Tag: AFC Mobile

AFC Mobile Falls 4-3 in GCPL Opener

Despite a late rally and a goal in the 85th minute, AFC Mobile fell 4-3 to Pensacola FC at home in the first Gulf Coast Premier League match of the season.

Pensacola started on the front foot, nearly opening the scoring in the fourth minute of the match when a shot from Pensacola’s Matt Brooks ricocheted off the crossbar and out for a Mobile goal kick. Four minutes later, Pensacola’s Dillon Gallet found his way in behind the Mobile defense, but keeper Elijah Gibson collected Gallet’s attempt.

Minutes later Mobile forward Iba Ndaw was brought down outside the box and awarded a free kick. Ndaw curled in a free kick into the left corner to give the Azaleas a 1-0 lead. It was Ndaw’s second free kick goal in an AFC Mobile shirt.

“You definitely could see we had some attacking talent out there. Iba Ndaw had a couple more goals. That’s been a great pickup for us.” AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas said.

In the 21st minute, Chisom Ogbonna beat the Pensacola defense but his shot was easily collected by Pensacola keeper Rudy Seelman. Pensacola would nearly equalize in the 26th minute but Christopher Zeller’s header was stopped by Gibson.

Pensacola’s equalizer would not be delayed long, however, coming in the 30th minute in the form of an own goal after Martin Fiemawhle’s attempt to collect a low cross from Pensacola ended up in the back of the net. But only three minutes later, the Azaleas took a 2-1 lead after a shot from Ndaw fell to Ogbonna in at the back post.

Chisom Ogbonna after scoring against Pensacola FC on May 12, 2018. (Photo: Seth Laubinger)

In the 36th minute, Ndaw was fouled hard and returned to his feet gingerly. Minutes later coach Nicholas subbed Ndaw off for Abdul Almutairi. Almutairi, a former Kuwaiti U-17 international, was able to slot in several attacking positions throughout the match in his GCPL and AFC Mobile debut.

Just before the end of the half, Pensacola’s Isaiah Lopez headed in a shot at the back post to level the game at 2-2 after a high cross went untouched. Seconds later, Lopez was shown yellow during stoppage time of the first half after a hard flying tackle.

Pensacola took their first lead of the game in the 64th minute when Alik Morgan slotted in a low cross that deflected off Gibson. As the away team scored its third goal, Mobile centerback Pablo Sanjuan Delgado came off with a leg injury and was replaced with Guillermo Lumbreras, Jr.  

“For him to get injured and give up the game-leading goal at that time, at the same time, it was a tough pill to swallow.” Nicholas said.

The Azaleas nearly equalized in the 68th minute when Ndaw beat the Pensacola defense, but his low shot went across the face of goal. Two minutes later, Pensacola took a 4-2 lead after a scramble in the box.

Pensacola almost iced the match with a fifth goal on the night when an advancing Elijah Gibson was chipped, but the shot was cleared off the line by Mobile’s Markos Mallis, who played all 90 minutes for the home side. 

As is their wont, Mobile made it close. In the 85th minute, midfielder David Valverde’s pass opened the Pensacola defense to find Erik Aispuro on the wing. Aispuro then sent in a cross to the penalty spot, where Ndaw powered in the shot to put Mobile back in the game with five minutes left to play, sending the 871 fans in attendance into a frenzy. 

The Azaleas pushed for an equalizer late, but a last ditch free kick at the end of stoppage time was easily cleared. The match ended 4-3. 

AFC Mobile will travel to Lafayette, Louisiana to take on Cajun Soccer Club in the first of two out of conference matches this season on Saturday. That match kicks off at 6 p.m. at LUS FIber stadium. 

AFC Mobile will return to The Lip in three weeks to take on GCPL newcomers Real United FC Riverhawks. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile. Tickets are only $5 and children 12 and under are admitted free.

 

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Getting to Know You: Pensacola FC

The preseason has officially ended and Gulf Coast Premier League action begins this weekend! AFC Mobile’s first opportunity to test its merit in regular season GCPL action will be this Saturday, May 12th, against Pensacola FC. Pensacola FC considers itself “The People’s Club” and has a strong group of former University of West Florida alumni at its disposal. Last year, AFC Mobile lost to them at The Lip before pulling off a stunning draw at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium in Pensacola. This year, both teams have reloaded, Pensacola FC has rebranded, and round two could be fascinating.

CLUB: Pensacola FC

NICKNAME: The 59ers

Last year was Pensacola FC’s debut year in the Gulf Coast Premier League. In that opening salvo, they took on the moniker of “Gulf Coast Texans” after the Pensacola-based youth club where several of the players either coached or started playing. For the 2018 season, they have rebranded to better represent the City of Pensacola by taking on the new name “Pensacola FC,” which was the youth club’s name prior to becoming an affiliate of the Dallas Texans youth club.

In their debut season, Pensacola FC found themselves relatively successful, finishing the season with a 6-1-3 record. It came down to the last Wednesday of the regular season when Biloxi City held the 59ers’ fate in their hand. If Biloxi had drawn with or beaten Gaffa FC, PFC would have qualified for the playoffs, but Gaffa won and Pensacola was sent home without tasting the playoffs in their inaugural year.

With many of the same players back this year and Nolan Intermoia taking over coaching duties from Nick Cardosa, the club is hoping to continue their success from last season and make that final push into an expanded playoff field.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The 59ers have studs on both sides of the pitch including a few younger UWF graduates. However, it is the work of Lafayette-native Dillon Gallet that spectators will want to watch. Gallet was an All-GCPL East selection and finished tied for fifth place in the Golden Boot race. He may be one of the fastest players in the GCPL and will prove a matchup headache all night for any team. Defensively, Chance Chancellor was also an All-GCPL East selection. He has taken on player-coaching duties this year, but will make sure that his defensive line will again be one of the best in the GCPL.

The club can be found on Facebook at @pensacolafc1559 and Twitter at @PensacolaFC.

Tickets to Saturday’s game are just $5 each, and all kids 12 and under will be admitted free of charge. This Saturday is Teacher Appreciation Night! All school employees with a valid school ID will be admitted at no charge! All AFC Mobile home games are played at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile.

AFC Mobile-Mobile United FC summer camp registration now open

AFC Mobile and its official youth partner, Mobile United FC, will be holding a soccer camp this summer for youth players.

AGES

This camp will be for players who were born between 2000 and 2012.

CAMP DATES

Friday, June 8: 6:00—8:00 p.m. @ Sage (Herndon) Park
Saturday, June 9: 9:00—11:00 a.m. @ Lipscomb Field
Sunday, June 10: 2:00—4:00 p.m. @ Sage (Herndon) Park

INCLUDES

  • COACHING BY AFC MOBILE PLAYERS
  • A CAMP T-SHIRT
  • 1 FREE TICKET TO THE AFC MOBILE VS GULF COAST RANGERS FC GAME ON SATURDAY NIGHT-JUNE 9TH
  • SOME CAMPERS WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO WALK OUT WITH THE TEAMS OR BE BALL KIDS

COST

The camp cost is $110. Payment can be made online in full, broken into two payments, or paid at the field before check in ($115)

To register, click on the link below:

https://mobileunitedfc.sportngin.com/register/form/339670431

AFC Mobile’s preseason ends with 2-1 nail-biter loss to NPSL’s New Orleans Jesters

AFC Mobile was denied a historic upset after giving up a late goal to the New Orleans Jesters on Saturday night in Mobile. The Jesters came back from down a goal to beat the Azaleas 2-1 in front of over 650 fans in the final preseason game before beginning the 2018 Gulf Coast Premier League campaign.

The Jesters came to Mobile in preparation for their 2018 National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) season and their US Open Cup match this week. Last season the Jesters went unbeaten in the NPSL’s Southeastern Conference. The game was the first time the Azaleas welcomed NPSL opposition to Mobile

“They are a level above us, but I thought we showed pretty well. We’re still bringing in a couple players that have trained with us once or twice.” said AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas. “I was very happy with what I saw. Obviously we would have loved the tie or the win, but I couldn’t ask for more from the guys. They gave everything on the field.”

The Jesters asserted their dominance early in the match with a few chances early on. In the 9th minute, Jesters forward Mason Walsh beat the Azalea defense, but his shot was saved by keeper Elijah Gibson. It would be the first of six saves in the first half for Gibson.

