DUSC U-19 boys beat rival Gottschee in tournament
By Judith Stiles, Eric Johnson and Debbie Cooke
Rivals Downtown United Soccer Club and B.W. Gottschee are arguably the two top soccer clubs in the metropolitan area. So it came as major news when DUSCs U-19 (under 19) team defeated all their opponents, including both Gottschee U-19 A and B teams in the Cosmopolitan Leagues annual tournament held at City College.
What makes the U-19 win even more shocking is that last September when the fall season began, they did not have enough players to even field a team.
But a little glitch like that did not stop Downtown United. Manager Eric Johnson and the DUSC coaching staff stepped in and called for a highly publicized tryout for a new team, welcoming any interested player from the five boroughs to compete for a spot on the new squad. It is always difficult to organize a competitive team in the older age brackets for many reasons, says Johnson. The foremost is getting teenagers to endure the rigors of training and serious competition.
The young men came out in droves for a chance to be part of Downtown United. From the turnout, coaches Jack Stefanowski, Oscar Cuba and Clive Stultz formed two strong teams composed of players from all over the city, whose ethnic backgrounds include Mali and Senegal in West Africa; Jamaica and Trinidad in the Caribbean; Greece, Croatia, Albania and Italy in Europe; and Uruguay, Columbia, Ecuador and Costa Rica in Latin America, as well a player from Russia.
At the C.J.S.L. Annual Tournament the boys played indoors at City College with six DUSC players versus six opponents in 20-minute games, resulting in a rigorous fast-paced tournament. DUSC divided their squad into three teams, White, Blue and Green, in order to ensure every player got to participate. The problem was, we only had two experienced goalies, so the Green team missed the playoffs by one goal; the White team without a goalie played really well, recounted Manager Johnson, and the Blue Team took it all. The result is that we are all one team, and we all won the tournament for DUSC.
DUSC beat the Gottschee B team in the last minute of play from a goal scored by Amadu Barrie. In the championship game, DUSC versus Gottschee A, after one minute of play, midfielder Leonardo Arganaraz fired a bullet into the net for the first goal. Several minutes later, forward Nicholas Caputo scored, and then Gottschee roared back, as good teams do, by scoring two consecutive goals to tie the game. With three minutes remaining in the game, Barrie scored the winning goal with a beautiful assist from Pavlos Ioannidis.
For the players who might have considered partying on Friday nights, the success in the C.J.S.L. Indoor Tournament is especially warming when they think back on those January nights of practicing on the roof at Pier 40.