AFNORTH, Heidelberg, Vilseck and Marymount International School of Rome clinched regional titles Saturday as the DODDS-Europe soccer season came to an end. All four regional champs posted unbeaten league records.
Also unbeaten going into Friday’s game against Brussels was Region I leader International School of Brussels, but no report from that game was received by Stars and Stripes.
AFNORTH 7, Kaiserslautern 0: Saturday at Brunssum, Netherlands, James Perea and Nathan Bonkowski each registered two goals and an assist as the Lions claimed the Region II crown and prepared to challenge American Schools in Italy powers American Overseas School of Rome and Marymount International School of Rome in the upcoming European D-III tournament at Ramstein.
"Perea and … Bonkowski both scored beautiful headers to start the game," AFNORTH coach Greg Blankenship wrote in an e-mail report on the game. "Perea and Tobias Schick quickly scored in the opening minutes of the second half on nice through-passes against a hard-working K-town defense, (and) Kyle Higgins scored on a bending 16-meter kick to evoke the (seven-goal) courtesy rule."
Kaiserslautern (1-7-0, 0-5-0) moves on to the European D-I event Wednesday-Friday at Ramstein. AFNORTH (5-0-1 overall, 4-0-0 in regional play) opens tournament play Thursday with an air of anticipation, Blankenship reported.
"AFNORTH is looking forward to Europeans and the chance to play the top-rated teams from the Italy region, AOSR and MMI," he wrote.
Heidelberg 2, Wiesbaden 1: On Saturday at Heidelberg, the Lions surrendered their first goal of the season but saved their unbeaten record.
Nate Joyner drove home an unassisted first-half score for Heidelberg (7-0-0, 5-0-0 Region III), which got the eventual game-winner midway through the second half from Thomas Hogue. Hogue converted a pass from Kevin Beerman.
Brandon Richgruber earned the distinction of being the only player to beat the Heidelberg defense and goalkeeper Zach Carrington all season. He scored early in the second half to tie the score 1-1.
Wiesbaden coach Hank Hurren singled out defenders Alan Gray, Logan Shelton and Nathan Wickham for superior play in front of his keeper, Mike Harder, who made 13 saves.
Vilseck 5, Patch 3: On Saturday at Vilseck, Eric Bidinger scored twice and assisted on a third goal as the Falcons won their fifth straight game and wrapped up a perfect Region IV campaign.
Zach Skells also scored twice for Vilseck (5-1-0, 4-0-0), whose only loss was 3-0 to non-regional foe Mannheim. Sean Anderson came up with 14 saves for Vilseck to preserve the outcome.
Marymount 4, AOSR 3: On Saturday at Marymount International School of Rome, everything was going swimmingly for the defending European D-III champs, who were up 4-1 with five minutes to go in front of a packed house.
But two quick goals by crosstown rival American Overseas School of Rome made for an exciting finish and set the stage for another possible confrontation in this week’s European Division III tournament. "We’re in the same pool as they are for the tournament," Marymount athletic director Sabine Trott said by telephone after the game. "We’ll just have to see what happens."
Victor Rotundo, Nicolo Manci, Fabio Nortarnicola and Siedi Mwandu scored for Marymount (5-0-1). AOSR finished 4-1-1.