Tag: Biloxi City FC

AFC Mobile rolls in 11-0 rout of Real United FC

MOSS POINT, Miss. – AFC Mobile snapped a three-match losing streak with a dominant 11-0 victory over Real United FC Riverhawks on Saturday night in Moss Point. Goalkeepers Barou Ndaw and Patrick Davis kept AFC Mobile’s first-ever clean sheet in a joint effort, while the netminder’s brother Iba Ndaw led the Azaleas in scoring with four goals. Abdal Almutairi applied consistent pressure on the Riverhawks defense and scored a hat trick, including his first goal for the club. This match saw three AFC Mobile United players make their first team debut: Davis, Matthew Duffey, and Justin Mallis, brother of AFC Mobile regular Markos Mallis.

“We were just the better team tonight and it showed in the scoreline,” AFC Mobile coach Nate Nicholas said. “But just to be blatantly honest, I’m not going to really be able to take a whole lot from that game and use it for next week. With a game that high-scoring, it kind of gets a little bit unrealistic.”

Mobile controlled the early stages of the game. The Azaleas opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Martin Fiemawhle sent a ball across the face of goal that was slotted home by Iba Ndaw. Real United had a short spell of possession after the opening goal, but never truly threatened Barou Ndaw in goal. The Azaleas nearly doubled their tally after Dawson Jellenc initiated a string of build-up passes in the midfield. The ball returned to Jellenc, whose shot went just wide of the goal. AFC Mobile scored again in the 35th minute after Matt Merrill played a long ball from the midfield to Fiemawhle who chipped the keeper to give the Azaleas a 2-0 lead. In the 40th minute, Almutairi opened his scoring account by chipping the keeper and giving the Azaleas a 3-0 lead. Two minutes later, Merrill played another through ball from midfield and Almutairi sent a high arching shot in the air, chipping the keeper for a second time. The Azaleas took a 4-0 lead into halftime.

“They just needed high pressure on the defense,” Almutairi said. “I just did what the coach asked me to and I pressed high on them.”

Mobile found the back of the net early in the second half. In the 47th minute, Iba Ndaw took a close range shot that spilled across the goalline after it was fumbled by the Riverhawks keeper. Two minutes later, Ira Bowens played a ball for Almutairi down the right wing. Almutairi completed his hat trick after sending in another arching shot from a tight angle, giving the Azaleas a 6-0 lead. In the 53rd minute, Almutairi played a ball into the box and Matt Merrill scored from point blank range, giving the Azaleas a 7-0 lead. The away team continued to dominate the second half. Iba Ndaw completed his hat trick in the 80th minute after Matthew Duffey played him in from the top of the box. In the 87th minute, Duffey went on to score a goal of his own in his AFC Mobile debut off an assist from Brantton Greene.

Off the restart from Duffey’s goal, Iba Ndaw played in Tomas Lopez who slotted home an easy effort to bring the score to 10-0.  In the 91st minute, Iba Ndaw scored one more goal unassisted after dribbling past the Riverhawks’ defense and goalkeeper, bringing the final score to 11-0.

This Saturday, the Azaleas return to the Lip to take on Port City FC in the second leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup. Although this rivalry is only two years old, it has produced some of the closest matches and most memorable moments in either club’s history, and has been labeled the “realest rivalry in American soccer” by media outlets.

“Last time they did a real good job of getting one of our better players red-carded and suspended,” Nicholas said. “It’s a grudge match. I don’t care if one team is in the playoffs and one team is not. It was the same way last year and both games were very intense, very in your face, go-at-it soccer and I don’t expect it to be any different. I expect it to be pretty hardcore.”

Kickoff for that game is at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 14th 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.

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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 Gets First Win of GCPL Season Against Cajun SC

Chisom Ogbonna netted the first hat trick in AFC Mobile history to lead the Azaleas to a 3-1 win over Cajun Soccer Club of Lafayette, Louisiana.

We knew after losing our first home game we had to pick up some points somewhere, so this was a big win for us to pick up those three points we lost at home, AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas said. “Hopefully from here on out we’ll keep on accumulating points because we want to be in one of those playoff spots.”

The Azaleas opened the game with an early chance from Erik Aispuro. Ogbonna played the ball to Aispuro on the right wing, but his shot sailed over the crossbar. The pair would link up for the game’s first goal. Aispuro played the ball into Ogbonna who scored his first goal of the night from close range.

