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Yokota junior Matt Irwin leaps into the air to give a running header as Kubasaki junior Alex Meno keeps pace in the Far East Soccer Tournament on Monday.

Yokota junior Matt Irwin leaps into the air to give a running header as Kubasaki junior Alex Meno keeps pace in the Far East Soccer Tournament on Monday. (Carlos Bongioanni / S&S)

Yokota junior Matt Irwin leaps into the air to give a running header as Kubasaki junior Alex Meno keeps pace in the Far East Soccer Tournament on Monday.

Yokota junior Matt Irwin leaps into the air to give a running header as Kubasaki junior Alex Meno keeps pace in the Far East Soccer Tournament on Monday. (Carlos Bongioanni / S&S)

Kubasaki sophomore Paul Young, left, and Yokota freshman Bronson Bailey vie for possession of the ball.

Kubasaki sophomore Paul Young, left, and Yokota freshman Bronson Bailey vie for possession of the ball. (Carlos Bongioanni / S&S)

(Monday's game summaries at end of story.)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The rematch of last year’s Far East High School Boys Class AA Soccer Tournament final ended Monday with zeroes on both sides of the scoreboard.

Two-time defending champion Kubasaki of Okinawa and runner-up Yokota of Japan played to a scoreless tie as round-robin play in the 2003 Class AA tournament got under way.

It was a sign of things to come this week, said the teams’ coaches, who noted that two other Far East contenders, Zama American of Japan and Kadena of Okinawa, also played to a scoreless deadlock Monday.

“The top two teams in each pool, they play each other, and there’s no score when they faced each other,” Kubasaki coach Butch Spain said of the four contenders, who each finished 1-0-1 on the first day of play. “It’s going to be an interesting week.”

“This is the kind of match we came down here for,” added Yokota coach Tim Pujol. “It’ll be fun. It’ll be interesting.”

Monday’s final rematch paired a Kubasaki team that returned just six players from last year against the two-time defending Japan Soccer League champion Panthers, boasting nine returning starters, a 14-1 record and a 75-4 goal differential entering the tournament.

“It was an excellent defensive effort by both teams, a very well-played match,” Pujol said. “There were opportunities to create scoring chances and nobody converted."

The Dragons had several near-misses in the second half, including shots by Josh Kiser, off a pass by Joe Paul, then Paul on a feed from Paul Young. Kiser later knocked a header just over the crossbar.

“You get really close in, have good shots on goal, and they never went in,” Spain said.

Likewise, the Panthers just missed a golden opportunity 15 minutes into the second half, when Ian Kingery took the ball just inside the penalty area and fired, only to have goalkeeper Brian Eisenmann knock it away.

If nothing else, each team came away from the game with renewed respect for one another.

“Yokota is very strong down the middle,” Spain said. “They’re like a bunch of football players trying to play soccer. A brutish, very physical style.”

“They’re a physical team, with good size,” Pujol said of Kubasaki.

The question for both coaches is whether they could use Monday’s match as a boost to get where each wants to be by Friday’s final.

“We’re a very young team,” Spain said of a Kubasaki roster that includes two freshmen and six sophomores. “We have to get this young team to play up.”

Pujol paid a great deal of attention to the Kadena-Zama result, noting that Yokota fell to Zama 2-1 in a first-place JSL showdown a week ago. Monday’s scoreless draws, plus the Yokota loss to Zama, shows that the tournament’s top contenders are “pretty even,” Pujol said.

“But this is Monday, and teams tend to improve as the week wears on. I just hope we’re playing at the highest level Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Far East Class A Soccer Tournament

(Jump ahead to Class AA)

Monday’s summaries

Taejon Chr. Intl 5, Matthew C. Perry 0

Taejon Christian International 3 2—5

Matthew C. Perry 0 0—0

First half: TCIS—Andrew Wiese (1) (Brian Park), 3rd minute; TCIS—Andrew Wiese (2) (Jesse Park), 19th minute; TCIS—Jesse Park (1) (Andrew Wiese, direct kick), 22nd minute. Second half: TCIS—Jesse Park (2) (unassisted), 55th minute. TCIS—Jesse Park (3) (Yuya Kato), 63rd minute.

Matthew C. Perry 4, Pusan American 1

Matthew C. Perry 2 2—4

Pusan American 1 0—1

First half: Perry—Matt Bierschenk (1) (unassisted), 7th minute. Pusan—Jonathan Taylor (1) (unassisted), 17th minute. Perry—Nick Riegel (1) (Matt Bierschenk), 26th minute. Second half: Perry—Greg McCoy (1) (Mitch Bierschenk), 54th minute. Perry—Greg McCoy (2) (unassisted), 60th minute.

