Category: Press Release

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.

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Steve Wieczorek Joins AFC Mobile as Head Coach

Steve Wieczorek, current head coach of the Gulf South Champion Spring Hill College men’s soccer team, has been named the second head coach in AFC Mobile history, effective immediately. Wieczorek joins AFC Mobile after leading Spring Hill to its first-ever NCAA Division II Tournament appearance and Gulf South Championship.

“I am truly honored by the opportunity to lead AFC Mobile. I am excited to become part of such an ambitious club with an amazing and loyal fan base.” Wieczorek said. “I want to say thank you to the board for trusting me with this appointment, and I am fully committed to giving our supporters and the city of Mobile a team that will push for the (Gulf Coast Premier League) title as well as play a dynamic and entertaining brand of soccer.”

Wieczorek’s 15-year coaching career includes stops at some of college soccer’s most notable programs. He began his coaching career as a goalkeeper coach at his alma mater Fairfield University. Following one season in that role, Wieczorek had stints as an assistant at the University of Bridgeport, Siena College, Duquesne University and Oregon State University before eventually becoming the head coach of Spring Hill in 2015. At Duquesne, Wieczorek helped the program secure its first NCAA Tournament win while finishing the season nationally ranked in the top ten in goals and top five in assists.

Since joining Spring Hill College, Wieczorek set the school record for overall and conference wins with 17 and 11 wins respectively. He also led Spring Hill to its first-ever United Soccer Coaches national ranking, finishing at 21st in the final poll of the 2018 season.

“We couldn’t be more excited to make Steve the leader of our club,” said Sean Landry, board member, and CFO. “During our coaching search, Steve showed clear commitment to both short-term and long-term growth of the team and the game in Mobile, and a competitive ambition that matches our own. His qualifications in just a few short years at Spring Hill are unmatched, and we’re confident in his ability to bring silverware home to the best soccer fans on the Gulf Coast in Sweet Lunacy’s County Seat.”

Wieczorek is in the process of finalizing his coaching staff and preparing a roster for the 2019 Gulf Coast Premier League season. An announcement regarding open tryouts will be made in the coming weeks.

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 $5, 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 The Trading Post at 7985 Tanner Williams Road.  Follow AFC Mobile on all your favorite social media platforms to keep up-to-date on additional information about the 2019 season!

 

AFC Mobile Coach Nate Nicholas Steps Down Ahead of 2019 Season

AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas has resigned from his position as head coach ahead of the 2019 Gulf Coast Premier League season.

“To coach this team has been a dream for me that I didn’t even know I had. I have decided to step down to see this club grow even more and for me to focus more on my family and McGill-Toolen soccer program.” Nicholas said in a statement that will be shared in full on afcmobile.net.

Nicholas was the first manager in AFC Mobile history, and led the club through two seasons of growth, including the implementation of a reserve team and friendly matches against two decorated NPSL Southeast opponents. During his tenure, AFC Mobile grew to become the best-supported team in the Gulf Coast Premier League.

“Without Nate Nicholas, AFC Mobile would not exist,” said Sean Landry, board member and CFO. “Nate believed in us when all we had was a logo and a dream. He gave us the ability to turn that dream into the heaven it’s become. The same qualities that led us to respect Nate and to bring him on board are the ones leading him to take a step back – commitment to family, to his profession, to his personal growth, and to his community. I, and everyone associated with this club, are grateful to him for his two years of service, and I look forward to working with him in the future.”

The AFC Mobile board was made aware of Nicholas’ decision shortly after the conclusion of the GCPL season, at which point the club began a search for a new manager

AFC Mobile is Mobile’s minor league soccer team, competing in the Gulf Coast Premier League. The 2018 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 $5, 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 The Trading Post at 7985 Tanner Williams Road.  Follow AFC Mobile on all your favorite social media platforms to keep up-to-date on additional information about the 2019 season!