Ten minutes later, Ogbonna doubled his tally. After winning a crushing tackle in the midfield, Iba Ndaw boomed down the left flank and played the ball across the face off goal that was cooley slotted home by the leading goal scorer in club history.

Mobile’s 2-0 lead would not last for long. In the 28th minute, center-back Guillermo Lumbreras, Jr. brought down a Cajun player just outside of the penalty box. Lumbreras was shown a yellow card, the first of six for the Azaleas on the night. A minute later a Cajun free kick ricocheted off the crossbar. Mobile was unable to clear the lose ball and Cajun’s Berkley Laviere put the ball in the back of the net for the home team, bringing the score to 2-1.

Despite conseding that lone goal, Nicholas said the Azaleas did a much better job of defending this week after letting in four goals against Pensacola FC last weekend in Mobile.

We still need to work on it. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a defensive problem, it’s kind of a team defending thing we need to work on. Tracking runners from the midfield and other places a little bit quicker,” Nicholas said. “But we did give up a few chances…and tonight we’re lucky that Cajun didn’t finish all the chances they had, but neither did we.

Late in the first half Lumbreras took a hard knock and was replaced by Duck Vu, who made his AFC Mobile debut. Last season Vu was an Honorable Mention All-Conference player for Biloxi City FC (now rebranded as Port City FC).

Both teams would have one more solid chance before the end of the first half. A shot from Iba Ndaw was parried out for an AFC Mobile corner, but the ball was easily handled by Cajun.

In stoppage time, KC Espoir was shown yellow outside the box. Cajun’s rocket of a free kick rattled off the crossbar and was cleared by Iba Ndaw.

Ogbonna nearly completed his hat trick early in the second half, but his shot went just wide of the net.

Chisom Ogbonna goes up for the ball in AFC Mobile’s 3-1 win over Cajun Soccer Club on Saturday May 19, 2018.

Cajun almost equalized in the 64th minute when a nice ball found its way through the Mobile backline and was collected by keeper Barou Ndaw. Saturday’s match marked the first time that brothers Barou and Iba Ndaw shared the pitch in an AFC Mobile match.

Ogbonna did complete his hat trick in the 84th minute to kill off the game. Ogbonna finished a great ball from another player making his AFC Mobile debut, Donte Oliver. Oliver was an All-Eastern Conference player for Biloxi City FC last season.

AFC Mobile will travel to Gulfport, Mississippi, to take on Port City FC in the first leg of the “Forgotten Coast Cup.Kickoff is May 26th at 7 p.m. at Herbert Wilson Stadium. The Azaleas will once again be reserving a bus for supporters wishing to make the trip. Don’t miss the match that Non League America calls “The Realest Rivalry in American Soccer. For more details on how you can ride the fan bus, visit www.afcmobile.net.

AFC Mobile will return to The Lip in two 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.

Fan Reaction: Grassroots Growth

I’ve always been a sports fan. Growing up, I participated in sports but wasn’t all that good. I played a little junior high soccer, got cut from the team at basketball try-outs; and while I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where hockey was king, I couldn’t skate to save my life.

But my dad took me to a hockey game or two, and I still remember the fight between the Marquette Iron Rangers and the Green Bay Bobcats with 52 seconds left in the game. It was quite a sight. When the ice finally cleared of players, it was still covered with gloves and hockey sticks… and a little blood. Not sure this is good for an 8-year-old to see, but I was hooked. And I went to everything after our family moved to Seattle — football, baseball, basketball, hockey, even a soccer team called the Seattle Sounders.

The Sounders became a very big deal to me and introduced me to soccer in the 70s. Tickets weren’t expensive, and I could easily go to their games as a kid. So my friends and I would take the bus in to watch them play at the Kingdome. Fun Fact: the Sounders drew over 58,000 to a game in 1975 and were averaging about 25,000 fans a game by the late 1970s. The energy in the building was awesome, even though we still hadn’t figured out supporters group or scarves or any of the things we associate with soccer today. Sadly, soccer wasn’t quite a thing yet in the rest of the country. The NASL of that era spent too much money and had too few fans, and the league collapsed in the early 1980s.

