Tag: mobile

Coach’s Corner


Following a 2-1 friendly win against Northshore United FC of Covington, LA, coach Nate Nicholas spent the week preparing his team for the New Orleans Jesters.

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.

AFC Mobile Partners With Youth Soccer Club Mobile United FC

Mobile, Alabama – March 7, 2018 – AFC Mobile is pleased to announce a partnership with Mobile United Futbol Club, the Alabama Gulf Coast’s oldest and most successful competitive youth soccer organization. After continued success, including six 2017 state championships, Mobile United FC will now serve as the youth academy for AFC Mobile.

“We are thrilled to partner with such an accomplished and well-known organization as Mobile United,” said Jeff Garl, AFC Mobile Vice President. “AFC Mobile has always been focused on providing opportunities for the young players in Mobile, and giving them a visible outlet for soccer at a high-level. With this partnership, our team will be able to work directly with Mobile United teams, giving them the chance to work side-by-side with the players they get to watch on Saturday nights.”

While Mobile United FC and AFC Mobile remain separate entities, together they share a common vision: to grow the sport of soccer in the city of Mobile. This partnership will result in  the formation of two new teams. The AFC Mobile United U23 squad, managed by Ruben Risco, will wear the MUFC crest on their AFC Mobile uniform sleeves. Going forward, the Mobile United U19 State League team will be renamed AFC Mobile United U19. The U19s will continue to wear their traditional MUFC uniforms, but will proudly sport the AFC Mobile crest on their sleeves.  These teams will conduct joint training sessions, public events, and benefits.

“This partnership gives us the potential to become one of the premier clubs not just on the Gulf Coast, but in the entire Southeastern U.S, and to give Mobile the stature of club it deserves,” said Wayne Etheridge, Mobile United FC President.

Founded in 2010, Mobile United FC is the area’s leader in youth soccer, offering programs from ages three to adult. With more than 20 players from Fall 2016 alone playing collegiate soccer, MUFC concentrates on player development and competitive play.  Tryout times and dates for Fall 2018 will be released soon. For more information on MUFC go to mobileunitedfc.com.

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 2018 season!

 

AFC Mobile Wins Soccer Round Table Logo Cup

AFC Mobile began 2018 with a cup victory on Wednesday night, despite the season being a few months away. The club won the Soccer Round Table Logo Cup, a Twitter competition organized by the podcast and website Soccer Round Table. AFC Mobile was the last team standing out of 128 lower-division soccer teams participating in the contest.

“I designed the logo a few years before we actually had a team. There was a ton of thought put into it,” club president Abram Chamberlain said. “The fact that people in Mobile and throughout the country looked at that logo and decided that it is the best lower division soccer logo is a humbling response. It is proof that we have built something incredibly special in Mobile.”

On the road to the title, AFC Mobile knocked out some major teams, including USL side Sacramento Republic FC, perennial NPSL power Detroit City FC, the ever popular Minneapolis City SC, and last year’s US Open Cup darlings Christos FC in the final.

According to the contest’s sponsors, AFC Mobile will receive a set of 18 kits from Impact ProWear and a trophy. Keep an eye on our social media pages for more details about the kits in the future!

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

 

Nineteen Players Selected to Return To Invitational Tryout

Nearly 50 players came out to Herndon (Sage) Park in Mobile on December 9th to participate in AFC Mobile’s Open Tryout for the 2018 GCPL season. Nineteen of those players have been invited back by the coaching staff to participate in an Invitational Tryout.

  • Erik Aispuro
  • Suleiman Carr
  • Roman Causse
  • Chris Cory
  • Cam Cranton
  • Drew Dixon
  • Abraham Estaba
  • Brantton Greene
  • Desmond Ibie
  • Jean Paul Irakiza
  • Kevin Jackson
  • Nam Le
  • Tomas Lopez
  • Dillon Lowe
  • Jesse McCarty
  • Alejandro Ojeda
  • Alec Peacock
  • Laurentiu Pirvu
  • Carlos Varas

These players will join other invited player to compete for a spot on AFC Mobile’s 2018 roster.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brent Grube Joins AFC Mobile as Goalkeeping Coach

MOBILE, ALABAMA – Former AFC Mobile goalkeeper and current Mary G. Montgomery High School girls soccer coach Brent Grube will join the Club coaching staff as an assistant for the 2018 season, the club announced Sunday afternoon.

“Brent was a good player for us last year. I’m excited to have him moving to the coaching side of the organization,” said head coach Nate Nicholas. “He will be a great help to me and [assistant coach] Ruben Risco in helping prepare for games and practices on the goalkeeper side.”

Last season, Grube was part of AFC Mobile’s inaugural roster and started four games at goalkeeper, before suffering an injury in the offseason. He will now transition to goalkeeper coach on Nicholas’s staff this season.

“When I tore my ACL, I thought that my time with AFC Mobile was over,” said Grube. “Having played [goalkeeper] my entire career, I’m happy that I will be able to pass on my experience to AFC Mobile players. I am very excited to join the coaching staff and I look forward to the season.”

Grube joins the staff in time for AFC Mobile’s open tryouts on December 9 from 2:00-6:00 PM at Herndon (Sage) Park.

“In Brent, the club is able to get not just a good coach, but a good person. He displayed leadership in training and on the pitch last season,” stated AFC Mobile President Abram Chamberlain. “Being able to retain him as part of the AFC Mobile family is huge. We are extremely happy to have him continue with us as we move into our new season and our next chapter.”

Early registration is available online for $15.00 until December 8th and will be $25.00 for walk-up registration on December 9th.

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.

Fan Reaction: The AFC Mobile Family

Mobile is a port city. A city of different cultures. A city of distinct identities. A city of disparate ideals. However, for ninety minutes on Saturdays, the people in Mobile gather together to cheer on their team. They become one voice with one cause. All of this grown from one idea: community.

In this Fan Reaction, supporter Stephanie Ward talks about how the club and its fans have become another family to her.

As fans we wanted more. We wanted something to call our own.

When I was asked to share my feelings about AFC I immediately said yes! I’m excited to write about one of the things I feel very passionately about. Soccer in general holds a special place in my heart. I was first introduced to the game when I traveled to Germany in 1989 as an exchange student. I fell in love immediately.

My boys played soccer when they were young and when I was dating my husband he would come out to practices and games. He knew nothing about the sport but quickly learned and even started doing a little assistant coaching at the YMCA. We had friends who played in the adult league at Sage Park where my husband eventually got a spot on a team. I would get several of my friends on Sundays and we would go out and watch him play. We would make a day of it…watching several teams.

As we both got more involved with the local soccer scene we discovered a group of fans who would gather at a local pub to watch the World Cup. Eventually the Crazy 88s, our local AO chapter, was born. We would get together and watch the US play any chance we could. Some of those same people also gather early on Saturday mornings to watch Premier League soccer.

As fans we wanted more. We wanted something to call our own. A group of very dedicated and diligent people worked tirelessly to finally bring us AFC! Yes! We now have our very own team, representing our great city, to support. I remember as the first home game approached, I was a little nervous that attendance would be low. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked around to see the stands almost full. We broke attendance records with the Gulf Coast Premier League that weekend. I cannot put into words to how much pride I felt for our new team.

So, what does AFC mean to me? The first thing that comes to mind is family. We gather together before the games to eat and celebrate. We gather together at the games and sing our songs and cheer with one voice. We know the players by name and a lot of them have taken the time to get to know us. It kind of feels like we all have this wonderful adoptive child that we love and want to protect.

I can hardly wait until next season! I know our family will continue to grow and break records. I’m so proud of what AFC has done so far and I’m looking forward to what they will do in 2018! As we say in the Rebellion…. Always Mobile Always Home!!