Throwback Thursday: 2018 Player Stats

GOALS:
Chisom Ogbonna – 9
Ibrahima Ndaw – 8
Martin Fiemawhle – 3
Abdalrhman Almutairi – 3
Sherman Winchester – 1
Erik Aispuro Vidaña – 1
Matt Merrill – 1
Clairy Kengeye – 1
Tomas Lopez – 1
Matthew Duffey – 1

ASSISTS:
Erik Aispuro Vidaña – 4
Branton Greene 3
Matt Merrill – 3
Sherman Winchester 2
Chisom Ogbonna – 2
Ibrahima Ndaw – 2
Greg Hosford – 2
Dawson Jellenc – 1
Donte Oliver – 1
Matthew Duffey – 1
Ira Bowens – 1
Martin Fiemawhle – 1
Abdalrhman Almutairi – 1
KC Espoir – 1

GOALS ALLOWED / PER GAME AVG:
Barou Ndaw 10 GA (6.75) 1.48 avg
Elijah Gibson 10 GA (3.5 games) 3.09 avg
Guillermo Lumbreras Jr 0 GA (0.25 games) 0.00 avg

Chisom Ogbonna Named AFC Mobile MVP

On August 11th, players, coaches, sponsors and the AFC Mobile board gathered at Moe’s Bar-B-Que in downtown Mobile to celebrate another successful season of soccer in the Port City.

The night culminated with the club naming Chisom Ogbonna the Most Valuable Player of the 2018 season. Ogbonna was also named the club MVP in 2017. Ogbonna lead the team in goals scored finding the back of the net nine times in seven appearances. He also assisted on one goal this season. Ogbonna scored 17 goals and two assists in his GCPL career.

IMG_2366

This season saw the Azaleas win four games in the Gulf Coast Premier League and finished the season with a goal differential of +7. The club continued to shatter attendances records with the club now averaging over 1000 fans per game. Be sure to follow the club’s offseason developments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @AFCMobile and right here on www.afcmobile.net

 

 

AFC Mobile Falls to Pool Boys 2-0

AFC Mobile’s still has hopes to qualify for the GCPL Cup Playoffs, but a 2-0 loss to Alexandria Pool Boys FC has left almost no room for error as the Mobilians head down the final stretch of the season.

Despite having more opportunities and possession, AFC Mobile was not able to grab any points at home leaving them 2 points behind Pensacola FC and Gulf Coast Rangers for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

The match began promisingly in 8th minute when Roman Causse flicked Brantton Greene, making his debut as a center forward, into the penalty area. Greene’s shot was saved by Alexandria goalkeeper Jason Fritz, who ended up having a spectacular match in net for the Pool Boys.

Mobile’s attack did not stop piling on chances either. In the 12th minute, Sherman Winchester played David Valverde into open space where the Costa Rican international took a shot that was parried wide by Fritz. The ensuing corner kick led to a Matt Merrill header to the far post that beat Fritz, but ultimately was volleyed off the line by Alexandria’s Ian Ragsdale.

A bit of combination work between Valverde, Greene, and Winchester in the 22nd minute, sent Greene through for a shot that was plucked out of the air by Fritz keeping the match on equal footing.

In the 42nd minute, Alexandria’s Nicolas Mboungou lost the ball to Mobile’s Dawson Jellenc, but Mboungou’s immediately pressured Jellenc, won the ball back, and played a stunningly smooth pass to a streaking Zach Clear, who chipped his shot over Barou Ndaw to place the visitors on the front foot with a 1-0 lead.

“We had a couple chances at the beginning that if we put away I think the game goes a lot different,” said head coach Nate Nicholas, “but we didn’t finish those and it came to bite us in the butt later on.”

The second half started slowly with the game bogged down in the midfield and heat definitely impacting both teams with multiple players from both sides cramping up. However, the trailing Azaleas kept taking the opportunities given, but coming up against a keeper in fantastic form.

Valverde took another go at goal in the 57th minute sending it into the cross bar. A good piece of individual by Clairy Kengeye sent Fritz reeling from near to far post fully outstretched to make what may have been his most spectacular save of the game. Kengeye again was sprung free by Winchester down the right wing in the 81st only to have his shot rejected once more by Fritz.

Then in the 88th minute, Alexandria was awarded a free kick, which was played by Martin Iddon onto the head of an unmarked Brett Judd giving Alexandria a 2-0 lead and ultimately the win.

This result leaves Mobile needing to collect points in their three remaining matches according to coach Nicholas. “Basically, I told the boys, every game from here on out is a playoff game. Win and you’re in it…lose and you’re out…They know they could’ve played better [tonight]. There is not a person in that locker room that thought they did a great job tonight, me included.”

