MCB CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. –
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Commander Brigadier General Jason Woodworth opened the 2023 Championship at Paige Athletic Field as teams from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and host Marine Corps took the field.
Army faced the Marines in the opening match with Army 2nd lt. John Poncy of Fort Hood, Texas scoring off a miscalculated defensive clearing just before the half.
During the second half, Poncy scored his second goal of the match on a penalty kick in the 64th minute.
The Marines jumped on the scoreboard with Cpl. Aaron Crance of MCAS New River, N.C. delivering a beautiful header in the 70th minute to bring the score within one.
Army was able to stave off the Marine’s aggressive attempt to tie the match, winning 2-1 for their first victory.
Next up, Navy battled Air Force in an exciting match to close the day.
Navy Seaman Julio Noel of Naval Base San Diego, Calif. sprinted out front driving the ball past Air Force goalie 1st Lt. Ben Lockler of Robbins AFB, Georgia in the 16th minute giving Navy the lead.
Before the half, Air Force 1st Lt. Austin Dewing of Hurlburt Field, Florida won the challenge against Navy keeper Ensign Tyler Fahning of NAS North Island, Calif., driving the ball into the net to tie the match.
With the match tied at the end of regulation play, both teams entered extra time looking to score the ‘golden goal’ to end the match.
In the 115th minute, Air Force Airman 1st Class Isaac De Souza of Ramstein Air Base, Germany drove the ball past Navy to seal the victory, with Air Force winning 2-1.
Army faces Navy on Friday, April 7, followed by Marines hosting Air Force.
Joining this year's event are members of the 1998 All-Marine Men's Soccer team, which won the last Armed Forces Championship for the Marine Corps. This marks the 25th Anniversary since the Marines last stood at top of the podium.
Visit www.armedforcessports.com for complete coverage of the 2023 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship.