Category: Press Release

AFC Mobile starts second-half of the season in Tallahassee with playoff positioning in mind

After a tough loss last week, AFC Mobile dropped to third place in the GCPL East standings (3-1-1, 10 points) and are looking to rebound against Tallahassee SC (3-1-1, 10 points). The Battle Lions of Tallahassee are 2nd in GCPL East by virtue of the second tiebreaker, goal differential, which is one better than AFC Mobile’s entering Saturday’s match.

All-time series: Tallahassee SC and AFC Mobile ended their first-ever match in a 2-2 draw on a rain-soaked pitch in Mobile on the season’s first matchday. Mobile’s Ibrahima Ndaw opened the scoring early, but a long-range chip by Tallahassee’s Sy Fontenot equalized for the visitors. Late in the match, Tallahassee SC’s Peter Love scored a free kick from distance to take the lead before a last-gasp header by Mobile’s Chisom Ogbonna pulled out the equalizer in the second minute of added time.

Tallahassee SC Players to Watch: Tallahassee has proven early on that they belong in this league. While much of that is due to their organized defense, there is also the midfield magic of Boneco Bazil and Daniel Villa who each have 2 goals, with Bazil also contributing 2 assists. Villa’s contributions, however, cannot be noted solely on the boxscore. A player at University of South Florida, Villa’s leadership in the middle, hard-nosed tackles, and secondary passing to open space have helped the Battle Lions enter the second half of the season with a playoff position well within their grasp.

With 2 goals and 2 assists plus opportunities created, Tallahasse SC’s Boneco Bazil has had an outstanding debut in the GCPL

Matchup to Watch: Goalkeeper Hugo Castro Rodrigues is a monster in between the pipes for Tallahassee. In the season opener, the Mobile attack was best held in check by the man known affectionately in Tallahassee as “Peruzzi.” Peruzzi was able to make more than a few acrobatic saves at point blank range with Mobile’s attack bearing down on him. It was Peruzzi’s quick thinking that caught a pushed up Mobile attack and ended up getting an assist on the Fontenot goal. Since that first game against Tallahassee, Mobile has gone on to score 3 or more goals in every match, while Tallahassee has only given up 2 goals once more.

Why this is a big deal? With both of these clubs drawing earlier and only having losses to the Gulf Coast Rangers, it is all about the playoffs stepping into the second half of the season. A win for either team vaults the victor into playoff position with a definitive head-to-head tiebreak and four matches to play.

AFC Mobile plays Tallahassee SC at the Florida State University Main Campus Fields, 1001 St Augustine St, Tallahassee, Florida. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. CDT (8 p.m. EDT). Tickets are $7 and kids 12 and under are admitted for free.

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AFC Mobile Holds On To Beat Pensacola FC 4-3

It was a tale of two halves in Pensacola on Saturday night when AFC Mobile traveled to Ashton Brosnaham Park to take on Pensacola FC. The Azaleas scored four goals in a dominating first half, all assisted by club co-captain Tilman Schober. Despite the strong lead, the Azaleas conceded three goals in the second half to hold on to a 4-3 win over the 59ers.

“I’m very disappointed in how the second-half went,” said Schober. “It’s difficult because you know you’re the better team, but for some reason, it just wouldn’t work. But we got the game over the line, and we won in the end. It’s three points, and we’re still first. So we’ve just got to look at the positives and try to learn from the mistakes we made at the beginning of the second half.

It was a lackluster start for both teams with few chances early on. Sam Blackburn scored the first goal for the Azaleas in the 16th minute after getting on the end of a ball from Schober.

Blackburn’s goal put the Azaleas on the front foot, leading to a barrage of chances for the visitors. Schober nearly found himself on the scoresheet in the 21st minute, but his shot from the right side of the box bounced off the right post. Minutes later, Chisom Ogbonna took a long-range effort that was kept out of the net by Pensacola’s goalkeeper Mike Clifford.

The Azaleas doubled their lead in the 27th minute after a low rolling ball from Schober found its way to Ibrahima Ndaw, who drilled the ball into the back of the net from point-blank range.

In the 33rd minute, Schober sent in a cross from the right wing that was slotted home by Ogbonna, giving the visitors a 3-0 lead.

Late in stoppage time, Schober sent in another cross that was poked home by Arad Lev-Ari for the fourth goal of the game for the Azaleas.

“I was always wide open on the right wing. That really is good for me cause I can take a touch and cross it in and we have good strikers like Chisom and Iba to finish my crosses,” said Schober.

The story changed drastically, as did the momentum, almost immediately after the halftime break. The 59ers’ Mikey Lightbourne, Pensacola’s leading scorer, put one away right after the start of the second half to bring the score to 4-1. Then in the 60th minute, a Pensacola set play was put away by Eric Buer to cut the Azaleas’ lead in half. Remnants of Pensacola’s collapse against Mobile last season were in the air, though this time the boot was on the other foot.

The game continued at a frenetic and frantic pace as Mobile tried to put away one more to stave off the energized 59ers attack. Meanwhile, despite the two conceded goals, AFC Mobile’s goalkeeper Dominic Nascimben made a few crucial saves in the second half to help the Azaleas maintain their lead, and Clifford also made some dynamic saves to help the 59ers hopes of a comeback stay in tact.

Then, in the 97th minute of the game, Pensacola played a long desperation ball forward. Both Nascimben and Mobile center back Vlad Margolin went to clear the ball out, but Margolin headed it back into the net for a last gasp own goal for Pensacola, which brought the score to 4-3. The referee blew the final whistle after the restart. In spite of the poor second half from Mobile, the 4-3 win kept Mobile at the top of the Eastern Conference heading into next week.

AFC Mobile returns to the Lip next week to take on their rivals from across the bay the Gulf Coast Rangers. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and kids 12 and under are admitted for free.

AFC Mobile Announces Its 2019 Summer Training Program

ANNOUNCEMENT: AFC Mobile will launch its inaugural summer training program with a free tryout on June 10th. Led by AFC Mobile assistant coach Sam Blackburn and overseen by coach Steve Wieczorek, the program will consist of eight weeks of training for players born between 2002 and 2007 (inclusive). Don’t miss this opportunity for high-level training with the some of the best coaches and players in the area – sign up for tryouts at the link below.

AFC Mobile Takes the First Leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup​

AFC Mobile overcame a slow start and pulled off a win in the first leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup against the reigning Gulf Coast Premier League champions Port City FC.

“I think fans won us this game. They were awesome the entire match. They pushed us,” said AFC Mobile midfielder Arad Lev-Ari. “It looked like we were about to lose in the first half. They had some really good chances. But we always believed in ourselves because the fans believed in us.”

The Sounders started the match strong, but the Azaleas were able to keep the score level behind an excellent goalkeeping performance from Dominic Nascimben.

The first chance for the home team came in the 15th minute when the ball found its way to a charging Mikey Conneh. Grant Adam, Port City’s keeper, came off his line to collect the ball from Conneh, but Conneh laid the ball off to Lev-Ari in the middle of the box. Despite Adam being out of position, Lev-Ari’s shot was cleared off the line by Port City’s Caleb Counselman.

Conneh continued to make his presence known as, minutes later, he sent the ball across the face of goal, but there was no one there to get on the end of it. The ball ultimately made its way back to the feet of captain Tilman Schober, who took a shot that went just left of the goal.

Iba Ndaw had a big chance in the 27th minute after Lev-Ari played the ball into the box. After taking an odd bounce, Port City’s Joe Guinchard attempted to head it back to their keeper, but the ball fell to a charging Ndaw whose shot from point-blank range was saved by Adam.

At the half-hour mark, AFC Mobile’s all-time leading goalscorer Chisom Ogbonna entered the game and made an immediate impact.

“I left Chisom on the bench at the start of the game hoping that I could bring him in and he could really energize it, and he did just that,” said AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek. “He played the role very effectively and was a very important part of our performance.”

The Azaleas opened the scoring just before halftime when Ndaw slotted the ball to a charging Schober who powered it home to give the Azaleas a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

The Azaleas doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when Ndaw darted down the left wing. He played a low rolling ball into the box to a trailing Andrew Rhoda, but the ball was sent into the net by Port City’s Steven Gallagher who was attempting to clear it, but ended up scoring an own goal and giving AFC Mobile a 2-0 lead.

The home team scored its final goal in the 59th minute when Eddie Dakwa played a deep ball from midfield to Lev-Ari who boomed down the right-hand side of the pitch, took on the Port City defense, and scored to put the Azaleas up 3-0.

Port City got a goal back in the 80th minute when Mobile’s Ben Fredrickson was shown yellow for bringing down a Port City attacker in the box. The Sounders’ Jordan Hall stepped up to the spot and scored the final goal of the match, giving the Azaleas a 3-1 victory.

This week, AFC Mobile will travel east on I-10 to take on Pensacola FC. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium in Pensacola, Florida. AFC Mobile is organizing a fan bus for our supporters. Space on the bus is limited. Click here for details.

AFC Mobile Beats Hattiesburg​ FC 3-0 to Earn First Win of the 2019 GCPL Season

HATTIESBURG, MS – Led by a clean sheet from goalkeeper Domenic Nascimben and a dominant midfield performance from Arad Lev-Ari, Sam Blackburn, and Tilman Schober, AFC Mobile took home a 3-0 victory on the road against Hattiesburg FC.

With a drastically different lineup from the one that faced Tallahassee SC in the opening match of the GCPL season, AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek started a brand new backline with only Vlad Margolin returning to the starting lineup.