Getting to Know You: Alexandria Pool Boys FC

The Alexandria Pool Boys FC are, believe it or not, a historical team in not just the Gulf Coast Premier League, but in American soccer as well. The Pool Boys are a founding member of the GCPL. They are a constant competitor for the GCPL Cup, but what they are mostly known for is their fantastic social media presence. Whether it is their self-deprecating videos, snarky voice, or social media wars with other lower league teams, Pool Boys have a well earned reputation in American soccer. This reputation extends off the internet and onto the pitch as well. Pool Boys are currently sitting in third place, just outside of the playoffs, in a tough GCPL Western Conference. They will be heading east to Mobile in hopes of getting three points and jumping Cajun SC into the final Western Conference playoff spot.

CLUB: Alexandria FC

NICKNAME: The Pool Boys, APBFC

Before AFC Mobile came into GCPL and before CD Motagua of NOLA went on their Lamar Hunt US Open Cup run, the team that people knew about in the GCPL was the Pool Boys. Whether it was their play or their humorous social media battle with Boston’s Groton House Pizza Boys FC, the Pool Boys are well-known in non-league American soccer circles.

Last season, Alexandria was eliminated from the GCPL Cup Playoffs by eventual champions Gaffa FC in the semi-finals. The beginning of their 2018 campaign did not start well. Though the team held plenty of possession and outshot opponents, it has only been within the last few weeks that they have truly found their form, winning their last two matches and seemingly finding their best lineups. As is the case for Mobile, this weekend’s match is a must-win if Alexandria hopes to gain ground on Cajun SC and BOCA FC Knights in the Western Conference playoff race.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Juno Mboungou is a  APBFC veteran. He’s been on the team since its inception. Mboungou led the GCPL in assists last year and is creeping his way up the list this season with some spectacularly skillful form in the last few matches. His younger brother, Nicholas Mboungou, was just named to the GCPL Team of the Week after having a goal and an assist last weekend.  In addition to the Mboungou brothers, second-year player Brett Judd has been a goal-scoring monster for the Pool Boys. After his hat trick against Shreveport United, he inserted himself into the Golden Boot conversation.

The club can be found on Facebook and Twitter at @PoolBoysFC and on their website www.poolboysfc.com.

Mobile Falls 3-1 In First Leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup

Another wild chapter of the Forgotten Coast Cup was written on Wednesday night when AFC Mobile travel to Herbert Wilson Stadium in Gulfport, Mississippi to take on the rebranded Port City FC (formerly Biloxi City FC.) This match was originally scheduled to take place on Memorial Day weekend, but it was postponed due to the possibility of inclement weather. The Azaleas held a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game before ultimately falling to the Sounders 3-1.

The Azaleas were coming into the game after an incredible 4-3 comeback victory over Pensacola FC and were looking to claim one of two games in hand over the rest of their Eastern Conference opponents. 

Mobile burst out of the gate, dominating the early stages of the match. The Azaleas first chance came after Brantton “Sunshine” Greene charged his way through the pitch and passed the ball to Clairy Kengeye. Kengeye found Chisom Ogbonna who sent his shot wide. The Sounders retaliated minutes later but Mobile’s keeper easily saved Ethan Loftin’s shot. The Azaleas had another chance in the 15th minute when Kengeye boomed down the right wing and found a charging Chisom Ogbonna, who was flagged offside. 

However, it wouldn’t be long before Ogbonna found the score sheet. In the 20th minute Sherman Winchester sent the ball to Martin Fiemawhle who pulled the ball back and sent it across the box to Ogbonna who fired home the opening goal against Port City keeper Grant Adam. 

The Sounders attacked the Mobile defense for the next fifteen minutes. They thought they had their equalizer in the 35th minute after Hall’s shot dribbled its way into the back of the net after multiple deflections in the box. However, the goal was ruled offside and Mobile kept their 1-0 lead as both teams headed into the half. 

“To be honest with you from what I understand, this past weekend they rested several of their starters. We basically had the same group going and I think in the second half their energy raised up where we kind of got tired,” AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas said. “We weren’t playing too terribly but we were absorbing a lot of pressure and they were playing very direct…and I think we got tired from constantly chasing and them hitting long balls.” 

