Category: Press Release

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. 

AFC Mobile Falls to Pensacola FC 2-1

Despite a dominant first-half performance, AFC Mobile suffered a 2-1 loss to Pensacola FC on the road on Wednesday night.

Early in the first half, Zubair Taylor chipped a lovely ball over the Pensacola backline to Ronaldo Fortune, but Fortune could not quite get on the end of the ball and was easily collected by Pensacola’s Jules Dechert.

Mobile’s best chance came in the 29th minute when Fortune played a great ball to Soane Deminguet. Moments later, Clairy Kengeye made a run at the Pensacola defender at the top of the box and won the ball. Kengeye took a quick shot, but it was saved by Dechert.

“These games are very difficult. We knew that coming in. We wanted to play on the front foot, we wanted to apply our game model. Unfortunately, we didn’t take chances that we created in the first half and it put us in a difficult position in the second.” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said.

Pensacola scored early in the second half when Jordi Ramon headed the ball in off a Pensacola corner. The home team doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when Prince Owusu scored on a Pensacola counter-attack.

In a fixture known for late dramatics, the Azaleas nearly pulled a goal back. However, Mario Gratzl’s shot was touched by Jackson Wheatley in an offside position, nullifying the goal.

Mobile cut the lead to one in the 89th minute when Iba Ndaw forcefully headed a ball downward off of a corner into the Pensacola net. However, the visitors could not find the net a second time, and the match ended 2-1.

AFC Mobile take on Port City FC on Saturday in Gulfport, Mississippi in the second leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup. AFC Mobile currently holds a 2-1 lead in the rivalry competition. The Cup is presented to the team with the better aggregate score between the two regular season matches between the teams.

AFC Mobile Rallies to a 2-1 Victory over Florida Roots FC

MOBILE – After falling behind in the 9th minute, AFC Mobile rallied to secure a 2-1 victory over Florida Roots FC. The result puts AFC Mobile to 2-1-1 for their 2021 National Premier Soccer League Season, currently sitting in 3rd place in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference.

Mobile started the match strong containing early possession, but an early deflection from a Roots corner led to a mess just outside the 18-yard box where a screened Salvador Plaza was beaten by a quick shot by the Roots’ Liam Kearns making a late run onto the bouncing clearance.

“I think there are some things that we can clean up because we put ourselves in another difficult position when it probably didn’t call for it,” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said. 

From there the match shifted heavily in Mobile’s favor with AFC Mobile creating chances through the holdup play of Ibrahima Ndaw and some great combination work between Soane Deminguet and Ronaldo Fortune. Ndaw found Deminguet, who was able to cut around the Roots defense playing it onto Fortune on the left side. Fortune cut it on the six-yard box squaring the ball to a streaking Ndaw, but Roots goalkeeper Joshua Burton was able to get a piece of it, sending it out for a Mobile corner kick.

With Mobile still trailing in the 26th minute, Ndaw held the ball to play Jackson Wheatley down the wing. Wheatley played a quick pass to Deminguet who sent a late arriving Ndaw through; however, the ball was tapped out by the Root defense for a Mobile corner. The corner taken by Deminguet was headed on frame by Mobile’s Vlad Margolin, but Florida’s David Born was able to head out and deflect what  would have been the Mobile equalizer.

In the 34th minute, a ball played from Mobile’s Andrew Rhoda found a streaking Wheatley underlapping towards the box. Wheatley played the ball to Fortune, who found an overlapping Margolin. Margolin’s cross found a powerful header by Ndaw, which was again saved by a header away from Ben Lebdaoui, who again denied Mobile their equalizer.

That equalizer would come in the 39th minute. Deminguet received the ball outside of the 18-yard box. After cutting in, he took a shot, which deflected off the hand of the Roots’ Agustin Vivas de Lorenzi. Ndaw was able to take the penalty shot and send the keeper in the wrong direction, equalizing the game at 1-1.

In the 43rd minute off a long throw from Stanley Joseph, Thierry Zabarel deflected  the ball into the back of the net to give AFC Mobile a 2-1 lead.

“By chance, I’m at the right moment, at the right time, at the right area and from a deflection, I touched it with my thigh…and to be the one who scored the goal that gave us the win, that’s the most important thing I think,” said Zabarel after the game.

The game became increasingly physical as the second half progressed with a hard challenge between Wheatley and Roots keeper Joshua Burton, leading to Wheatley’s substitution at halftime for Mobile native Clairy Kengeye.

Kengeye, a long-time member of AFC Mobile, made his appearance known immediately after halftime, when in the 47th minute a ball played to him led to a powerful shot that was saved by Burton. Burton came up big once again for the Roots with a spectacular save on Kengeye, who rocketed a shot to the far post in the 74th minute.

As stoppage time approached, Vlad Margolin received his second yellow card, which left Mobile down a man for the full six minutes of stoppage. 

“We got three points at home, so anytime that happens the guys are going to feel pretty good,” said Wieczorek, “I’m happy because we did win but I also think there are some things we can clean up.”