As my sports fandom grew, so did my awareness that I was definitely NOT an athlete. I instead became the best fan I could be — loyal, loud, proud, and with the team to the end. If I couldn’t make an impact on the field, at least I could contribute from the stands. I’ve always cheered for the home team, where the jersey represents the communities I’ve called home.

The teams don’t have to be good, just ours!

Enter AFC Mobile — a club founded from the grassroots, a labor of love. AFC Mobile was formed to support soccer, and then joined a league and put out a schedule. When it became clear that we finally had a team, one that would represent our community, that was simply fantastic news to me! I don’t totally know how to describe my excitement, and my nervousness about this soccer experiment. Would soccer even work in Mobile? My wife and I decided we had to buy season tickets. Sure, we love soccer and wanted to see the games, but we also understood the importance of “butts in seats” to a team’s success. If this was going to work, it was critical that fans show up.

We didn’t need to worry.

AFC Mobile came out of the gates with more than 800 fans for its first match, one scheduled on Mother’s Day. The atmosphere was just incredibly fun, thanks in part to the Causeway Rebellion supporters group, but also due to the pent up energy of a crowd that was just excited to have a team and had been anticipating this opening match for some time.

We lost the game, but we clearly won the hearts and minds of the community. At the next game, the crowd was even bigger. And at the home finale, we had more than one thousand people on hand. This is in a league that typically drew 200 or fewer fans a game, and the Mobile community delivered five times that! Sweet lunacy, indeed!

AFC Mobile became something more than a team in its inaugural season. They became our club, our community, and a rallying point for a city that’s used to cheering for teams 200 miles away (looking at you, Auburn and Alabama). They embraced the community, and we loved them right back.

Even though the first season wasn’t great on the pitch, AFC Mobile is ours.

We finally got the elusive first win at the very last match of the season — a wild affair on the road that saw AFC Mobile take down its arch rival Biloxi City FC. (And how Biloxi became our derby match is a grand story in itself, best saved for another day).

If there was promotion and relegation in our league, we would have been relegated. We won one game in ten, finishing in last place, and yet it was one of the best times I’ve ever had in sports. Because so many people came out, so many people cared, and something special happened in the Azalea City. I was sad when the season ended.

In American soccer, teams don’t move to the next level on the pyramid because they’re good. They move on to the next level for a metric that’s at least as important: fan support! AFC Mobile and this community passed its first test. AFC Mobile had a great first season in the stands, and it will grow. When I met some of our players at the kit reveal before this inaugural season, I reminded them of who they were, and what they represent. Years and maybe decades from now, they will always be the first representatives of our community’s soccer team. They were keenly aware of this, and thrilled to be part of it.

As supporters, we should also remember our role in all this. We showed up and we wore scarves (in 90 degree heat) and we sang and we stomped. We bought swag and wore it proudly. We made the players feel like they were part of something. We showed a community that soccer can and will work in a city that’s addicted to the other kind of football. We did the unexpected.

We can take pride in that fact as fans and supporters. We are the first generation of AFC Mobile, and we are laying the foundation for the best that’s yet to come.

Always Mobile, ALways Home.

#SL1702

 

Fan Reaction: Stewart Thames – the Face in the Crowd

Sometimes, the support of a team is simply about soccer. Not everyone will be popping smoke and banging drums. Some come to the matches to take in a full-on battle. They are their to watch gladiators on the pitch play the game they love for their city. This is Stewart Thames.

In this fan reaction, Stewart Thames recalls what is important about AFC Mobile to him: wanting his team to succeed. He came to AFC Mobile for soccer. He has never had issues being critical of the club, but that is only because it is his club.

You’ll find me inconspicuously hidden among the crowd of fans…[but] This is my team and I want them to win

I am not an influential person in the Mobile soccer community.

I am not a member of the Causeway Rebellion.

And I am not someone who is going to know everyone at an AFC Mobile match.

I am just an “average” fan.

Of course, one of the biggest disconnects between my life as a soccer fan growing up in Mobile and the soccer teams I watched was geography. I always enjoyed watching matches in England, Germany, and Spain, but I never really gained a real attachment to any European club.

When I really became interested in soccer, the closest top professional team was in Houston, and I had yet to become aware of the myriad of smaller leagues scattered across the United States. I took an immediate interest in our domestic league and I became an avid supporter of a certain Rave Green team in the Pacific Northwest. During those days, MLS matches were rarely televised nationally. So, I would stream Sounders matches on my laptop from suspect sports streaming sites, and I even paid for an online subscription so that I could watch every match.

While I was just as real of a fan as someone from Seattle, I still felt that I was missing part of the “fan experience” because I had no real connection to the city.

I first found out about AFC Mobile through Twitter. When I read that Mobile would have an organized “semi-pro” soccer team, I was engulfed with a wave of skepticism and excitement. While I had a small group of fellow soccer fans my age, I was curious as to whether Mobile was capable of supporting a soccer team. My excitement primarily stemmed from the fact that there would be a local soccer team that I could support and always call “my team” regardless of the circumstances.

In fact, I was so eager to learn more about the team that I privately messaged Abram Chamberlain asking him when the team would begin play. Even before the first whistle, I knew that I was committed to being an AFC Mobile fan.

I know that the fan and game day experience is a big deal to most small clubs and its supporters, but for me, my fandom consists of having a team that I can support regardless of the circumstances. Maybe it’s a little bit selfish that I don’t care that much about the camaraderie of the supporter groups or the “family friendly” atmospheres.

To me, it is all about experiencing the sadness and joy that you get from passionately supporting a team regardless of how good that team is or what division that team competes in. AFC Mobile has given me that chance to call a local team my own. I remember going to that first AFC Mobile game and being excited that over 800 people turned out to watch the match. I was pleased to see that Mobile could support a 5th division soccer team, but my “inner fan” took over as soon AFC Mobile started its first match against the Gulf Coast Texas.

While I was excited to be at the first ever AFC Mobile home match, I was also slightly annoyed that AFC Mobile lost. It wasn’t an “I’m not going to watch that anymore” type of annoyance, but it was a “this is my team and I want them to win, dammit” annoyance that any real fan of a team experiences. From then, my love for the club didn’t cease. I streamed away matches (when available), and I even stayed up until 3 a.m. in Oxford, England while studying abroad to watch AFC Mobile lose to Motagua and Gaffa. It didn’t cross my mind that the team was winless up to that point and that I could just check the score in the morning. AFC Mobile was my team and I was going to watch them just as fervently as I watch the Sounders or the United States National Team. I was a soccer fan from Mobile who finally had a Mobile team.

My fandom is not the typical type of soccer fandom that most people envision when they think “soccer fan.” You won’t find me chanting or beating drums in the supporters section. Every team needs those types of fans, but that’s not me. You’ll find me inconspicuously hidden among the crowd of fans questioning a call by the referee, applauding or cursing a tactical move by our manager, or just admiring the sheer brilliance of a good pass.

I may not be the one who shows the most outward emotion, but I am also the first person to stand up and applaud when Chisom scores a goal or when Matt Merrill makes a crunching tackle in the midfield. I can be annoyed when the team is not doing well on the field, and I can cheer for the club when it does the little things right. Being a fan of a team means experiencing all of the good and all of the bad. AFC Mobile’s lone win against Biloxi was made even sweeter because I experienced the last gasp golazo by a 10 (or was it 9?) man Biloxi in Lipscomb Stadium. That’s the fun part of being a fan: sticking with a club during the peaks and valleys of a season.

AFC Mobile has given me the opportunity to support an authentic Mobile soccer team. I now have a local team that I can root for and be proud to call my own. So, thank you, AFC Mobile, for giving a diehard Mobile soccer fan the chance to cheer for a Mobile soccer team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fan Reaction: Pride, City, Club

Soccer has become huge in the United States. Groups in Mobile gather to watch US Men’s and Women’s National Team games as well as the English Premier League, the top Mexican division, America’s Major League Soccer, and many more leagues from around the world. However, nothing can compare to supporting a team that represents you, your culture, and your city. Nothing is better than pride, city, club.

In this Fan Reaction, supporter Sam Zanaty explains how his passion for soccer and his love of Mobile were able to mesh together and explode into something truly special.

We made ourselves known with the “M-O-B” chant

When I reflect back on growing up in Mobile, I fondly remember attending Mobile Bay Bears and Mystics games. If I had played my cards just right, I’d be fortunate enough to get Dippin’ Dots ice cream! And like most youngsters, I’d hope for a chance of catching a foul ball or getting a post-game autograph from one of the players. These are my memories of sporting events in Mobile.

