Category: Press Release

AFC Mobile Defeats Tallahassee SC 6-2

AFC Mobile finished their second NPSL season with a thrilling 6-2 win over Tallahassee Soccer Club on Saturday night in Mobile.  Forward Ronaldo Fortune scored half of Mobile’s goals on the night, netting the first hat trick for the club in the NPSL.

The visitors opened the scoring in the second minute of the match when Sy Fontenot slotted home a low-rolling shot off a quick restart after a foul outside the penalty area.  The Azaleas equalized five minutes later in the ninth minute after a long ball from the backfield that found the feet of Fortune, who scored his first of the night.  

The Azaleas doubled their tally in the 13th minute after a charging Jose Reis played a low-rolling rocket of a cross that was turned into the net by Chris Salamatou.

Fortune doubled his tally on the night after picking up a Tallahassee giveaway in the 37th minute.  In the 42nd minute, the referee showed Eddie Dakwa a straight red card for the denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity for Tallahassee.  The Azaleas went into the locker room at halftime up 3-1 but down to 10 men. 

Shortly after the start of the second half, Tallahassee won the ball in midfield and strung together a few passes that found the feet of Sy Fontenot, who scored his second goal of the night, cutting Mobile’s lead to one.  The Azaleas scored their fourth goal in the 67th minute after a long ball from Mobile keeper Will Blake was headed into the feet of Salamatou who scored his second goal of the match, bringing the score to 4-2.  

Fortune completed his hat trick in the 88th minute.  Mobile’s Iba Ndaw, who in Wednesday night’s game in Pensacola tied Chisom Ogbonna for the most goals in the club’s history, stepped up to take a free kick from a few yards outside of the box.  Ndaw’s shot was saved, but Fortune slotted home the rebound to bring the score to 5-2. 

“We haven’t had the greatest season,” Fortune said. “We’ve faced a lot of adversity, and today was just the boys coming out and putting on a big performance for the people that have stuck with us this whole season.  And yeah, I scored three goals, but the most important thing was playing our last game together, playing for the badge, playing for AFC Mobile, and honestly playing for Mobile in general.”

Mobile scored their sixth and final goal of the night in the 93rd minute when Edy Gael played the ball to Fortune down the right wing.  Fortune sent the ball into the box to find Gael who slotted the ball home.  Minutes later, the referee blew the whistle, and the match ended 6-2. 

AFC Mobile finished the season in fifth place, just outside of the Gulf Coast Conference playoff spots with 13 points. 

AFC Mobile Falls 1-2 to Pensacola FC

AFC Mobile’s playoff dreams have officially come to an end after falling 2-1 to Pensacola FC at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex on Wednesday night.

The Azaleas opened the scoring in the 36th minute when Diego Candía played a long ball to Jose Reis, booming down the right wing.  Reis attempted to send the ball into Chris Salamatou, but Reis’ ball was deflected by a Pensacola defender.  Iba Ndaw struck the deflected ball at the top of the penalty area and rocketed the ball into the back of the net, giving the Azaleas a 1-0 lead. The goal was Ndaw’s 21st for the Azaleas, tying him with Chisom Ogbonna on the club’s all-time goalscoring list. 

“Being from here, I’m very proud to have played for this club,” Ndaw said, “I’m happy to be a small part of the history.  I’m really glad to have tied the record and gone down with a club legend like Chisom Ogbonna.  It’s always been a great time playing here in front of our amazing fans.” 

Pensacola FC did not trail for long.  In the 41st minute, Mobile’s Salia Carr was shown a yellow card after bringing down a Pensacola player inside the penalty area on a Mobile counterattack. Mikey Lightbourne stepped up and slotted home the penalty for the visitors, leveling the score at 1-1. 

After feeling some soreness during halftime, Mobile’s goalkeeper Gui Altoé came off for Will Blake to start the second half.  The match saw few chances for either side in the second half. Pensacola took the lead in the 70th minute after a quick counterattack from Pensacola resulted in a goal from Anthony Ciccarello. 

The 2-1 loss cements the playoff positions in the NPSL’s Gulf Coast Conference with Jacksonville Armada FC U23 and Southern States Soccer Club hosting first-round matches after finishing first and second.  The New Orleans Jesters finished in third place and will travel to Hattiesburg to take on Southern States while Pensacola will travel to Jacksonville to take on the top-seeded Armada.  AFC Mobile will close the season at home this Saturday night against Tallahassee Soccer Club. 

