Army soccer team beats Marines, falls to undefeated Air Force 2-1 in overtime
By Lance Cpl. Derrick K. Irions
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | October 02, 2012
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The All-Air Force Men's Soccer Team went undefeated during the 2012 Armed Forces Soccer Championship here, Sept 24-30, to stand victorious above the Army, Marine Corps and Navy.
"The armed forces competitions are a great opportunity for all the services to get together and compete," said Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, base commanding general and regional authority over five Marine in the Southern United States. "We stand shoulder to shoulder on battlefields throughout the world, and now we get a chance to enjoy friendly competition against each other."
Every year, the competition is intense leading up to the championship games and the matches become increasingly more aggressive, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kevin G. Pierre, the All-Marine Corps Team head coach.
"Each team has their own specialty,” said U.S. National Guard Capt. Jason Park, the All-Air Force team captain. "I think that we gained the edge by preparing mentally. We went into every game wanting to win and knowing that we could."
During the third round-robin matchup of the tournament, the Marines set the defending champion Air Force team back on their heels with a second-half charge in which the Marines tied the score and controlled momentum. However, a goal in the 87th minute by Airmen 1st Class Todd Skelton kept the Air Force unbeaten.
"The thing about the Marines is that they never quit," said Park. "They are always going to give 110 percent from start to finish and we knew that coming into this. We were very impressed by the way they played us."
"The whole tournament has been awesome," said Pierre. "This is our World Cup. We're not going to be in the MLS; we're not going to be in the EPL because we're in the military, so we come out here and enjoy it for what it's worth."
The championship game between the Army and Air Force, appropriately, went into overtime after a late goal by John Dealmeida tied the score just before the end of regulation time, bringing the crowd of Army fans to their feet.
"Our goal was to come out here, finish quickly and win," said Park. "There is a lot of pride and a lot of passion that goes into this. A lot of the guys have been playing in the tournament for years and over time they get to know the other players, so it creates a competitive environment."
However, defender 1st Lt. Jason Belvill scored the only overtime goal to give the All-Air Force team the gold medal for the second consecutive year.
For more information, statistics and scores on the 2012 Armed Forces Soccer Championship, visit www.mccscp.com/soccer.