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News | May 14, 2016

Air Force Capture 2016 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Gold

By Mr. Steven Dinote Armed Forces Sports

Air Force prevailed in their rematch against Navy 3-2 Friday afternoon to capture the 2016 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship after a week’s long tournament at Fort Benning, Ga.  

Navy Ensign Alex Wilson of NAS Pensacola, Fla. struck first with a solid goal in the 12th minute, in what it would appear to be a repeat of the first match between the two squads on day two of the tournament. 

However, Air Force Airman 1st Class Christopher Grant of Ramstein Air Base, Germany had other thoughts as he entered the box to score the penalty kick in the 17th minute. 

Air Force capitalized on their momentum with goals by 2nd lt. Micah Cummins of RAF Mildenhall, UK and Airman 1st Class Benjamin Latimer of Pope Army Airfield, N.C. in the 45th and 66th minutes respectively. 

Air Force defense held strong throughout the second half. In the final minute of the match, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Baker of Prince George, Md. scored Navy’s final goal on a penalty kick.

“This feels absolutely amazing” said Air Force Head Coach Lt Col Derrick Weyand of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

“We by far had the best team out here…we just had to play at our level,” said Weyand.  “These guys perfected the game plan and I couldn’t be more proud of them, because they executed the plan.  The toughest team we faced was Navy,” continued Weyand, “Their team and their coach are tactically sound and by far the Navy did an exceptional job.”

“Highlight of the tournament was winning with the guys,” said the tournament leading scoring Christopher Grant.

“They wanted revenge so bad because they lost to the Army last year. And to come here, arm the guns and win the gold is salvation.”


Looking to avenge their first match against the Marines, Army Capt. Andrew Hyres of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. took the opening kick and drove down the field, catching the Marines’ defense flat-footed for Army’s first goal of the game in less than 30 seconds. 

Army dominated play throughout the first half of the match with a 1-0 lead at half time.

Army came out strong again the second half with Sgt. Joseph Karslo of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. in the 50th minute. 

The Marines refused to quit despite their 2-0 deficit.  In the 66th minute, Cpl Alexander Figueroa-Roncon of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. finessed a kick over a wall of Army defenders to breathe life into the Marines. 

In the 79th minute Marine Sgt. Glenn Duffy of Quantico, Va. tied the match at two goals apiece. 

As the match drew to a close, Marine Cpl. Juan Medina of Camp Pendleton, Calif. drove hard to the net for the goal in the 90th minute to lift the Marines over the Army as time expired to win the match 3-2, securing third place in the tournament. 


Goal Keeper: Sgt. Hector Zepata – Army (Fort Carson, Colo.)

Defender: Sgt. Joseph karslo – Army (JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.)

Defender: 2nd lt. Scott McGillivray – Air Force (Malmstrom AFB, Mont.)

Defender: 1st Lt. Darin Nottingham – Air Force (Hill AFB, Utah)

Defender: Sgt. Nixon Keago – Marine Corps (MCB Hawaii)

Defender: Lt. Micahel Tuddenham– Navy (Norfolk, Va.)

Midfielder: Airman 1st Class Christopher Grant – Air Force (Ramstein AB, Germany)

Midfielder: Seaman Angel Vallejo – Navy (USS Abraham Lincoln)

Midfielder:  Lt. j.g. Hector Arellano– Navy (NSB Kings Bay, Ga.)

Forward: Cpl. Adrian Brown – Marine Corps (Camp Butler, Japan)

Forward:  Juan Medina – Marine Corps (MCB Quantico, Va.)

Leading Scorers:

Airman 1st Class Christopher Grant – Three (3) goals

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Baker – Two (2) goals

Fourteen (14) players with one goal each

In his selection to the All-Tournament Team, Grant says “All the players that played here are top class players, being the one to stand out is truly humbling and amazing at the same time.  Hopefully I make the CISM Team, that’s what I am looking forward to.”

The U.S. Armed Forces Men’s Soccer team will conduct a trial/training camp in the December/January timeframe in order to prepare for the 2nd Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Football Cup in Muscat Oman January 13-29, 2017.  This world-class event will feature 16 teams from around the world.