Today, I’m 25 years old, my passion for sports can best be described as a love for the game of soccer. You’ll most definitely find me rooting for the men’s and woman’s US National Teams (but let’s not discuss the men’s team right now) and my favorite teams from Europe. COYS!

Still, there is something very special about supporting your hometown. I remember distinctly my excitement to find out that the city of Mobile would have a soccer team. I was relaxing one weekend checking out posts on Facebook when I saw one regarding AFC Mobile. My first swag purchase was a scarf, and later would follow with both a home and away jersey. That’s right… I do get a bit passionate about soccer teams. After a couple hats and another scarf, I felt like my swag collection was ready to represent AFC Mobile. Some would say I purchased too many things (You’re welcome AFC Mobile financial group).

The first home game I was able to attend was against Biloxi City FC (now Port City FC). Little did I, or anyone else in attendance, know that the game would be a roller coaster ride full of unexpected turns. Numerous goals, a scary injury and more red cards issued in a single team that I’ve ever witnessed in person. Unfortunately, we lost. However, I instantly bonded with the other fans in attendance, rooting our team on to represent our city.

Another fond memory I had of last season was attending the game where we broke 1,000 fans in attendance! Fans made up of young families, and a few hooligans, all wanting to support AFC Mobile. Being a part of the Causeway Rebellion and providing the boys a supportive atmosphere at home (and away) was an absolute blast! We made ourselves known with the “M-O-B” chant. If you are unfamiliar with it, google the Icelandic national team chant. Just imagine if we, Mobilians, can get 2,000 people to perform this at a game.

During the last home game, as I was leaving the Lip, I overheard a little girl speaking to her father and she asked “Are we coming back again next weekend?” The dad was unsure of the schedule so I had to be the barer of bad news that tonight was the last home game until next season. She was bummed of course, but then filled with excitement for the next season.

Me too young lady!

The future of the beautiful game of soccer is bright with our youth, and if we can continue to support this great game and our hometown team, who knows the level of success AFC Mobile can reach. I encourage all who are reading, to attend a game this upcoming 2018 season. You will not be disappointed and who knows, you too might unleash your love of the game.

For the love of the beautiful game.

AFC Mobile claims first ever win with dominant performance over Biloxi

GULFPORT–Powered by a first-half brace from Austin Hilyer and a goal apiece from Matt Merrill and Chisom Ogbonna, AFC Mobile beat Biloxi City FC 4-2 on Saturday for the first ever win in the club’s history.

“To get that monkey off the back, for me, for coach Ruben, for the team, for the fans, it’s an amazing feeling,” AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas said. “I knew we had it in us. Tonight, we played them off the park. We were the better team from start to finish.”

Biloxi opened the scoring in the 15th minute when the home team bundled in a corner that bounced across the end line over right back Sherman Winchester’s attempted clearance. Ten minutes later, Hilyer drew a yellow card while stopping a Biloxi counter.

Five minutes after that, a Markos Mallis corner skipped through the box to Hilyer’s waiting foot at the back post for the equalizer.

In the 35th minute, Hilyer headed home off another corner to give the team from Mobile a lead it would never relinquish.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Hilyer said. “He placed that cross perfectly, and I was right there. Perfect timing, I guess.”

Mobile dominated the second half from the first whistle, earning its third goal when midfielder Matt Merrill blasted a shot from outside the box past the Biloxi keeper.

Chisom Ogbonna had a chance to finish the match in the 62nd minute when he was brought down in the box to earn a penalty, but the forward’s resulting kick was saved. He didn’t make the same mistake twice. Ogbonna was again brought down in the 69th minute, and blasted the penalty off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal.

“He is a true professional,” Nicholas said of the club’s leading goalscorer. “He comes, he works hard, he is a leader. Even without the armband, he’s been a leader on the team, not just by scoring goals but showing when to calm down and when to go. When you have a player of that level on your team who you don’t have to coach, who’s another coach on the field, you love it. He’s been amazing.”

The home team got one back in the 75th minute, but it was scant consolation as Mobile’s win ended Biloxi’s bid for the Gulf Coast Premier League playoffs and avenged a 2-1 loss in Mobile, giving the Azaleas the 5-4 series win on aggregate.

After the first win in club history, the traveling fans – a bus-full and then some… more than 100 – took to the pitch to greet their club.

“When your fans outnumber, or are at least 10 times louder, than the home fans, and it feels like you’re at a home game, you’ve got nothing but love for that,” Nicholas said. “I almost lost my voice in the first half, and I know they were going crazy. It buoyed us all season to know they had our backs.”

“They’re amazing,” Hilyer said of the Causeway Rebellion Supporters Group. “We were on the field and the other team was telling us ‘y’all’s fans are crazy.’ That pushed us the entire match, and we couldn’t be more pleased with them.”

AFC Mobile ended its inaugural season with six points, one win, three draws and six losses, and the top six attendance records in the league, including Biloxi’s record attendance of more than 400 set Saturday night, the highest in a GCPL match not hosted by AFC Mobile.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” Nicholas said of his squad. “Every one of them came out and worked hard, and this is just reward for a whole season.

(Photo: Michael Shartava/AFC Mobile)

AFC Mobile’s Man of the Match: Biloxi City FC’s Fred Riley

Biloxi City FC’s Fred Riley (24) after stopping a first half challenge by AFC Mobile’s Chisom Ogbonna (4). (Photo: Carissa Harrison/Facebook)

We’re doing something a little different for this week’s Man of the Match award. Instead of letting the fans decide which one of our players had the best game on Saturday, we’re giving the award to Biloxi City’s Fred Riley.

Riley suffered a broken leg after a nasty collision with his own goalkeeper.  He underwent surgery in Mobile Monday morning and is doing well.

Riley was born in Gulfport. He comes from a military family and spent much of his childhood traveling. He joined the Marine Corps and played soccer for the All-Marine team while enlisted. After leaving the Marines, Riley moved to Biloxi. Riley said Biloxi has a fantastic soccer scene with great youth clubs and a feisty adult league.

Despite the injury, Riley praised the Mobile fans for the support they have shown him and the atmosphere they created.

“Mobile was complete pandemonium,” Riley said. “Your fans make it impossible to hear yourself think! Great soccer atmosphere. I’ll make it a point to be at the return fixture!”

Riley also wanted to give a special shout-out to Roman Carnley, the Mobile United player he walked out onto the pitch with before the match. Thanks for being a fan!

AFC Mobile will take on Biloxi City FC on July 15th, the last match day of the regular season. We can’t wait to see you there, Fred!

AFC Mobile will travel to Pensacola to take on the Gulf Coast Texans next Saturday, June 17th. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Ashton Brosnaham Park. AFC Mobile fans are encouraged to make the short journey to the Pelican City to support the visiting team.  AFC Mobile will return home to the Lip for three consecutive weekends beginning Saturday, June 24th, against the Louisiana Fire. Tickets are only $5 and kids 12 and under are admitted free of charge. Follow us on Facebook for more information.

Late Goal Sinks AFC Mobile In 2-1 Loss to Biloxi City FC

MOBILE, ALABAMA – Another record-breaking crowd filled the west stands of The Lip Saturday night, but AFC Mobile was sunk by a screamer of a goal late into stoppage time, falling 2-1 to Biloxi City FC in the first edition of the Forgotten Coast Cup. The official attendance was 924.

“I believe fully the guys did everything they could to try and win the game, to make the fans happy,” said AFC Mobile captain Martin Fiemawhle. “We just have to work on defending… stay positive. We have next week. We’ll bounce back.”

The first half was a fairly even affair with both sides unable to capitalize on their chances. Six minutes into the game, Amos Ndikumana sent a shot across the face of the goal that was easily collected by Biloxi City keeper Brian Hammons. A minute later, Nate Gillespie slotted a ball through to Chisom Ogbonna, whose shot dragged just to the left of goal.

A record-breaking crowd of 924 was on hand to see AFC Mobile fall 2-1 to Biloxi City FC on Saturday night. (AFC Mobile/Seth Laubinger)

Biloxi struck back in the 14th minute with a shot by Romar Smith. Smith’s effort was parried into the air then collected by AFC Mobile goalkeeper Brent Grube. AFC Mobile came close to scoring when Sherman Winchester rocketed a long range effort from outside the box that ultimately floated outside the right post.

