Tag: NPSL

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.

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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 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.

Getting to Know You: Atlanta Silverbacks FC

Saturday, May 14th, AFC Mobile kick off their preseason with a trip to the confines of Silverback Park to take on the Atlanta Silverbacks of the National Premier Soccer League. This will be a tough test for the Azaleas as they begin on their path towards the Gulf Coast Premier League regular season. There are few teams in the southeastern United States like the Silverbacks. In fact, there are few teams in American soccer like them. Atlanta Silverback supporter Paul F. Scanling breaks down why the Silverbacks are special in American soccer and what AFC Mobile can expect to see when they make the trek to historic Silverback Park.

CLUB: Atlanta Silverbacks FC

NICKNAME: Silverbacks

HOME: Atlanta Silverback Park, 3200 Atlanta Silverbacks Way, Atlanta, GA 30340

HISTORY: The Atlanta Silverbacks trace their history back to the Atlanta Ruckus, which began play in 1995. The name change came in the fall of 1998 to honor longtime Zoo Atlanta icon Willie B., a silverback gorilla named after former Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield.  The club has participated in the A League, the USL and the NASL in the past and now competes in the NPSL.  The club plays at Silverbacks Park, located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285, also known as Spaghetti Junction.

Twice losers to the Seattle Sounders in the championship round, the Silverbacks have also made it to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup, beating both Colorado and Real Salt Lake in that competition.  USMNT Legend Eric Wynalda managed the Silverbacks during that run.  The current version of the club has won trophies the last two seasons in the NPSL.
The Silverbacks have reached an agreement with the Silverbacks Trust to facilitate fan ownership, making the Silverbacks one of only a few teams in America that are focused on and supporting fan ownership.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Keka Kamara – the United Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and first team All-American, will undoubtedly be a player climbing the American soccer pyramid. Meanwhile, new captain Sheriff Suma, returning players Abdul Bangura, and Mohammed Issahaku will also test the Azaleas early and often.  In goal, Bryce Billington returns to the Backs after a year playing with the Georgia Revolution.

The club can be found at www.atlantasilverbacksfc.com, on twitter @atlsilverbacks and has a YouTube channel.  The Trust can be found online at asfctrust.org and on Twitter at @asfctrust.

AFC Mobile to host NPSL’s New Orleans Jesters on May 5th

Mardi Gras 2018 may be over, but the friendly sibling rivalry between Mobile and New Orleans will roll on this summer.

After a parade season filled with teasing and debate over the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the U.S., the two capitals of Carnival will face off on the pitch this season when AFC Mobile hosts the New Orleans Jesters of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 5th at the Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb Complex (“The Lip”) in Mobile.

“We’ve dreamt of a matchup with the Jesters since day one of this project,” AFC Mobile cofounder Sean Landry said. “New Orleans and Mobile have been neighbors and competitors for 300 years, so this is the natural extension of that history. I’m grateful to Kenny Farrell for his work in finalizing this matchup, and I know we’re both excited to offer The Royal Court, the Causeway Rebellion, and all the fans of both teams an event to remember.”

The match will mark the first ever appearance by an NPSL team in Mobile, and will be the highest level of soccer talent on display in the Port City in at least 20 years. Last season, the Jesters went undefeated to finish in first place in the West Division of the Southeast Conference of the NPSL.

AFC Mobile is Mobile’s minor league soccer team, competing in the Gulf Coast Premier League. Our season begins in April 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. Season tickets are available now at afcmobile.net. Follow AFC Mobile on all your favorite social media platforms to keep up-to-date on additional information about the 2018 season!