Despite ceding most of possession to New Orleans during the opening minutes of the match, the home team found the back of the net first after a Jesters own goal. Mobile’s Matt Merrill played a long ball from midfield to forward Iba Ndaw. The ball did not find Ndaw’s feet because it was deflected by a Jesters defender, but it continued travelling toward the Jesters’ goal. New Orleans keeper Chad Collins backtracked and made a sliding attempt to clear the ball away, but it rolled over the goal line before he could do so, and AFC Mobile took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

After falling behind, the Jesters continued to attack the Mobile goal. In the 27th minute, a long range effort from the Jesters was punched out of bounds by Gibson leading to a corner kick. The Jesters sent the corner in and Gibson saved another Jesters shot. After a scramble in front of the goal, the ball was cleared off the goal line by defender Sherman Winchester. Winchester had one of the brightest performances for the Azaleas in a night full of stellar play.

The Jesters continued to push for an equalizer for the remainder of the first half. Ollie Roberts nearly equalized in the 34th minute, and the Jesters almost pulled one back during first half stoppage time. Despite the pressure from New Orleans, an incredible performance from Gibson in goal and rock solid defending from the Mobile backline of Winchester, Brantton Greene, Markos Mallis, and Spring Hill College’s Pablo Sanjuán Delgado was enough to maintain the one-goal lead heading into the half.

“I feel we did well. It was a hard game…starting with this team (the Jesters) is good for us. We did a lot of good things,” said Delgado after his debut game for AFC Mobile.

At the start of the second half, Nicholas replaced Gibson with keeper Barou Ndaw. Despite giving up two goals in the second half, Ndaw’s performance in goal rivaled Gibson’s first half performance as he finished with seven saves on the night.

The Jesters had a few chances in the first fifteen minutes of the second half before Igor Siscov collected a lose ball in the box to level the score.

Mobile’s best chance to regain the lead happened in the 75th minute after Chisom Ogbonna found his way behind the New Orleans defense, but the ball was collected by the Jesters’ keeper. The keeper punted the ball into midfield to the feet of Mobile’s David Valverde who fired for goal from 30 yards out, but his shot was saved. Valverde, a Davidson High School alumnus, former UAB Blazer, and former Birmingham Hammer, had an excellent game in the midfield in his debut for his hometown team.

“It’s really good to come back home and play with some players I used to play with. The atmosphere is great. I knew from the start there was gonna be a lot of people here, and I was very excited to come and play here,” Valverde said.

The Jesters took the lead in the 86th minute after a great save from Barou Ndaw fell to the center of the box and was fired in by Luke LaVanway. Mobile attempted to tie in the dying minutes of the game, but could not find the equalizer.

AFC Mobile will return to The Lip next week to take on Pensacola FC (formerly the Gulf Coast Texans) to open the 2018 GCPL season. Kickoff is Saturday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile. Tickets are only $5 and kids 12 and under are admitted free. Saturday’s game is also Teacher Appreciation Night at The Lip, and all teachers will be admitted free of charge. AFC Mobile is also proud to welcome Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson to perform the ceremonial pregame coin flip. Come show your appreciation for Commissioner Hudson for her tireless advocacy for the soccer community in Mobile and for making the Mobile County Soccer Complex project a reality.

Getting to Know You: New Orleans Jesters

After a 6-0 loss to the NPSL Southeast’s Atlanta Silverbacks and a 2-1 victory over the GCPL Central’s Northshore United FC, AFC Mobile will complete its preseason schedule with a home match against the NPSL Southeast’s New Orleans Jesters. This is the club’s final chance to shift formations and work on tactics prior to the start of the Gulf Coast Premier League Eastern Division season starting on May 12th against Pensacola FC. Saturday, May 5th will mark an anticipated showdown between teams representing the birthplace of Mardi Gras and the biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the country.The Jesters were highly successful last season and will feature a slew of professional prospects as they enter Mobile to take on the Azaleas for their first match of the year prior to the start of their NPSL Southeast schedule and their first round match in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

CLUB: New Orleans Jesters

NICKNAME: Jesters

The New Orleans Jesters are fresh off the best season in the club’s history. They went undefeated in the NPSL Southeast regular season (8-0-4) and won its crown. But they saw their 2017 postseason end prematurely on a controversial red card in the NPSL Southeast playoff finals against Inter Nashville FC.