AFC Mobile Takes a 1-4 Loss Against Southern States SC

AFC Mobile traveled to Oak Grove, Mississippi to face a red hot Southern States SC team, taking their just their second loss in five games, and ending their 3 game unbeaten streak Wednesday evening. 

The game opened in light rain which continued for most of the game, making the grass wet on top with the ball skipping on the surface even though conditions underfoot were near perfect. 

Both the Azaleas and Stars proceeded to play progressive soccer.  During the first 20 minutes the Oak Grove outfit had the better of possession as Mobile found it difficult to pass through the center of the Stars’ defensive lines.

The Stars produced a few long-range efforts that troubled Mobile goalkeeper Will Blake and eventually one of those efforts was rebounded off Blake, who after making a diving save, parried the ball into the center of the goal for a completely free Clayton Adams to score into open net.  This would give the Stars the lead. The half ended with little incident as both the Stars and Azaleas toiled to create scoring chances.

The Stars started the second half on the front foot with several attacking excursions into Mobile territory coming up short.  The visitors were struggling to impress in the opening minutes. 

In the 54th minute, Stars head coach Carl Reynolds was ejected from the game on a second yellow card. 

Mobile leveled the score at 1-1 within three minutes of the ejection.  The Stars failed to cut out a right-wing cross, and Christopher Salamatou rose to head home at the far post. 

The intensity of the game certainly rose as the Azaleas gained confidence and the crowd started to engage.  Four minutes later, in almost identical fashion to the Mobile goal, Sheldon Green headed home Manu Ferriol’s assist to restore his team’s lead at 2-1.  In the 67th minute the visitors found themselves behind 3-1 as a high ball from the left, off Green, evaded Blake and dropped behind him into the net. 

The Stars never lost control of the game after that and continued to blunt the Mobile attacks while creating more chances of their own.  It was inevitable that there would be several substitutions which only proceeded to break up the continuity of the game.

However, the Stars managed to help themselves to one more goal and put an exclamation point on the score when Green swept the ball home in the 82nd minute.  For Green it was a second-half hat trick.

“I don’t think the scoreline fully reflects the full game,” said Mobile assistant coach Desmond Ibie. “We had opportunities, but the finishing was just slightly off. Southern States is one of the premier teams in our conference and credit to them for taking full advantage of the situation, particularly after their coach was sent off. All we can do now is look towards Jacksonville and keep ourselves in the playoff hunt.”

Southern States SC improved to 8-2-0 on a six-game winning streak while AFC Mobile dropped to 3-5-1.  The Stars secured their grip on second place in the conference but need help if they are to overcome leaders Jacksonville Armada FC U-23.  New Orleans, Pensacola FC, Mobile, and the Florida Roots are now competing for the two other playoff spots.

AFC Mobile Secures a 2-0 Win Over Florida Roots FC

AFC Mobile began its four game road trip in Panama City, Florida’s Tommy Oliver Stadium against Florida Roots FC last night. With a 1-1-1 record over their last three and a game remaining in hand, AFC Mobile was still in control of its Gulf Coast Conference playoff destiny.

Mobile’s first chance came early when in the 2nd minute a defense-splitting pass from Lucas Ros found a streaking Salia Carr who went just barely wide of the goal. The match continued without any real opportunities. Though the Roots did have a few chances from deep as a back three of Elliot Dymond, Thierry Zabarel, and Sean Morfin protected Mobile goalkeeper Will Blake from facing much inside of their penalty area.

In the 17th minute, Mobile was able to break through when Ronaldo Fortune found Carr bombing forward down the left flank. Carr beat two Roots defenders before sending in a low-rolling, grounded cross to Alex Lozano who buried his shot to put the Azaleas up 1-0. This would be a lead that they would not relinquish.

Florida began mounting more pressure as Jose Reis and Carr joined the back three taking a more defensive stance to combat the Roots ability to keep the Azaleas pinned back until the 34th minute. Following a series of opportunistic Roots’ chances, Lozano received a defensive clearance from Morfin. Lozano then headed the ball to a racing Fortune, who played back an open Lozano, powering a rocket into the back of the net for his second goal, giving Mobile the 2-0 lead.

