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Rota goalkeeper Nathan Alindog breaks up a run on goal by Aviano's Andrew Walker at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer tournament at Landstuhl, Germany.

Rota goalkeeper Nathan Alindog breaks up a run on goal by Aviano's Andrew Walker at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer tournament at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

LANDSTUHL, Germany – Bahrain’s attempt to crash the Mediterranean party otherwise known as DODEA-Europe’s Division II boys soccer got off to an inauspicious start in April.

The Falcons got to play their only three games of the regular season in a trip to Italy but had to leave behind five starters who couldn’t get visas in time. They won only once in Italy.

With a full team finally, Bahrain started off the seven-team round-robin event 3-0 after a narrow 3-2 victory over Aviano on Tuesday morning and had a chance to almost clinch a spot in the finals by downing Naples in the last game of the day.

But the Wildcats, the defending D-I champs who are back to playing a division lower, weren’t in a mood for party crashers. Naples earned a 2-0 victory that left it in a two-way tie atop the event with American Overseas School of Rome. The Falcons from Rome play both the Wildcats and the other Falcons on the final day of competition. Bahrain could still reach the finals by winning its final two games.

Vicenza's Conner Gundersen seals off an American Overseas School of Rome attacker on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany.

Vicenza's Conner Gundersen seals off an American Overseas School of Rome attacker on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

American Overseas School of Rome’s Gabriele Ghione heads toward the ground after getting fouled from behind by Vicenza on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany.

American Overseas School of Rome’s Gabriele Ghione heads toward the ground after getting fouled from behind by Vicenza on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

American Overseas School of Rome's Zane El Kilany takes a shot against Marymount on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany.

American Overseas School of Rome's Zane El Kilany takes a shot against Marymount on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Bahrain coach Emiliano Herrera said his team started practicing as soon as the rules allowed in March.

“We had a team ready to go,” he said. But no DODEA opponents to play for a while. So the Falcons played an adult team from the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. And a group of U.S. Embassy guards from Nepal. And practiced daily starting at 6 a.m. as the temperatures started to climb.

Leon Odongo, Adam Clerins and Adam Youssef all scored against the Saints as Bahrain took a 3-1 lead at halftime and had to hold off several Aviano attempts on goal in the final minutes.

Naples, in addition to the late victory, topped Vicenza 3-0 earlier in the day to stay perfect in the tournament. The Wildcats face Aviano and AOSR on Wednesday. The Falcons from Rome dumped Eternal City rival Marymount 4-0 to open the day’s play and then defeated Vicenza 3-0.

Aviano's Deon Walker and Bahrain's Mason Leach battle for the ball on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II championships at Landstuhl, Germany.

Aviano's Deon Walker and Bahrain's Mason Leach battle for the ball on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II championships at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Tre'Vani Bradshaw tries to stay in front of Naples' Tommy Egan in the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany.

Vicenza's Tre'Vani Bradshaw tries to stay in front of Naples' Tommy Egan in the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Owen Haupt heads quickly up the field on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany.

Vicenza's Owen Haupt heads quickly up the field on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Division I

The semifinals are set for Wednesday at Ramstein Air Base, with Stuttgart taking on Wiesbaden and Ramstein playing Black Forest Academy. The Panthers (3-0) and Royals (2-0-1) grabbed the top seeds in the two pools with 4-1 and 2-1 wins Tuesday over Kaiserslautern and Wiesbaden respectively.

BFA topped Vilseck 2-0 to join the Warriors at two wins and a loss in the tournament.

Division III

The final four at Reichenbach are Brussels (3-0), AFNORTH (2-0-1), Sigonella (2-0-1) and Ansbach (2-1). The Brigands take on the Lions in the first game at Reichenbach, followed by the Jaguars and Cougars squaring off.

The winners of both D-I and D-III semifinals advance to Thursday championship games at Vogelweh, while the top two team in D-II move onto the final game.

Marymount's Emmanuel Onuzulike tries to chase down American Overseas School of Rome's Lorenzo Di Gregorio on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer tournament in Landstuhl, Germany.

Marymount's Emmanuel Onuzulike tries to chase down American Overseas School of Rome's Lorenzo Di Gregorio on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer tournament in Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Nick Gilbert and Bahrain's Lindokuhle Letsoko battle for the ball on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany.

Aviano's Nick Gilbert and Bahrain's Lindokuhle Letsoko battle for the ball on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships at Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Patrick Blake tries to slow down Naples' Connor Wallace in the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships in Landstuhl, Germany.

Vicenza's Patrick Blake tries to slow down Naples' Connor Wallace in the DODEA-Europe boys Division II soccer championships in Landstuhl, Germany. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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