Formerly playing in the Professional Development League (PDL), the Jesters now play in the National Premier Soccer League, which is the fourth tier of soccer in the United States. Producing players such as Patrick Mullins (DC United) and Andrew Tarbell (San Jose Earthquakes), the club has had several players move on to play professionally in MLS and abroad. There have also been recent discussions about the club making a jump to the professional level in the near future.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Jesters’ roster is laden with many returning stars from last year’s team, including Mason Walsh, Chad Collins, and Curtis Thorne. Walsh, the captain, is the team’s star midfielder who pushes the team forward, setting up the style and pace of play that head coach Kenny Farrell demands. Collins was arguably the best goalkeeper in the region last year, making several spectacular saves. Defender Curtis Thorne was voted the team MVP last year and should give the Jesters’ back line some much need stability.

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

Tickets to Saturday’s game are just $5 each, and all kids 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.  All AFC Mobile home games are played at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile. Finish off your Cinco de Mayo properly with tacos from the El Milagro Taqueria Y Pupuseria food truck that will be on site inside the stadium!

AFC Mobile – Man of the Match vs Northshore United FC (4/28)

AFC Mobile struck twice in the first half in order to hold off Northshore United for their first win at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex. On a night with several notable debuts for Mobile, here are the nominees for the Man of the Match.

22 – Ibrahima Ndaw – FWD

Ibrahima Ndaw (photo courtesy of Michael Shartava)

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and what an impression Iba Ndaw made for the home fans in Mobile. Ndaw combined well throughout the game with Chisom Ogbonna before a brilliant free kick gave him his first goal in Mobile colors in the 17th minute. He struck for the game-winning goal in the 28th minute with his left foot. It was a spectacular debut for the 6’5” Spring Hill College alumnus.

16 – Markos Mallis – DF

Markos Mallis (photo courtesy of Michael Shartava)

Shifting from left back to centerback, Mallis found himself involved less in the attack than he had been last year, but defensively he was strong dealing with a quick NUFC attack.

11 – Martin Fiemawhle – MF

Martin Fiemawhle (photo courtesy of Michael Shartava)

Fiemawhle’s contributions cannot be measured on the stats sheet. While he did have a fantastic set piece in the second half, the calmness that he brought to the pitch was immeasurable. The team just looked better in both the attack and defense when he set foot on the field.

9 – Erik Aispuro Vidaña –  MF

Erik Aispuro Vindaña (photo courtesy of Seth Laubinger)

Speaking of debut performances, the Robertsdale High School product proved to be crafty on the right side of the midfield. Combining well with Ogbonna and Sherman Winchester in the attack, Aispuro truly made his mark.

Who is your Man of the Match? Vote in the poll below or write your own nominee in the comment section.

AFC Mobile’s last preseason friendly at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex is on Saturday, May 5th against the National Premier Soccer League’s New Orleans Jesters. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. All tickets are only $5.00 and, as always, kids 12 and under are admitted with no charge. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more information.

New addition shines in first home win against Northshore United

 

Smiles and good times were in abundance at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium as AFC Mobile opened up its 2018 defense of The Lip with a 2-1 defeat of Covington, Louisiana’s Northshore United FC in preseason friendly action.

Coach Nate Nicholas fielded a slightly depleted side as several anticipated starters are not scheduled to see action until next week’s visit by the NPSL South Region Conference’s New Orleans Jesters in the final match before the start of the 2018 GCPL season.

The opening minutes of the match had the roughly even, tentative start that one would expect of two sides still working on their chemistry, but it did not take long for AFC Mobile Forward Iba Ndaw to find a breaking Chisom Ogbonna in the fourth minute for the first of what would be many combinations and close scoring opportunities.

By the tenth minute, the Azaleas started to gain confidence and momentum in their possession, culminating in an insightful pass from Martin Fiemawhle to a breaking Ogbonna, who teamed with Ndaw to work through the Northshore defense before being taken down 24 yards from goal. On the ensuing free kick, Iba Ndaw uncorked a blistering, curling shot that evaded the outstretched arms of the keeper and smacked into the back of the net to give Mobile a 16th minute 1-0 lead.