In the 34th minute, Biloxi’s Atem Kuot was shown a red card for violent conduct after pushing Mobile’s Nathan Gillespie off the ball, and Biloxi was down to 10 men. Ogbonna had another effort saved in the 39th minute. Late into first half stoppage time, Greg Hosford laid off a beautiful ball for Winchester whose shot was saved.

The game was stalled six minutes into the second half after Biloxi City’s Fred Riley collided with his own keeper and AFC Mobile’s Jackson Barber. Unfortunately, Riley was stretchered off the field after a long stoppage. We wish him a speedy recovery.

“We come out in the second half, we almost score a goal on the play, and then stop for 35 minutes. Our prayers go out to the guy, but it really kinda kills the momentum…But his health is most important,” AFC Mobile manager Nate Nicholas said.

Biloxi took the lead in the 54th minute after Patrick Harrison sent a low rolling shot into the far right corner.

Mobile was awarded a penalty after Biloxi’s Orazio Digesu brought down Ogbonna in the box. Fiemawhle, one of AFC Mobile’s two captains, stepped up and coolly fired the PK into the back of the net.

“For me, I just stay calm the whole game. When I have a chance like that, stay calm and just put it in the back of the net,” Fiemawhle said.

AFC Mobile captain Martin Fiemawhle after slotting home a penalty to level the score. AFC Mobile would ultimately lose to Biloxi City FC 2-1. (AFC Mobile/Seth Laubinger)

In the 70th minute, Biloxi City’s manager Sinisa Vukadin was ejected from the match. Tempers flared throughout the venue, and both sides continued to push forward to break the deadlock. In the 76th minute, Biloxi’s Iba Ndaw brought down Ogbonna and was shown yellow.

Ndaw was shown a second yellow in the 89th minute, giving Mobile a two-man advantage as the game headed into stoppage time.  The home side, however, could not capitalize on the advantage. In the 94th minute, Biloxi’s Itz Trevor scored a screamer from outside of the box to give Biloxi a 2-1 lead and seal the match.

“I don’t know if that guy will hit another shot like that ever again in his life,” Nicholas said.

AFC Mobile will travel to Pensacola to take on the GCPL leaders, the Gulf Coast Texans, next Saturday, June 17th. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Ashton Brosnaham Park. AFC Mobile fans are encouraged to make the short journey to the Pelican City to support the visiting team.

AFC Mobile’s Brian Singler: Sergeant, Sheriff, Soccer Player

Forward Brian Singler was wearing a uniform long before he suited up to play for AFC Mobile.

Not only is Singler a deputy sheriff in Baldwin County, he is also a sergeant in the Army National Guard, a veteran of the War on Terror, and a military police officer.

This military has always been a part of Singler’s life. His father was a career Navy man and provided the inspiration for Singler to join the the armed forces, though he didn’t join the National Guard until he was 33.

“I’ve always had that desire,” Singler said. “It’s always been back there, a feeling of wanting to do it.”

Singler said that the most rewarding thing about being a part of the National Guard is being able to do something to serve more than just the Mobile Bay area and Alabama.

“I love this nation,” Singler said. “I went overseas in 2015 to 2016 and now I feel when people say ‘thank you for your service’ I can say ‘no problem’ or I can have something for them to be thankful for. Just to be able to serve this country is the most fulfilling to me.”

Soccer has been a part of Singler’s life as long as the military has. Both of his parents played, and he’s been playing since he was four years old. He moved to Baldwin County 20 years ago and takes pride in representing the Mobile area on the pitch.

“To represent this city, there’s no words that can express that. The team that we have, the brothers; we have a good bond. It’s almost like Christmas morning every time you put that jersey on.”

Balancing his day job as a deputy sheriff, his military duties, and his commitments to AFC Mobile has been a challenge, but Singler said he’s found the secret.

“Well, I have understanding bosses and an understanding wife as well,” he said. “They know how much I love this sport and how much of a part of my life it is and the passion I have for the sport.”

This Saturday, June 10th, AFC Mobile will be honoring the men and women in the armed forces by holding its first ever Military Appreciation Night. Kickoff against Biloxi City FC at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex is at 7 p.m. All veterans and active duty personnel are admitted free with their military ID. As always, kids 12 and under are also admitted free. All other tickets are just $5.