The second half brought an onslaught of Roots chances. In the 79th minute, Florida had their best chance after Mobile’s Edy Gael fouled a Roots player at the top of the penalty area. The ensuing free kick went under the wall and caused Mobile’s Blake to go full stretch to the far post in order to hold onto the ball and his first clean sheet of the season.

“This was a quality win against a good opponent,” said interim manager Brent Grube. “With players out due to suspensions and injuries, we needed some of the younger guys to step up. We got great performances from them and great work from our veteran core. We are excited about heading to Tallahassee to take on a solid side. Their fan base makes Gene Cox an absolutely electric place to play.”

AFC Mobile’s record improves to 2 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses, having only one loss in their last 4 matches. Mobile continues their road trip heading further east to Tallahassee to take on Tallahassee Soccer Club on Saturday, then to Oak Grove, MS where they will play Southern States SC on June 29th, finally wrapping up to face current conference leading Jacksonville Armada in Jacksonville on July 2nd. Mobile will conclude their regular season with a two game home stand, starting on July 6th with a match against Pensacola and concluding on July 9th at the Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium against Tallahassee SC.

AFC Mobile Falls To Southern States 2-1

Photo: Riley Ferrer/Ruby Media

Southern States Soccer Club scored twice in five minutes to beat AFC Mobile 2-1 on Saturday night. 

“I don’t think that the way the game went was really indicative of who we are and how well we played,” AFC Mobile interim manager Brent Grube said. “The second half got away from us, and we need to make sure we do a little better job of managing that.” 

The Stars held much of the early possession but could not translate control into chances. The Azaleas’ first serious opportunity came in the 25th minute on a free-kick. Ronaldo Fortune sent the ball in from the right. Alex Lozano got past the defense and on the end of the ball, but his shot sailed over the crossbar. The teams went into halftime level at 0-0. 

The Azaleas had an attack early in the second half when Ronaldo Fortune played the ball to Chris Salamatou on the counter-attack, but Salamatou could not get a shot off. Mobile keeper Gui Altoé came up with a big save in the 56th minute to keep the match level.

Fortune gave Mobile the lead in the 62nd minute after booming down the right-wing on a counterattack and slotting a low-rolling rocket of a shot into the far corner of the net. 

“We finally got him to start shooting a little bit quicker. He’s getting into the spaces a little bit better, and we’re able to get him the ball in more dangerous places,” Grube said of the Mobile forward, who has now scored three goals in three games.

The Stars equalized in the 73rd minute after a free-kick from their half was played into the box. The Azaleas attempted but could not clear the ball, which fell to the feet of the Stars’ Mason Walsh on the right side of the box. Walsh played the ball into the box, and it was headed in by the Stars’ substitute Samuel Dadzie.  Dadzie slotted home the winner in the 77th minute after a low-rolling cross from Walsh found its way through the AFC Mobile defense.  

The Azaleas finished the match with nine men, with Diego Candía receiving a red card in the 80th minute. Late into stoppage time, Mobile substitute Iba Ndaw saw a second yellow. 

AFC Mobile is heading to the Sunshine State to take on Florida Roots FC in Panama City on Thursday night and Tallahassee to take on Tallahassee Soccer Club next Saturday. Southern States will head to the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Jesters next Saturday. 

Steve Wieczorek Smiling on the Sidelines

Steve Wieczorek Steps Down As Head Coach Of AFC Mobile

AFC Mobile and head coach Steve Wieczorek have mutually agreed to part ways in light of Coach Wieczorek’s upcoming move to Albany, New York to take the reigns as head coach of the men’s soccer team at The College of Saint Rose.

“It’s been a great run over the last couple of years at AFC Mobile, but it is important for me to step down and focus on the coaching opportunity that’s ahead of me,” Wieczorek said. “And I also think it’s important for the club and for the players to have a new voice that will help us achieve the goal of reaching the conference playoffs, which I think is well within our grasp.” 

Wieczorek has been the head coach of AFC Mobile since the 2019 season. In his first season with the club, Wieczorek led AFC Mobile to postseason play for the first time in the club’s history and the highest points total in the Gulf Coast Premier League Eastern Conference. He oversaw the club’s move to the National Premier Soccer League in the 2021 season and was integral to establishing the thriving AFC Mobile Academy. 

