Category Archives: Soccer

NAASA95’s Epic First Cup Final

The first season of North American Adult Soccer Association-Riverside came to a close Sunday night with the NAASA95 Cup final at Ab Brown Soccer Complex.

And if you play for Inland FC, as I do, today is not the best ever.

We lost, 1-0, to Riverside Madrid on goal I allowed midway through the second half.

From a goalkeeper’s perspective, it sucks. I know I played out-of-my-mind and it still wasn’t enough to get the job done. I finished with six or seven saves — some of them critical — but all I can think about is how I reacted slowly in my dive attempt; That the ball was out of my reach before I was even at full stretch, and how I watched it rattle the netting in the back of the goal.

The harder part to assess are the other aspects of the game (like all of the play which happened on the other end of the field) but we were stout in defense and I’m proud that we allowed just one goal in each of our two postseason games.

We had our chances to score vs. Madrid — mostly in the first half — but we lost the middle of the field in the second half and were forced to repel attack after attack.

While the loss is sure to linger through the winter, there are several data worth noting for me.

I finished the season as the only Inland FC player to be on the field for every minute of every game. That’s more than 1,110 minutes, and it means I’ve now started and finished 27 consecutive games for my club dating back three seasons.

Overall, I allowed 22 goals in nine regular-season NAASA95 games*, finished with a 2.44 goals-against average, and even had one assist.

It was a memorable campaign and would not have been so without the efforts of my teammates (in alphabetical order): Daniel Arreaga, Ranjit Chahal, Alvaro Contreras, Leon Enderica, Sherif Fathy, Adrian Garcia, Hector Garcia, Aaron Lambert, Eric Lambert, Ryan Leonard, Hugo Oliveros, Juan Otero, Rene Perez, Cesar Reynoso, Kwaku Sarpong-Agyeman and Fabian Sythoff.

Each played integral roles, and contributed to the betterment of the league. Our quality forced the other teams to sign better players, which in turn gave the league the epic final it needed.

Now to use it as a springboard into next season…

* — Inland FC’s had one game cancelled after thieves stole essential components (copper wiring) to the lights at Ab Brown Soccer Complex.

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Filed under Inland FC, NAASA95, Soccer

NAASA95 Off To Competitive Start

NAASA95 got its unofficial start on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, with an exhibition match pitting Inland FC vs. Riverside’s Best at A.B. Brown Soccer Complex in Riverside (Calif.).

NAASA, the North American Adult Soccer Association, is a nationwide set of leagues sanctioned by USSF and plays under FIFA Laws. Riverside’s new startup, the Pete King Memorial Soccer League, features four divisions of men’s and women’s soccer.

I’m in my fifth season with Inland FC, which previously played in the Riverside Adult Soccer League before switching to start the Fall 2013 season.

On Sunday, I started my 16th game at goalkeeper for IFC and provided the league with many of its firsts.

I allowed the first goal.

I made the first save.

I allowed the second goal, and the third, but then something happened.

We got one back. Daniel Arreaga scored on a pass from Ranjit “Bolo” Chahal and we all picked our heads up for a minute.

But it was only a minute as our tired defense was broken down again, and Juan Otero was called for a foul in the penalty area to set up the league’s first ever penalty kick.

Moment of truth for both the kicker and the goalkeeper.

My initial thought was to dive right. He was a confident player who had already scored and I was not going to let him beat me to my strong side. Before he struck the ball, however, I noticed his body tilt as he approached and quickly dove to my left where I stopped his shot before punching it away.

I had already made five saves in the game to that point but it was by far the most important. We took possession of the ball and went down the other end and scored.

It was the pivotal moment in the game, and for me the first time I’ve stopped a penalty kick in my career. (I cannot remember every time, but I’ve probably whiffed three or four previous attempts.) I was breathing heavily after the fact, and probably needed the adrenaline because I had to react again less than two minutes later when I came off my line to defend a 1-on-1. I stopped the shot and smothered the rebound before releasing a timely outlet pass that led to the game-tying goal.

With all players feeling the heat — relative and actual (100-degree temps by the final whistle) — there was a decision to finish the game in with “golden-goal” or last-goal-wins scenario.

Fortunately, we have “Bolo” playing for our side. Chahal calmly tapped in the game-winner to give Inland FC a 4-3 victory in the league’s first-ever game.

It was a game of many firsts — not lost among them “Bolo’s” first two-goal effort — and one that will go down as NAASA95’s Inaugural Friendly.

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September 9, 2013 · 10:28 AM

Klinsmann Would Have To Be A Fool

Landon Donovan’s return to LA Galaxy has me thinking …

1. If the two-time MLS champions can win games without him (not to mention Becks and even Keane) then he left the team at the right time. Galaxy’s 2-0-1 record and advancement into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals attest to that.

2. If this is indeed his last year at Galaxy — his four-year contract expires after this season — then it becomes obvious why he didn’t retire: the opportunity to cement his legacy as the best player in U.S. history with a third consecutive domestic title.

3. If he’s rested and engaged mentally then Jurgen Klinsmann would have to be a fool not to pencil in a new No. 10 0n the right side. The USMNT is scoring too few, and Graham Zusi is nice, but c’mon. The World Cup is next year (already!) and the team’s top play-maker is healthy.

4. Anyone who says he abandoned either club or country is off their nut and/or a rabid fan of El Tri, and taking cheap shots out of spite. Or… or… secretly missing their favorite player.

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Filed under Los Angeles Galaxy, Soccer, USMNT

Terminating A ‘Friendly’

As a relatively new referee — I’m in my ninth MONTH as a U.S. Soccer Federation referee — I’m still experiencing a lot of stuff for the first time.