AFC Mobile moves to 2-1-1 on the season in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference. The Azaleas hit the road next for a mid-week matchup at Pensacola on Wednesday, May 26, followed by the second leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup against rivals Port City FC in Gulfport. AFC Mobile will return home on June 5 to host Jacksonville Armada at 7:00 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex in Mobile. 

AFC Mobile Announces 2021 Summer Camps

The summer, AFC Mobile is offering soccer day camps for players of all levels. These AFC Mobile summer camps will offer players entering kindergarten through twelfth grade the opportunity to train with and meet players from our National Premier Soccer League team and coaching staff.

Camps will run from noon until 4:30 PM at the Mobile County Soccer Complex (3701 Halls Mill Road, Mobile, Alabama) and will help players in both their tactical and technical ability through small sided games, full field games, and technical activities.

There will be two five-day sessions (June 14-18 and July 12-16) and two four-day session (June 28 – July 1 and July 6 – July 9). In addition to the camp itself, campers will receive tickets to an AFC Mobile NPSL soccer match!

Cost of the camp is $120 for the five-day sessions and $100 for the four-day session. These camps are open to all kids ages 6-18! There is a discount if for campers signing up for more than one session!

To register or for more information, visit https://afcmobile.sportngin.com/register/form/291599966.

10-man AFC Mobile Score Late to Secure a 2-1 Win in the First Leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup

MOBILE – A late goal from Ronaldo Fortune gave 10-man AFC Mobile a win over rivals Port City FC in its home opener, the first leg of the 2021 Forgotten Coast Cup, a rivalry trophy handed to the aggregate regular-season winner of the two clubs. The 2021 edition is the first in the NPSL for the former GCPL rivals.

It was a difficult start for the Azaleas, as Port City scored in the fourth minute of the match after a short corner was floated into the box by Renan Diniz and headed over AFC Mobile goalkeeper Salvador Plaza by Guilherme Bittencourt. Minutes later, the Sounders were awarded a penalty after the referee spotted a handball in the box. Port City’s CJ Smith stepped up to take the penalty, but Plaza saved his shot, drawing a roar from the 1,246 fans in attendance.

“Sal made a very very good save and kind of energized us a little bit,” said AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek. “Obviously, playing in front of 1300 fans helps.”

Possession shifted in Mobile’s favor after Plaza’s save. Mobile’s Soane Deminguet’s chance in the 20th minute was saved by Port City’s Owen Betz. In the 24th minute, Port City’s Andrew Elkins saw a yellow card for a professional foul on Mobile’s Iba Ndaw in the midfield. 

In the 37th minute, Fortune’s shot was saved by Betz. Fortune collected the rebound and played the ball across the box to Jackson Wheatley, who dragged his shot wide – one of several chances created by Fortune in the game. In the 43rd minute, Mobile’s Ndaw received a pass, turned to beat the Port City midfield, and played a one-two with Fortune. Ndaw’s chance sailed wide left. 

In the 46th minute, AFC Mobile’s Zubair Taylor was sent off for a late, high tackle, reducing the Azaleas to ten men just before halftime.

Despite the red card at the end of the first half, the Azaleas started the second half on the front foot. In the 53rd minute, Fortune played a ball over the Sounders’ backline and found the feet of a charging Soane Deminguet, who received the ball with his back to goal, touched back to his right and slotted the ball home to level the match for the Azaleas. 

The teams traded chances for the next twenty minutes, with both keepers called into action. The last fifteen minutes saw a flurry of subs for the Azaleas as Erik Aispuro entered the game for Thierry Zabarel and Blake Palmquist entered for Darrius Rashid, who made his AFC Mobile debut on the night. 

The deadlock was finally broken in the 84th minute when Sounders attempted to clear Soane Deminguet’s corner attempt. Fortune picked up the rebound, and his shot rolled into the lower right-hand corner of the net, giving the Azaleas a 2-1 lead. 

“Honestly, I missed five opportunities,” Fortune said. “I knew the team needed something. I tried to be as patient as possible, and when I saw the little gap, I just took it.” 

  Wieczorek had high praise for the attacking midfielder. 

“We brought him in from the University of Mobile, where he’s an all-conference first-teamer,” he said. “He’s a guy that’s going to get ten, fifteen goals in a college season. He just needed to find his feet with his new teammates in a new system playing in a position he doesn’t play for in his college team. I knew the goals would come. Today could’ve been more than one, and I’m excited to see what he can deliver over the course of the season. 

Wieczorek did not reserve his praise for the attack. He noted that the Azaleas played ten men down for 45 minutes and gave his defense high marks.

“We played 45 minutes down ten men with a back three, and those guys defended valiantly. Sal played a very good game in the second half, and the back three with our center midfielders in front of them allowed the opportunity to attack the way we did.” 

This was the Azaleas’ first win of the season, and first in their NPSL history. The win gives Mobile four points from three games and sends them to third in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference table.

Mobile will host Florida Roots in its next match, May 22 at 7 p.m. in Mobile. The second leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup will be contested the following week, May 29th, in Gulfport. The winner of the aggregate score of the two regular-season matches will be presented the rivalry trophy, which is currently in AFC Mobile’s trophy case after the 2019 season.