Port City started the second half as the stronger side, but the first clearcut chance of the half came when Kengeye and Fiemawhle beautifully worked the ball back and forth between the two of them nearly resulting in a Kengeye shot. Port City nearly pulled a goal back when Loftin juked his way through the box and was brought down. The home fans clamored for a penalty, but it was not given.

In the 63rd minute, Port City forward Michael Cooper was played in behind the Mobile defense by Jordan Hall, but Hall’s shot was saved by Gibson. 

Port City equalized in the 72nd minute after Hall worked his way into the box and smashed a shot home past Gibson. In true Forgotten Coast Cup fashion, controversy erupted after Port City defender Joe Elliot dropped his shorts and “mooned” the Causeway Rebellion moments after the equalizing goal. 

 The Sounders took the lead in the 86th minute after Steven Gallagher found Austin Miller who brought the ball down Cavan Doherty who slotted it home. 

Late in the game, Mobile was awarded a free kick. While setting up for the kick, both teams participated in a pushing match which came to a head when Ogbonna shoved a Port City player in the neck.  Ogbonna was shown a straight red for violent conduct and will be suspended for at least one match. 

“Once again, I feel like it’s a weekly thing talking about referees and decisions and how they play in the league.  I don’t know if it was necessarily the wrong call; like I said I couldn’t see it very well, but obviously at that point the game had gotten out of hand again so it’s just one of those things, something was bound to happen. We got caught with some retaliation and we ended up with the red card. 

The Azaleas would nearly equalize late into stoppage time. Keeper Elijah Gibson ran up to join the Mobile attack in the box. Fiemawhle sent a free-kick towards goal and Mobile players got a touch on the ball but it bounced around in the box, ultimately not being able to find the back of the net. The Sounders got out on the break and Joao Victor slotted the ball home into the empty net to seal a 3-1 win for Port City.

The Azaleas will return to The Lip this Saturday night to face GCPL cross-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.

AFC Mobile Breaks GCPL Attendance Record in 2-0 Loss to Gulf Coast Rangers FC

AFC Mobile broke its own Gulf Coast Premier League attendance record Saturday night as a crowd of 1,465 watched the Azaleas suffer a narrow loss to Gulf Coast Rangers FC 2-0. The atmosphere for the first-ever matchup between local rivals featured a flyover by the US Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in a Search and Rescue MH-65 Dolphin helicopter on the club’s second ever Military Appreciation Night. The visitors from across the Bay were also welcomed by 10 of Mobile’s world-famous Azalea Trail Maids. 

AFC Mobile now owns the top eight spots in the GCPL record books — one for each home league match in the club’s history.

“To our fans, y’all were great. We want to apologize for not getting the victory tonight, but I thought you would like the performance the guys put in,” AFC Mobile coach Nate Nicholas said. “We loved every second of having you guys here, we want to keep these numbers going up and up and up. We have a couple more home games and we need your support.” 

The Azaleas had a bright start to the game. AFC Mobile’s leading goalscorer Chisom Obgonna ripped a shot from outside of the box that went wide left of the goal. Minutes later the ball was played back to Ogbonna in the box, but he was bogged down by the Ranger defense. The ball found its way to Erik Aispuro outside of the box, who tried to play it back to Ogbonna, but his pass floated back into the hands of Rangers keeper Xavier Audergon. 

Mobile nearly took the lead in the 17th minute after a David Valverde free kick found Aispuro who headed the ball onto a streaking Matt Merrill, but Merrill’s left-footed shot was pushed wide by Audergon. 

The first half was an even affair with good chances for both sides. In the 27th minute, Mobile keeper Elijah Gibson played the ball out of his box and was picked up by the Rangers’ Yan Livenu whose shot sailed over the crossbar. 

In the 33rd minute, Valverde was taken down by a crunching tackle after a nice piece of footwork. He was replaced by Greg Hosford, who started for AFC Mobile’s reserve team in their 3-0 win over the Rangers reserves in midweek. 

The Rangers’ best chances came toward the end of the first half. In the 43rd minute, former AFC Mobile player Moses Muhubao’s shot was saved by Gibson. Gibson came up with another big save one minute later off of the ensuing corner. But the tide turned in first-half stoppage time when defender Matthew Jakubik floated in a header over Gibson off of a Rangers free kick. The Azaleas went into halftime trailing Rangers 1-0. 