On Sunday, I terminated a ‘friendly’ game between two local U-11 girls club teams in the second half after the visiting team’s coach kept threatening to take his girls off the field if I didn’t call the game more evenly, or “it’s gotta be 50-50,” is the way he put it, over and over.

Now, I had no affiliation with either team, but was being paid by the home team to work the game. I had never met either coach, didn’t have a relative playing in the game or otherwise have any meaningful relation to anyone involved.

It’s pretty standard procedure, overall. Even so, the visiting coach was not happy with the game I was calling. And he let me know it, over and over.

And after I called his team for offside (she was obviously in an advanced position) he went ballistic and said, “Are you sh*tting me?”

I stopped the game. Told him that if that was to be the way he was going to conduct himself, he might as well take his team and go home.

“You want me to take my team off the field?” he asked.

“Dude. I do not care.”

He told his girls to leave the field and I blew my whistle signaling the end of the game. His team lost, 1-0, but two of his girls said, “Thanks anyway, ref.” Several of the home team’s player shook my hand and told me they thought I did a good job.

Whatever. The tale of two sides, ya know? I was happy to work the game, even if it was played in mostly steady rain.

It’s just unfortunate this coach had to be first-class douche and ruin in for everyone.

Oh, and club sidelines… what a disgrace to decorum and sportsmanship. Those parents should be ashamed of themselves, and frightened about what they’re teaching their children.

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Filed under Referee, Soccer

Galaxy, Long Walks and Chicken Piccata

Made it to the Galaxy’s MLS opener, albeit it the middle of the first half.

Not much to report, beyond the ales we devoured and the goal Edson Buddle scored on a header off the foot of David Beckham.

The rest was essentially a wash, with the three unanswered goals Real Salt Lake scored in the last 20 minutes, and the treks to and from the parking lot making the evening more aerobic than planned.

We got back to my brother’s place in Lake Forest and his fiance’ made some great chicken piccata with potatoes and brussel sprouts. Hey, she likes to cook and I like to eat.

Nothing profound. Just a fairly decent evening, overall.

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Filed under Family, Food, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Soccer

Locomotion Monday

Locomotion 2012 wrapped up, for me, with my 9:30 a.m. arrival.

I was scheduled to be a standby for 10 a.m., and then work championship games at 12 and 2 p.m.

Well, there actually was enough referees to cover all the games at 10 a.m. so I ended up goofing off with Patrick Weidhase, the sophomore captain of the frosh soccer team at Riverside King. He had to retrieve several of my errant passes.

11 a.m. rolled around and it became time to get ready for my first game, a Girls U14 championship between Chino Hills and Corona at noon.

I was Francisco Davila’s senior assistant, and worked the opposite sideline from Pablo Sanchez.

Davila insisted that we wear pink jerseys for the game. So much so that he brought jerseys for everyone. I now own a pink referee jersey. It’s actually very nice.

The game was competitive, more than the final scoreline indicated. Chino Hills won, 4-0, but not after taking Corona’s best shot.

I was then tasked to referee the a Boys U10 championship at 2 p.m. This game was going to be contentious (all U10 games are) and I knew it was going to be a headache before I even looked at either team.

Surprisingly, the action was great until I called for a dangerous play infraction against a Palos Verdes team that was already winning 3-0 10-plus minutes into the second half.

On the play, the boys are on their butts with the ball between one’s legs. There’s no dangerous contact happening and the players quickly resolve and resume playing while one voice on PV’s sideline screams for a call.

“It’s gotta go both ways referee!”

“So that wasn’t dangerous?”

“What were you looking at?”

I stopped the game. Look at the coach and tell him there was no infraction. He tells me  the same three things he just said. I tell him that if I have to stop the game again to talk to him, there’ll be consequences.

That’s when a rather large Hispanic male says, “You need to be doing a better job.”

“Are you a coach?” I ask him. No response. “Keep it to yourself then.”

Palos Verdes won the game easily, 4-1, and the coach thanked me after the game and told me I did a great job. Sometimes that actually happens.

Fun stuff. And I got a pair of L.A. Galaxy tickets to the MLS opener for doing it.

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Filed under AYSO, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Referee, Soccer

Locomotion Sunday

A little sore, but imminently ready, I refereed two more games on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012.

And I have to say, I’m really having fun at this year’s Locomotion tournament. The games have been great, and I haven’t had to show a single card through five games. Oh, and I’m getting the opportunity to work with some tremendous referees.

The two games I worked on Sunday, a U12 girls and a U14 girls, were both extremely competitive contests with spots in the championship round on the line.

I was specially assigned to the first game, Corona vs. Chino Hills, because of sideline issues stemming from CH’s previous game. Apparently, CH’s coach had to be sent off after their sideline was warned numerous times. I was told this going in, and was given the intruction to to levee punishment if I deemed in necessary. Fortunately, I didn’t have to take such action, and after Corona scored a couple of early goals, Chino Hills stormed back to tie the game, and then scored the only two goals of the second half to come away with 4-2 victory.

The second game was mine to officiate, and it pitted Beverly Hills (a team I refereed on Saturday) against Palmdale. The two teams played to a scoreless halftime, and if not for a sramble in the goal area that led to the first goal, the game probably would have ended in a scoreless draw. As it was, Palmdale was able to find the back of the net, and Beverly Hills was not, and so went their championship fortunes.

Among the referees I’ve worked with include Riverside’s Pablo Sanchez. A local middle school principal, Sanchez is among the funniest, most willing-to-laugh referees I’ve ever met. Hardly a serious moment has been had while we work together, which makes even the most intense game extremely enjoyable, and teaming with him has definitely made this weekend more fun than it probably should be.

Also, the burritos today were fan-freaking-tastic. So there’s that.

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Filed under AYSO, Referee, Soccer