“There were some injuries and some players not available for selection, which kind of forced my hand a little bit,” said Wieczorek, “but I think it’s going to round out into the team that we see going forward anyway.”

The goalscoring began when Lev-Ari split the Hattiesburg defense in the thirteenth minute with a curved, driven pass to Tilman Schober. Schober took a squaring touch before curling the ball into the far top corner to put the Azaleas up 1-0 early.

In the 43rd minute, Lev-Ari combined with Blackburn and Iba Ndaw to open up the penalty area for Chisom Ogbonna. Ogbonna was brought down in the 18-yard box and calmly finished the ensuing penalty with a powerful, low shot to send the Azaleas to halftime leading 2-0.

Lev-Ari, who primarily played in a central attacking role for the first time with Mobile, earned praises from Wieczorek after the game.

“Iba and Chisom again looked a handful going forward and Tilman as well,” Wieczorek said. “Arad’s actual shift on the field, the ground that he covered, his effort – if anyone stands out it’s him.”

Hattiesburg FC had its best opportunity of the night in the 67th minute. After a stint of possession, Hattiesburg spread out an otherwise solid and compact Mobile backline to take an open shot on frame, which caused Nascimben to go full-stretch horizontally and deny the home team a goal with his fingertips.

Another opportunity for Hattiesburg came in the 71st minute when a lofted cross played into the box was intercepted by Nascimben, who was then kicked by a Hattiesburg attacker. The trainer was brought on as Nascimben lay on the ground for nearly five minutes before he was cleared by the trainer and play resumed.

The AFC Mobile backline proved difficult to break down and when Hattiesburg was able to press in Mobile’s defensive third, Nascimben was able to come through for the team.

“We kept a clean sheet away from home with a back five that’s not played together – ever,” Wieczorek said.

Late in the match, Lev-Ari combined with AFC Mobile debutant Mikey Conneh to send Schober through. Schober chipped the keeper one-on-one, but the Hattiesburg defense was able to track back and clear the line.

The Azaleas kept coming and Ndaw continued his three-match goal scoring streak after high-pressing midfielder Blackburn forced a Hattiesburg turnover just outside of the box. Blackburn poked the ball to Lev-Ari, who played Ndaw into a one-on-one situation with the Hattiesburg goalkeeper. Ndaw calmly finished to give Mobile a commanding 3-0 lead and, ultimately, the win.

“It was a hard game,” said Lev-Ari. “They are a quality team. We knew we wanted to get points from this game. The original plan was to see what we could do, what our ability is. But we outperformed. We did a really good job, got three points, and it is going to be huge going forward into the season.”

AFC Mobile will return home next week against their oldest rivals, Port City FC, in the first leg of the 2019 Forgotten Coast Cup. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex. Tickets are $10, and all kids 12 and under will be admitted free. This match is also our Military Appreciation Night where veterans and active duty military personnel will get in free with a valid ID.

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 and Evonik Corporation to partner

MOBILE – (April 24th) AFC Mobile, Mobile’s minor league soccer team, announced a partnership with Evonik Corporation, a global specialty chemical company.

“Evonik is the perfect partner for us, and stands for many of the things we hope to stand for as a city and as a club,” said Sean Landry, AFC Mobile board member and Chief Financial Officer. “Evonik is industrial but creative, has global sensibilities but is committed to its local community. We look forward to working together to grow Mobile this season and for years to come.”

Through its partnership with AFC Mobile, Evonik will become the new jersey sponsor of Mobile’s soccer team for the 2019 Gulf Coast Premier League season. As a long-time partner and primary shareholder of Borussia Dortmund, one of the largest and most successful teams in Germany, Evonik has experience in developing its communities through soccer, and coordinated a coaching clinic in the Mobile area provided by the 8-time German Champions in 2018. The Mobile site is Evonik’s largest production facility in North America, located in the Theodore Industrial Park in Mobile County. The facility is also recognized as a World Class Specialty Chemical Manufacturer and has been a leading employer in the community for well over 40 years.

AFC Mobile to take on NPSL powerhouse Chattanooga FC

MOBILE  – (March 27th) AFC Mobile will travel to Chattanooga, Tennessee to take on take on the 2018 NPSL Southeast Conference champions Chattanooga FC. The match will take place on April 27th at Finley Stadium. 

“AFC Mobile is another example of a soccer team doing things the right way,” said Sheldon Grizzle, President, Chattanooga Football Club. “We’ve been really impressed with what they’ve been doing as they enter their third season, and can’t wait to bring them here.”

Chattanooga FC is one of the most successful and well-supported teams in the lower divisions of American soccer. The club boasts one of the largest fanbases in the NPSL, won the NPSL Southeast Division in 2018 and opened its 2019 by drawing over 7,000 fans to a preseason friendly against 30-time Guatemalan champions Communicaciones FC.

