On Friday night (April 22nd) IDF u14s boy’s team visited the Winston-Salem Twins at BB&T Soccer Park in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  The night was a gift from the soccer gods, perfect temperature, 58o with light rain, made an already beautiful playing surface excellent for a game of soccer. From kickoff IDF made it clear that this would be a beautiful encounter for soccer, enjoying at least 80% of the possession, the players were having fun executing in all facets of the game. Their passing, positioning, off the ball movement and technical flare were things to admire. According to Coach André “this is arguably one of their best performances of the season”. Beginning to recapture his form from last December, Conrad was on fire scoring the first goal and setting up Peng for the second to complete a good first half performance. Conrad’s goal came when the team’s defensive pressure and his individual effort forced the opponent into a costly turnover which provided Conrad the opportunity to run in behind the defense and slotted the ball past the Twins’ goalkeeper for one of his trade mark goals. Fifteen (15) minutes later, the IDF attack proved to be overwhelming for the Twins’ defense. Nathan recognized a weakness in their defense and made some nifty dribbling to set up Peng. Peng’s predator like instinct got him to the ball first and he made no mistake and finished with a composed shot pass the goalkeeper. Outside of turning over the ball a few times, the IDF squad was just excellent in possession and entered halftime with a convincing 2-0 lead.

Jay - IDF U14

The second half exhibited an even more composed, determined and focused performance by IDF, keeping possession and passing the ball around with full authority. With Twin City working hard to get back into the game, and pushing numbers forward, IDF capitalized on a few quick and clever combination in the final third that released David down the flank who provided a pinpoint accurate cross to Antonio who finished (with a direct shot from about six yards out). That goal sealed the deal for IDF and took the wind out of the sails of the Twins squad.

IDF controlled possession throughout the match, with Twin City only being able to create a couple of chance. The entire team was good on the night, but special mention to Conrad, who scored the game winning goal of the night; David, whose pace and crossing put a lot of pressure on the Twins defense; Antonio, for scoring the third goal and killing all desire for the Twins to come back; and finally Jay, who was demonstrative in the midfield with possession and managing the game. Last, but not least Sampson must me recognized for his contribution on the night, making 2 big saves to secure the shutout.

The next day, Saturday 23rd April, IDF u15’s played away to Central Carolina Soccer Club (CCSC) in North Asheboro.  IDF U15 began the day knowing that a win in this match would not only secure them as champions of the division, but it would do so with a game to spare.  The first 10 minutes of the match saw the players displaying moments of brilliants despite the small field, coupled with high winds and a very hardworking CCSC team, combined for a challenging opening period.  However, IDF persevered , by sticking to their team philosophy of possession and ball movement, and were rewarded when Conrad opened the scoring against the run of play through his relentless willingness to run in behind the defense, and slotting it past the advancing goalkeeper from about 20 yards out. After the goal, IDF began to settle down and pass the ball better as expected.  A few minutes later, IDF doubled the lead with a goal of the highest caliber from Conrad, with his back to goal, received a ball from Enoch and on a half a turn volleyed past the goal keeper before he could respond.  After the 2nd goal, IDF took full control by dominating possession, keeping the ball in CCSC half for significant periods of time.  With minutes remaining in the first half, a series of poor decisions in the back led to IDF giving the ball away on the edge of their own penalty area and the CCSC striker finished well to cut the lead just before the halftime whistle.

With the understanding that CSCC goal just before the half would provide the same effects as adrenalin, the IDF players were urged to remain focused, increase their work rate and communication, as well as to remain organized and not give away silly opportunities like the one before the half.  The 2nd half started with IDF poised to regain and maintain control of the game. They showed their dominance and were rewarded with an early goal by IDF.  After a series of attacks leading to a couple of corners, David made a great dribbling run forward before a clinical finish with his unflavored right foot.  The team played through some high-energy moments to finish the match with a 3-1 win.

This win caps off a very good spring for the u15s, winning promotion to the 1st division, with a game to spare, and only conceding 1 goal all season.  Congratulations, boys!

On Sunday (April 23rd) IDF u14s were back in action, hosting the Onslow Classic Soccer Association Coastal Crew (OCSA Coastal Crew) at Northeast District Park.  With the performance from Friday night still fresh in our minds and on their bodies. IDF U14’s were off to a very slow start. Despite a sporadic start to the game, IDF persistence paid off when they opened the scoring when a diagonal pass from Jay sent Kenneth through to goal for a nice far post finish.  Soon after the goal the game began to be settle and IDF started to keep the ball more and only needing to defend only on occasional counterattacks from OCSA.  Samson was forced to produce one strong save after a shot through a crowd to keep OCSA scoreless into the halftime break. The score was 1-0 IDF at the half.

The 2nd half saw IDF take better care of the ball, and creating more goal scoring opportunities.  In rapid succession, both Peng and Nathan both scored following nice buildups in the midfield. Jay creatively penetrated the OCSA defense and found Peng inside the box who made no mistake to find the back of the net with a powerful shot in the roof of the net. A few minutes later Jay broke free again and found the speedy Nathan who slotted home on his second attempt, after his first attempt to finish rebounded off the upright back to him, to regain the IDF dominance.

Mid way through the second half IDF lost its concentration on defense which forced Samson into stopping a few brilliant 1v1 saves to preserve the shutout and see IDF taking all three points with a 3-0 win against a very good OCSA team.  Coach André said that “he was very impressed the resilience of his team despite the short less than 24 hours turnaround with several players being out with injury, it was a solid performance from IDF nonetheless”.

Finally, the weekend ended with a Sunday afternoon kick-off saw the IDF u11 Black team playing host to TUSA Wake FC at North Chatham Elementary.  A combination of poor finishes and great saves by the TUSA goalkeeper saw many IDF chances squandered in the early stages of the match.  Eventually, Quinten opened the scoring with a soaring individual effort which started with a run which began in the defensive third. That was followed by a Nyrobi finish who appeared to leave the defenders standing at the half way line, to give IDF a 2-0 halftime lead.

u11-idf (1)

IDF took complete control of the match in the second half and played some of their best possession football of the year.  Every single field player contributed in the scoring, assisting on goals or both, in a true team effort. The overall success of the team was based on better ball movement, communication and execution in all facets of the game. The teamwork and combination in the attacking third between Nyrobi and Treyton deserved a special mention, they both worked well together.

Quinten scored a hat trick, Sean headed in a great cross from Mishko, Shanjan finished a great Treyton cross, Nayrobi and Treyton continued to feed off each other to create goals and Wendell moved the ball around more and set up several goals to see everyone play a true part in the goal scoring fun.  On top of the great goals and wonderful 2nd half team play, the team completed its 3rd shutout in a row with Jack keeping a clean sheet behind the back 3 which is a true complement to their defensive awareness.

All IDF teams will be in action this week starting with a U14 match on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 and Saturday, April 30, 2016 against GCCA & SASL respectively. Followed by the U11B on Saturday, April 30, 2016 against TFCA and the U12, U11R and U15 all to play on Sunday, May 1, 2016 against TFCA, TUSA & GUSA respectively. Feel free to come out and observe our players in action and enjoy the beautiful game.