“On behalf of the entire AFC Mobile community, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Coach Wieczorek for his years of dedication and service managing our club,” President Abram Chamberlain said. “Saint Rose is getting a brilliant soccer mind who has had a successful career as a college coach.”

Former AFC Mobile goalkeeper and current assistant coach Brent Grube will take over as caretaker manager. In his final match, Wieczorek piloted AFC Mobile to its first win of the season, a 2-0 victory over Pensacola FC in Foley on Wednesday night. 

“I want to thank the fans for their unwavering support of me and the team,” Wieczorek said. “And thanks to the players for their hard work in training, their dedication to the club, and some awesome performances this season. I’ll never forget them, and I wish the club the utmost of luck and success in the future.” 

AFC Mobile (1-0-3, 3pts, -3 GD) will host the New Orleans Jesters (3-0-2, 9pts, -1 GD) this Saturday night at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex at 7 p.m. This match is the club’s annual First Responders Night. All firefighters, police officers, and EMTs will be admitted for free.

AFC Mobile Falls to Florida Roots in Home Opener

Despite a strong performance, AFC Mobile lost 2-1 to Florida Roots on Saturday night in their first home match of the 2022 National Premier Soccer League season. 

“I’m really proud of the players. They performed. They gave everything they could. We were ball-dominant, especially in the second half,” AFC Mobile Manager Steve Wieczorek said. “But it’s hard when you give up an early goal and you’re constantly chasing the game. Similar script to our first game. We created more chances, but the same result kind of in the same way, which is tough.” 

Florida Roots opened the scoring in the second minute of the match when AFC Mobile gave the ball away in the midfield and Richard Bushmeister fired a long-range effort that beat Will Blake into the Mobile goal. Despite the rough start, the Azaleas were dominant for much of the first half, having the majority of possession and chances for the remainder of the half. The Azaleas came out in the second half just as strong with chances from Tate Richards, Lucas Ros, and Ronaldo Fortune in the first fifteen minutes.

The Azaleas equalized in the 70th minute after sustained build-up play from the midfield. Mobile’s Alex Lozano played a short pass to Lucas Ros. Ros sent the ball straight back to Lozano who threaded the Roots defense and slotted home the equalizer.

Roots scored the winner in the 82nd minute off of a corner kick. The Roots players formed a huddle at the top of the penalty area and then attacked the box and headed in the winner. 

Florida Roots move to 2-2-0 on the season. They will take on Tallahassee SC on Saturday, May 28th. AFC Mobile moves to 0-2-0 on the year. The Azaleas will return to the pitch on Wednesday night to host Pensacola FC in Mobile. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex 3610 Michael Blvd, Mobile, AL 36609. Tickets are $10 and as always kids 12 and under are admitted for free. Wednesday is also our annual Military Appreciation Night! All former and active-duty military personnel are admitted for free with a valid ID.

Match Preview: AFC Mobile vs Florida Roots

AFC Mobile (0-1-0) vs Florida Roots (1-2-0)

Saturday, May 21st Kickoff at 7 p.m.

Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex 3610 Michael Blvd, Mobile, AL 36609

AFC Mobile will play its first home match of the year on Saturday night, hosting Florida Roots FC from Panama City, Florida. The Azaleas fell to the New Orleans Jesters on the road in the Big Easy two weekends ago. AFC Mobile’s opponents, Florida Roots, have played three matches, notching a win against Tallahassee SC before dropping their next two games to Jacksonville Armada FC U-23s and Pensacola FC.

“One of the keys to the match will be our ability to capitalize better on our possession,” said AFC Mobile manager Steve Wieczorek, “We need to create a higher percentage of chances in the final third. If we can do that, I’m confident this group can get a result from the match.”

AFC Mobile forward Iba Ndaw will be knocking on history. Ndaw has scored 20 goals for the Azaleas, the second-most in club history. Two more goals for Ndaw will see him overtake recently retired club stalwart Chisom Ogbonna as AFC Mobile’s leading goalscorer.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 21st. Tickets are $10, and kids 12 and under are admitted for free. This weekend is also our Teacher Appreciation Night, so all school employees are admitted for free with a valid ID!

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.