ARMY ENDS AIR FORCE REIGN OVER AFS MEN’S SOCCER TOURNAMENT

By MC2 Ian Carver U.S. Armed Forces Sports

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In the final minute of the Armed Forces Sports (AFS) Men’s Soccer Championship match Army scored the go-ahead goal to end Air Force’s two-year reign of the tournament by a score of 2-1.

In a tightly fought match that resembled the two teams’ first match from earlier in the week in which Army again found the back of the net as time expired.

The AFS men’s soccer championship consisted of teams from all service branches, Army, Marine Corps, Navy (with players from the Coast Guard), and Air Force. Air Force, the winners of the previous two tournaments came into the match with its only loss being against Army on the first day of the tournament. That loss came after a last second goal by Army Capt. Andy Hyers. “It is just crazy that both wins [against Air Force] came from goals in the last few seconds of each match,” said Hyers.

The Navy and Marine Corps teams squared off in the first match of the final day to determine the third and fourth place teams of the tournament. Navy ended up coming back strong in their final game against the Marines with a 5-1 victory after struggling to score a goal in their two prior matches against Army and Air Force. 

“We have a really strong team with a lot of technical and athletic ability, but had issues maintaining our level of play after we got down, it really hurt our motivation,” said Navy assistant coach Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Trujillo of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. 

Navy finished the tournament 2-2 and Marine Corps finished 0-4. Even with the Marines team not able to secure a victory, they battled through every match with a never surrender attitude that produced the leading scorer in the tournament with LCpl. Nicholas Heath, having scored five goals in four matches and was involved in every one of the goals scored by the Marine team. 

“We are always trying to do more with less,” said Heath. “We have a very talented team this year, we just couldn’t get the wins.”

It was only fitting that this year’s tournament would be played on a Navy base under haze gray skies resembling that of the color of the Destroyers and other U.S. Navy vessels moored just a few hundred yards away. Through rain, hail, and wind, the players representing their respective service branches played the type of technically sound soccer that made supporters from each team sit and cheer through the elements. 

“The teams and level of competition look very good, these guys are playing at a very high level right now and it has been fun to watch,” said Capt. Michael Davis, commanding officer of Naval Station Everett.

Armed Forces Sports is the culmination of each Services’ Sports and Fitness program, offering 25 national and international level sports. Armed Forces Sports promotes goodwill and projects a positive image of our Military by encouraging physical fitness through a highly competitive sports program. For more information, visit www.armedforcessports.defense.gov. (U.S. Navy Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class, Ian Carver/RELEASED). 

The following are the selections for the All-Tournament and U.S. Armed Forces Teams
    
All-Tournament Team
GK - SN Dylan Meeker, Naval Hospital Beaufort, SC (Navy)
Def - LTJG Alexander Maney, NS Norfolk, VA (Navy)
Def - 1LT Tanner Vosvick, Fort Hood, TX (Army)
Def - 1LT Cameron Niccum, Fort Hood, TX (Army)
Mid - Capt John Melcher, Peterson AFB CO (USAF)
Mid - 1stLt Conor Goepel, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, HI (USMC)
Mid - 1LT Alexander Clark, USAG Hawaii (Army)
Fwd - LCpl Nicholas Heath, Camp Lejeune,N.C. (USMC)
Fwd - PO2 Devonte Ecford, MCAS Yuma, AZ (Navy)
Fwd - Capt Andrew Belk, Patrick AFB FL (USAF)
Fwd - 1LT Nicholas Williams, Baumholder, Germany (Army)

Armed Forces Team:
SPC Steve Cisneros Palacios, Camp Humphreys, Korea (Army)
1LT Alexander Clark, USAG Hawaii (Army)
SPC Christian King, Fort Bragg, NC (Army)
1LT Cameron Niccum, Fort Hood, TX (Army)
1LT Tanner Vosvick, Fort Hood, TX (Army)
1LT Nicholas Williams, Baumholder, Germany (Army)
2d Lt Tucker Axhoj, Yokota AB, Japan (USAF)
Capt Andrew Belk, Patrick AFB FL (USAF)
SSgt Joseph Haug, Holloman AFB NM (USAF)
A1C Benjamin Lockler, Grand Forks ND (USAF)
Capt John Melcher, Peterson AFB CO (USAF)
Capt Anthony O'Connor, JB Lewis-McChord WA (USAF)
2d Lt Ryan Ward, USAFA CO (USAF)
PO2 Devonte Ecford, MCAS Yuma, AZ (Navy)
LTJG Alexander Maney, NS Norfolk, VA (Navy)
SN Dylan Meeker, Naval Hospital Beaufort, SC (Navy)
PO1 Michael Farbridge*Currie, NRD San Diego, CA (Navy)
Capt Dylan Montambo, Camp Lejeune,N.C. (USMC)
1stLt Conor Goepel, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, HI (USMC)
LCpl Nicholas Heath, Camp Lejeune,N.C. (USMC)

Head Coach - Lt Col Jeremiah Kirschman, Scott AFB IL (USAF)
Assist. Coach - CPO Jay Reynard, NIOC Hawaii, Honolulu, HI (Navy)
Assist. Coach - GySgt Rocky Fredin, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, HI (USMC)