“I think that goal was a momentum killer. It was an even game,” Nicholas said. “I don’t know that one team deserved to be ahead of the other at the time. But the guy went in unmarked but we had a little confusion in the back post. But to be honest with you he wasn’t even shooting the ball; he was heading it across and Elijah just couldn’t get to it.”

Rangers would start the second half on the front foot. Rangers’ Andrew McInnis sent a shot just wide after tight pressure from Brantton “Sunshine” Greene. 

In the 60th minute, Rangers’ Alex Wichmann was shown a yellow card. Seconds later, Audergon came up big with another great save off of a header on an AFC Mobile free kick. 

Two more yellow cards were shown in the 74th and 76th minutes to Rangers’ Sergi Cebrian and Mobile’s Guillermo Lumbreras, Jr. 

The record crowd thought the Azaleas had equalized in the 85th minute after Abdal Almutairi pressured Audergon to win the ball. Audergon appeared to lose his footing after initially avoiding Almutairi’s approach, and Almutairi took advantage, tracking back to the loose ball and slotting it home into the open net while Audergon lay on the ground. Two minutes later, after Mobile had finished celebrating and had set up to resume play from the center circle, Audergon remained down and the official reversed his initial award of the goal, claiming Almutairi had fouled Audergon. Audergon would finish the game, including a total of 8 minutes of stoppage time, in goal for the Rangers. 

“I didn’t argue too much that it got called back,” Nicholas said.  “I just thought it was a little wishy-washy for [the official] to let everybody come back and celebrate and he’s already running back to midfield and he thinks about it…and their goalkeeper lays on the ground. I thought, for him, it was a pretty poor performance. If that’s a foul then you’re literally right there. He was within 15 yards of the play. If it’s a foul he should’ve called it a lot earlier, rather than let both teams get back in midfield and set up for it. That’s just my view. I thought it was poorly done.” 

The Rangers doubled their tally late in stoppage time after Gibson pushed up into the midfield on an AFC Mobile corner. Former AFC Mobile captain Nathan Gillespie got behind the forward-playing Mobile keeper on a counter-attack and slotted home a garbage-time goal to give the visitors a 2-0 win. The loss leaves AFC Mobile in fourth place, but the Azaleas remain third in points per game, having two games in hand on Pensacola FC and Gulf Coast Rangers. 

Next week, AFC Mobile will travel to Pensacola to take on GCPL Eastern Conference leaders Pensacola FC. Kickoff is at 7 pm at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium. 

The Azaleas will return to The Lip in two weeks to face GCPL out-of-conference opponent Alexandria FC. Kickoff 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 $5 and children 12 and under are admitted free.

AFC Mobile’s Saturday Game Against Port City FC Postponed

This Saturday’s contest against Port City FC in Gulfport, Mississippi has been postponed due to inclement weather.

“We were really looking forward to this away trip and the renewal of our rivalry with the boys from Gulfport, but we understand their decision to postpone the game in light of the impending weather,” said AFC Mobile Board Member Patrick Dungan.

According to meteorologists, Gulfport is set to experience heavy rainfall and thunderstorms this Saturday, May 26th.

Due to this postponement, AFC Mobile will provide the fans who purchased tickets for the Gulf Coast Tours Fan Bus to Gulfport the option to receive a full refund or credit towards a future bus trip this season.

“It’s a hazard of the business in this region, unfortunately. We’re obviously disappointed we won’t get to celebrate Memorial Day weekend with a match against our biggest rivals,” AFC Mobile CFO Sean Landry said. “Mostly, we’re disappointed for our fans, many of whom won’t be able to make the trip out for a midweek makeup match, which means this match won’t have the atmosphere it deserves. We’ll work with the good people at Port City FC to select a makeup date that works for both clubs, and we’re looking forward to getting back on the field at The Lip in a week when we host Real United FC for the first time.”

AFC Mobile is currently working with Port City FC to find a makeup date. Those details will be released as soon as a date has been finalized.

AFC Mobile will return to the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex, located at 3610 Michael Boulevard, for a home game against Moss Point’s Real United FC on Saturday, June 2nd at 7:00 p.m. As always, tickets are only $5 and kids 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.