Taejon Chr. Intl 7, Pusan American 0

Taejon Christian International 6 1—7

Pusan American 0 0—0

First half: TCIS—Andrew Wiese (3) (Jesse Park), 9th minute. TCIS—Brian Park (1) (Brian Kim), 12th minute. TCIS—Jesse Park (4) (Brian Park), 15th minute. TCIS—Chi-ming Cheng (1) (unassisted), 17th minute. TCIS—Andrew Wiese (4) (Sae Joon Jeon), 23rd minute. TCIS—Brian Kim (1) (unassisted), 27th minute. Second half: TCIS—Andrew Wiese (5) (Chi-ming Cheng), 51st minute

Osan American 3, Taegu American 0

Osan American 1 2—3

Taegu American 0 0—0

First half: Osan—A.J. Scott (1) (Charles Gasaway), 20th minute. Second half: Osan—A.J. Scott (2) (Sam Crothers), 50th minute. Osan-Van Hauter (1) (Mike Elkins), 53rd minute.

Taegu American 0, E.J. King 0

Taegu American 0 0—0

E.J. King 0 0—0

Osan American 4, E.J. King 0

Osan American 2 2—4

E.J. King 0 0—0

First half: Osan—Anthony Langdon (1) (unassisted), 13th minute. Osan—Van Hauter (2) (Mike Elkins), 29th minute. Second half: Osan—Charles Gasaway (1) (unassisted), 42nd minute; Osan—Jason Pederson (1) (unassisted), 56th minute

Far East Class AA Soccer Tournament

Kubasaki 6, Okinawa Chr Intl 0

Kubasaki 2 4—6

Okinawa Christian International 0 0—0

First half: Kubasaki—Bill Gray (1), 6th minute. Kubasaki—Chris Monroy (1), 10th minute. Second half: Kubasaki—Kevin Ware (1), 31st minute. Kubasaki—Nick Leemaster (1), 35th minute. Kubasaki—Josh Kiser (1), 45th minute. Kubasaki—Mike Smith (1), 60th minute.

Yokota 4, Robert D. Edgren 0

Yokota 0 4—4

Robert D. Edgren 0 0—0

First half: No scoring. Second half: Yokota—Mike Chamberlain (1), 31st minute. Yokota—Mike Chamberlain (2), 34th minute. Yokota—Ian Kingery (1), 36th minute. Yokota—Ian Kingery (2), 48th minute.

Okinawa Chr. Intl 1, Seoul American 0

Okinawa Christian International 1 0—1

Seoul American 0 0—0

First half: OCSI—Tony Mueller (1), 15th minute. Second half: No scoring

Kubasaki 0, Yokota 0

Kubasaki 0 0—0

Yokota 0 0—0

Seoul American 2, Robert D. Edgren 0

Seoul American 0 2—2

Robert D. Edgren 0 0—0

First half: No scoring. Second half: Seoul—Michael Barry (1), 43rd minute. Seoul—Ben Prescott (1), 49th minute.

Kadena 4, Kubasaki JV 0

Kadena 4 0-4

Kubasaki JV 0 0—0

First half: Kadena—Aaron Zendejas (1) (Zach Zendejas), 3rd minute. Kadena—Nathan LaGrave (1) (Craig Pope), 5th minute. Kadena—Craig Pope (1) (Nathan LaGrave), 8th minute. Kadena—Zach Zendejas (1) (Yamato Dickerson), 27th minute.

Zama American 5, Nile C. Kinnick 2

Zama American 4 1—5

Nile C. Kinnick 1 1—2

First half: Zama—James Dones (1), 10th minute. Kinnick—Ken Cardwell (1), 12th minute. Zama—Jimmy Flatley (1), 13th minute. Zama—Jimmy Flatley (2), 16th minute. Zama—Jimmy Flatley (3), 19th minute Second half: Kinnick—Koji Silk (1), 36th minute. Zama—Brendan Flatley (1), 38th minute

Kubasaki JV 2, Guam High 1

Guam High 1 0—1

Kubasaki JV 0 2—2

First half: Guam—David Veltri (1), 28th minute. Second half: Kubasaki JV—James Reyes (1), 50th minute. Kubasaki JV—(name not available) (1), 60th minute

Kadena 0, Zama American 0

Zama American 0 0—0

Kadena 0 0—0

Nile C. Kinnick 4, Guam High 0

Nile C. Kinnick 3 1—4

Guam High 0 0—0

First half: Kinnick—Ken Cardwell (2), 1st minute. Kinnick—Ken Cardwell (3), 10th minute. Kinnick—George Murray (1), 18th minute. Second half: Kinnick—Go Yamada (1), 55th minute.


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