Saturday, June 20, 2015


The prima squadra needed two wins in their last three games to secure promotion this season, and after scoring a 3-0 upset away last weekend, it was looking pretty good with one away game followed by a home game to end the season. But they were shut out in the penultimate game during the week, a game they had half-expected to win, which put the pressure on.

Half the village turned out for the game and it seemed to fire up the players as they came out and heavily dominated the game for the first 10 minutes. The ball barely made it into our half of the field. Then our captain got the ball halfway through midfield and the box, and despite not having position on the sweeper, he simply challenged the big guy's speed, blew past him, and slipped a nice left-footed shot past the keeper. 1-0.

Not even five minutes later, one of our players was taken down just inside the box. The crowd was screaming for a penalty, but the referee reasonably gave us a free kick right on the line. No matter, our star striker stepped up and hit a soft, but perfectly positioned shot right in the upper corner. The keeper didn't even move. 2-0.

The game was sealed within the first half-hour when a midfielder headed a half-cleared ball past the defense, the star striker jumped on it, pushed it past the keeper who had come out to try to get it, then casually passed the ball into the empty net. He was right in front of our group of veterans, so he dropped to one knee and threw his arms up theatrically as if accepting accolades while the crowd went wild. It was pretty funny.

Two crossbars in the second half was as close as we got to scoring again, so the game ended up 3-0, but perhaps the funniest moment was when the older striker who sometimes plays with us (and is joining us full-time this fall) went in as a substitute, got the ball, and couldn't beat the two men on him or find anyone to pass to. He finally put it down the line and out of bounds, prompting one of my teammates to yell, "see, that's why you're playing with us next year!" It was a great game from a fan's perspective, the guys were entirely in control throughout, and there were at least three genuinely spectacular exhibitions of skill that I can't even properly describe.

All the teams were there, from the younger juniors to the vets, sporting the colors and cheering on the guys. I know all the players pretty well, having played with four of them and practicing twice with the squad, so it was a real pleasure to see them return the club to the highest level at which we've ever reached in our history. The players are even better acquainted with Ender, as he is being groomed to be one of their keepers of the future, so I was pleased, if a little surprised, to see him invited to join the team photo they took after the game.

It may be tough to stay up next year, but except in goal, the team is very young and I expect they will continue to improve. But promotion to this level is something that only happens perhaps once every ten or twenty years, so it was exciting to have the chance to be a part of it.



Blogger Rantor June 20, 2015 5:36 PM  

Congratulations! All the best for the next season.

Blogger ajw308 (#98) June 20, 2015 5:41 PM  

...were at least three genuinely spectacular exhibitions of skill that I can't even properly describe.
Well, describe them improperly then.

Blogger Doom June 20, 2015 6:48 PM  

Just being a bit picky, but.... half expecting to win in a two team contest is... pretty slim... or to be expected? *grins* Never mind, just... thinking out loud again.

Anonymous Anonymous June 20, 2015 7:44 PM  

Heh. Bring it home when it's on the line.

Good luck and watch your joints.

Blogger Peter June 20, 2015 8:49 PM  

Congratulations! That's great news. I'll hoist a cold one in your honor.

Anonymous Geoff June 20, 2015 8:53 PM  

Speaking of soccer, at the risk of sever abuse from the Ilk, I confess I've been watching the Women's World Cup. The USA is of course a favourite but there are some solid European teams like Germany and France. One noticeable exception is Italy. They didn't even qualify for the tournament, and haven't done so for some time. This is surprising given the massive popularity of soccer in Italy. Or is it considered more a man's game there?

Not that soccer should ever be considered a "man's" game.

I kid, I kid. Soccer is a really rough sport. There has been some serious tackling and full body contact even at this Women's World Cup. And much less diving and whining than in the men's game.

Blogger bearspaw June 20, 2015 9:18 PM  

U-20 World Cup-Srbija!!

Anonymous Harsh June 20, 2015 9:18 PM  

Good job, Vox. As an old (American) football player, I'm kind of jealous that you're able to stay competitive at your age.

Anonymous zen0 June 20, 2015 9:44 PM  

> And much less diving and whining than in the men's game.

Not professionals. Don't practice the moves.

Congrats Vox's village. Proof how diversity can be done correctly and be a net gain for the community, rather than a degradation.

And you did not have to open a restaurant featuring Minnesota cuisine.


Anonymous Claymore June 20, 2015 11:00 PM  

Way to go, man!

Anonymous Takin' a look June 21, 2015 12:27 AM  


Anonymous BB June 21, 2015 3:47 AM  

@ Geoff

Don't see why you would get ridiculed for watching the women play here; perhaps for watching soccer in general, though even at its high points last year the spout between tifosi & anti-tifosi seemed to be in good in spirit.

You're right about soccer being a man's game though in Europe. It's probably unfair, but when I watch women play I always hold them to a man's standard, which of course they can't match in terms of speed, physicality or athleticism. Perhaps in terms of tactics, but I had never had the patience to follow an entire match.

Anonymous wEz June 21, 2015 6:53 AM  

Vox, congrats! Within the soccer tier structure in Italy, where does the promoted team now stand? I know after serie A and B there is lega pro (C) then serie D. Is the top squad in or near any of these tiers? I find the euro tier systems fascinating and ideal for the most part. Thanks.

Anonymous Geoff June 21, 2015 7:36 AM  

Good points, BB. I guess I'm mainly interested because the North American teams actually have a shot at winning. Plus it's being played on North American soil this time.

Well, actually astro-turf but that's another story.

Anonymous CarpeOro June 21, 2015 3:15 PM  

Just curious regarding the promotion process. Does it occur when a team is demoted or desolved?

Blogger beerme #0183 June 21, 2015 3:37 PM  

Just curious regarding the promotion process. Does it occur when a team is demoted or desolved?
It varies. Some countries are very simple (bottom 3 promoted from lower league, top 3 relegated from higher league) while others use more complicated playoff systems. A simple example is England which has the bottom three relegated with the top two in the lower league automatically promoted with 3rd - 6th in a playoff for the final spot. For a far more complicated example, look up the Spanish Segunda División B.

Blogger JCclimber June 21, 2015 4:17 PM  

it's good to see the occasional normal post here. I am really enjoying ongoing cultural war with the SJWhores, but my life does not revolve around it and it is good to see that everyone else is keeping their full lives going during the war.

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