 and turned Ashton Brosnaham into their temporary home with celebrations lasting long after the lights went out. 

“I want to thank the fans,” said Nicholas. “They are so awesome. We were 3-0 down and they kept pushing us. What a great gift to have awesome fans like them. We appreciate everything they do.”

AFC Mobile’s next match is Wednesday, June 20th against Port City FC in Gulfport, Mississippi. This first leg of the 2018 Forgotten Coast Cup is a makeup date for the originally scheduled match that was postponed due to weather.  The Azaleas will return to The Lip this Saturday night to face GCPL out-of-conference opponent Alexandria FC. Kickoff for that game is at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23rd at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile. Tickets are just $5 and children 12 and under are admitted free.

Getting to Know You: Northshore United FC

The return of AFC Mobile to the Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium is upon us. On Saturday, April 28th, the Azaleas open up the Lip as they take on GCPL debutant Northshore United FC at 7:00 pm. After facing off against one of the more historic amateur sides in the country, AFC Mobile will meet a fellow GCPL team in preseason action. This will be Northshore United’s first match after their inaugural year in which they competed in friendly matches against several GCPL teams.

CLUB: Northshore United FC

NICKNAME: United

Northshore United will look for a productive start in its inaugural GCPL season.  United is setup up like a traditional PDL team with more college players than local talent.  The club was created with hopes to fill the gap between the end of youth club competitive play and the professional level.  The Covington, Louisiana based team played seven friendlies last summer finishing with a 6-1 record in friendlies including against several GCPL and GCPL reserve sides.

The club held its final open tryout on Saturday, April 21, leaving one week of preparation for this weekend’s match.  “My expectations are just for continued growth,” said Head Coach Nick Chetta.  “To give an opportunity for some guys to show their abilities and hopefully find some to help us to be successful this year,” Chetta added.

NUFC will also get its first taste of a large GCPL crowd.  “I don’t know if any of our players have experienced an environment like AFC Mobile,” said NUFC Captain Sal Bavido.  “It should be exciting and a bit nerve-racking for us.  I’m sure we’ll settle in after ten minutes of playing, but definitely looking forward to the atmosphere and the experience.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sal Bavido, who serves as the team captain, will be pulling strings for the Northshore attack in the midfield. Meanwhile, the defensive prowess and leadership of NUFC’s 2017 MVP Pat Rye will prove invaluable as they enter Sweet Lunacy’s County Seat for the 2018 home debut of AFC Mobile.

The club can be found at www.northshoreutd.com and on twitter @northshoreutd.

Tickets to Saturday’s game are just $5 each, and all kids 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.  There is still time to purchase season tickets giving you admission to all seven home games for only $27!  All AFC Mobile home games are played at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Conference located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile.

Getting to Know You: Atlanta Silverbacks FC

Saturday, May 14th, AFC Mobile kick off their preseason with a trip to the confines of Silverback Park to take on the Atlanta Silverbacks of the National Premier Soccer League. This will be a tough test for the Azaleas as they begin on their path towards the Gulf Coast Premier League regular season. There are few teams in the southeastern United States like the Silverbacks. In fact, there are few teams in American soccer like them. Atlanta Silverback supporter Paul F. Scanling breaks down why the Silverbacks are special in American soccer and what AFC Mobile can expect to see when they make the trek to historic Silverback Park.

CLUB: Atlanta Silverbacks FC

NICKNAME: Silverbacks

HOME: Atlanta Silverback Park, 3200 Atlanta Silverbacks Way, Atlanta, GA 30340

HISTORY: The Atlanta Silverbacks trace their history back to the Atlanta Ruckus, which began play in 1995. The name change came in the fall of 1998 to honor longtime Zoo Atlanta icon Willie B., a silverback gorilla named after former Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield.  The club has participated in the A League, the USL and the NASL in the past and now competes in the NPSL.  The club plays at Silverbacks Park, located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285, also known as Spaghetti Junction.

Twice losers to the Seattle Sounders in the championship round, the Silverbacks have also made it to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup, beating both Colorado and Real Salt Lake in that competition.  USMNT Legend Eric Wynalda managed the Silverbacks during that run.  The current version of the club has won trophies the last two seasons in the NPSL.
The Silverbacks have reached an agreement with the Silverbacks Trust to facilitate fan ownership, making the Silverbacks one of only a few teams in America that are focused on and supporting fan ownership.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Keka Kamara – the United Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and first team All-American, will undoubtedly be a player climbing the American soccer pyramid. Meanwhile, new captain Sheriff Suma, returning players Abdul Bangura, and Mohammed Issahaku will also test the Azaleas early and often.  In goal, Bryce Billington returns to the Backs after a year playing with the Georgia Revolution.

The club can be found at www.atlantasilverbacksfc.com, on twitter @atlsilverbacks and has a YouTube channel.  The Trust can be found online at asfctrust.org and on Twitter at @asfctrust.

Shatarva

Fan Reaction: Nervous Energy

No one knew exactly what to expect at the home opener for AFC Mobile. But the AFC Mobile’s supporters group, the Causeway Rebellion, and its Red Leader were exceptionally nerve wracked awaiting the first ever game.

In this Fan Reaction, supporter Michael Shartava recounts how the first ever AFC Mobile match surpassed his own expectation and how a soccer culture in need of an outlet took hold and took off.

AFC Mobile is the epitome of a grassroots club.

I wake up early on a Mother’s Day Sunday. Typically I like to sleep in on weekends, but am wide awake today. I am nervous as hell… On my TV Barcelona has won 2-0 but today is not about the Blaugrana or professional football. Today AFC Mobile plays its inaugural match in the Gulf Coast Premier League against our neighbor, Pensacola’s Gulf Coast Texans (currently rebranded as Pensacola FC). The first high end football match in Mobile for more than ten years.

AFC Mobile is the epitome of a grassroots club. Owned and operated by local enthusiasts, AFCM has given the footballing community a sense of identity and camaraderie. Our players were recruited from the South Alabama Soccer Association (adult city league) and area schools. Volunteers and owners’ families make up the stadium and club staff. The board of directors even reached out to every youth club in Mobile and invited their kids to mascot for the team during pregame introductions. My seven-year-old nephew will always remember walking out with AFC Mobile for their first match ever.

There is a ragtag group of scoundrels and low lives for a supporters group, it’s called the Causeway Rebellion; I was drafted in as Red Leader (Red, cause I’m Russian, get it?). At The Lip, our stadium, flags fly for every nationality (what’s up to the Serengeti Boys) in our club and an all inclusive attitude is promoted. During the season we honored our little hero Bradley Lowery after his fight with neuroblastoma and always speak out loudly against all forms of racism and extremism; its a powerful outlet.

That is what got me so nervous this morning. Will anyone show up to the match? Can we create an atmosphere of support and energy for our lads? Will Gold Leader bring any Malört?

Nervous energy…

Cup of coffee. Nicotine. Chill out man, it will be good!

I arrive to the stadium an hour and a half early with my nephew to get ready for the walkouts and there is already a crowd forming in the stands… holy crap this is going to be big. Nervous energy turns into excitement and adrenaline, I feel this pressure cooker about to blow!

The match flies by in the blink of an eye. There are over 800 fans, singing, screaming, chanting, and willing our team forward. The energy in the stadium makes the hairs on my arms stand up. Mobile “turn’t up” with drums, trumpets, CONCH SHELLS, vuvuzelas, loud speakers, two poles, banners, you name it! The noise was unreal. Somewhere in the chaos, Moises Muhubao scored our first goal ever and was eternally immortalized in lore. It was like we won the Champions League! The owners were crying tears of joy! An amazing evening.

Afterward I had a moment to reflect on the day and what it meant to me. I came to the conclusion that this is what has been missing from my life. Football has been my love since childhood, but my Russian parents wanted me to play chess and study, ha, ha, ha. I went to my first match (Bundesliga, 2006) when I was an adult but I have been a passionate fan of Brazil’s Seleção since World Cup USA in ’94 and FC Barcelona shortly after that (most of my favorite Brazilians played at Barca). I was a long distance fan. A lone wolf…

After Mother’s Day 2017, I gained a pack of crazy, like-minded FANATIC brothers and sisters. A sense of identity and belonging. The coming together of the African, Latino, and Balkan immigrant communities with old Mobile. I can sing and chant at home matches and take away-days with the Causeway Rebellion on The War Wagon; I was meant to do this!

I hope you’re ready for next season, because we are going to be louder, stronger and still crazy as hell in those stands. There will be big tifo displays, choreography, and of course high decibels of noise.

Join the Rebellion!

Red Leader, out.

#AlwaysMobileALwaysHome
#AFCMobile
#CausewayRebellion