“This is the fixture we’ve been imagining since day one of founding this club. Chattanooga FC is the standard by which all ambitious grassroots clubs measure themselves, and the board of CFC has been an invaluable resource to us, just as the Chattahooligans were when we were a wandering supporter’s group.” said AFC Mobile CFO Sean Landry. “In conversations between our two boards, we’ve often remarked on how similar our cities are – in size, in demographic, in passion, in culture, and in creativity. I’m glad to finally bring our two great clubs and communities together.”

This will be the third time that AFC Mobile will take on NPSL competition, after opening the 2018 season against the Atlanta Silverbacks and hosting the New Orleans Jesters. AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek is looking forward to testing his side against a team from a higher division.

“I am excited for us to have an opportunity to get a match against a top team from a higher division in preseason” said Wieczorek. “The friendly will certainly help us build our fitness levels and develop our style of play further under match conditions.”

Wieczorek will be facing a familiar face when he brings the Azaleas to Finley Stadium. Chattanooga FC’s coach is former Mobile Revelers player and current University of West Florida coach Bill Elliot. Wieczorek’s Spring Hill team and Elliot’s West Florida team met twice in the Gulf South Conference last season. Spring Hill bested the Argonauts in both contests, winning 5-4 and 3-2.

AFC Mobile is Mobile’s minor league soccer team, competing in the Gulf Coast Premier League. The 2019 season begins in May and runs through July. All home games will be played at the Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb Complex – “The Lip.”  Tickets begin at just $10, and children 12 and under are free with adult admission. A full schedule and information about season tickets will be available soon. Select merchandise is available now at afcmobile.net and at Royal Pharmacy in Downtown Mobile.  Season Tickets are available for purchase now!

AFC Mobile 2019 Season Tickets on Sale Now

Season tickets for the 2019 AFC Mobile season are now on sale. Fans can purchase a season ticket wristband for $50. The wristband will admit entrance into all six Gulf Coast Premier League home games as well as any post-season games.

Fans can also purchase a wristband and t-shirt or scarf package for $65. This package comes with a season ticket wristband and your choice of either an official 2019 AFC Mobile scarf or the new AFC Mobile Battleship t-shirt.

Single-game tickets will rise from $5 to $10. To help offset the increase in ticket prices, AFC Mobile will provide free parking at all home games. Tickets for kids 12 and under will remain free.

AFC Mobile Announces 2019 GCPL Schedule

The 2019 AFC Mobile schedule is finally here! After months of anticipation, we now know the path the Azaleas will take as they attempt to bring home the Gulf Coast Premier League Cup. Join the excitement at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium (“the Lip”) this summer and support your hometown team!

Following a few preseason friendly matches that will be announced soon, AFC Mobile and new head coach Steve Wieczorek will welcome GCPL newcomers Tallahassee SC to the Lip to kick off the regular season on Saturday, May 11th. The Battle Lions will be ready to hit the ground running in their inaugural GCPL fixture just one week after they host the UPSL’s Savannah Clovers in a friendly.

Continuing the trend of facing newcomers to the GCPL, the Azaleas will travel the short distance west to take on Hattiesburg FC on May 18th. A successful youth club since 1980, the Mississippi side will join AFC Mobile in the GCPL’s East Division this year.

Defending GCPL Champions Port City FC (Gulfport) will return to the site where they hoisted the GCPL Cup last summer when they face AFC Mobile at the Lip on May 25th in the first leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup.

One week after hosting the defending Champions, AFC Mobile will travel east on I-10 to face Pensacola FC on June 1st at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium, the site of the Azaleas’ unlikely come-from-behind victory last year that saw the Mobile side net three goals after the 82nd minute to steal three points in a 4-3 win.

The first half of AFC Mobile’s 2019 season will conclude at the Lip with a home match on June 8th against cross-bay rivals Gulf Coast Rangers FC. The Azaleas will look to avenge the gut-wrenching, controversial home loss to the Rangers last season.

The second half of the 2019 season will begin on the road at Tallahassee SC on June 15th, where the Azaleas will take on the Battle Lions on the campus of Florida State University.

The Azaleas will then play host to Hattiesburg FC on June 22nd, travel to Gulfport to take on Port City FC on June 29th, then return to the Lip for the final home game of the regular season against Pensacola FC on July 6th. AFC Mobile will play its final game of the 2019 regular season on July 13th when it “takes the Causeway” to face Gulf Coast Rangers FC in a match that could have huge playoff implications if the summer goes well for both clubs.

All home games are played at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium (“the Lip”) located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile. Keep an eye on AFC Mobile’s social media pages over the coming weeks for updates on preseason friendlies and season ticket packages.