Ndaw would be rewarded again when Matt Merrill lofted a 40 yard cross-field pass to a streaking Brantton Greene, whose squaring pass found Ndaw at the top of the penalty area. Ndaw circled to create space and fizzed a low shot with his weaker foot, which bounced off the far post and across the line to give the Senegalese native his second goal of the match.

After securing the lead, Coach Nicholas took advantage of the unlimited substitutions agreed upon for the friendly match to experiment with different options and player combinations. Northshore continued to work on shutting down AFC Mobile’s attack and began to test the depth of their defense with increasingly consistent possession that persisted until halftime.

The second half saw a determined Northshore side continue to mount pressure, which was rewarded in the 47th minute when United standout Salim Yillah slipped free of his marking and headed home a corner kick to cut the margin in half. Northshore continued to apply pressure to get an equalizer against a Mobile side that was focusing on defending their lead. The Azaleas’ line held strong until the 61st minute, when a cutting through ball led to a Northshore attacker alone against the keeper. The shot was well taken and was headed toward the top corner of the net, but an acrobatic effort from Mobile keeper Elijah Gibson deflected the ball to preserve AFC Mobile’s lead. AFC Mobile held on to win its first home match 2-1 in front of an ecstatic preseason crowd of 765.

AFC Mobile’s next match is against the New Orleans Jesters on Saturday, May 5th at 7:00 pm at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile. Tickets are only $5 and kids 12 and under get in free. You will be able to finish off your Cinco de Mayo properly with the El Milagro Taqueria Y Pupuseria food truck serving tacos inside the stadium! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat!

 

Getting to Know You: Northshore United FC

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

CLUB: Northshore United FC

NICKNAME: United

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFC Mobile falls to NPSL’s Atlanta Silverbacks in preseason

ATLANTA–AFC Mobile dropped a 6-0 decision to the Atlanta Silverbacks of the National Premier Soccer League in its first game-action of the year on Saturday night.

“When you start your preseason off with a level above what you are, and without your full complement, it shows the difference in the level and something for our boys to aspire to,” coach Nate Nicholas said. “[Atlanta Silverbacks FC] has been around for a long time, and this is our second year. Even though the scoreline’s not great, it served its purpose. We wanted to learn about ourselves, and we learned about ourselves, and we learned some things we need to work on.”

The Silverbacks took an early lead when a free kick taken while the referee reached for his pocket beat goalkeeper Elijah Gibson. The host team’s speed and physicality overwhelmed a Mobile squad missing several of its starters, and it wasn’t long before the Azaleas fell behind 3-0, courtesy of a chipped goal down the left wing and long-range effort from the right. A curled free kick just before half-time sent Atlanta into the interval with a 4-0 advantage.

“They were speedy all over the field,” Nicholas said. “They beat us early on with that, and exploited some of our weaknesses. We gave up three early goals, but after that we started to grow into the game and find our own. But that’s what good teams do. They find a weakness and they exploit it, and it took us a while to adjust to it.”

An experimental second half saw Mobile concede twice more on the break. The best chances for the visitors came from set pieces and some well-worked play by AFC Mobile debutant and former Savannah Clovers midfielder Tomas Lopez.

“I hadn’t seen him in a game situation, and I think he showed that he can raise his level and contend well with their quality,” Nicholas said. “I also though [right back] Brantton Greene had a great game for us. He’s young but he’s a player that will be great now and in the future.”

AFC Mobile will host Northshore United on April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex in another friendly, its first against the GCPL newcomers.

“We’re probably not going to play a team in our league that’s better than they are. We learned that we can play and hold our own, but that there’s a lot to work on. It’s important to be at training and working hard and working on those things while we have the time to do it. We’ve got to get in shape and get our first touches down. We’ve had one training session with some of these guys, so we’ll improve.”

AFC Mobile is Mobile’s minor league soccer team. It plays its home matches at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex in Mobile. Tickets are $5 for each match, and children 12 and younger are admitted free. Season tickets are available online at afcmobile.net/shop.