Throw out records in European boys soccer tourneys
May 17, 2006
Remember that unbeaten, untied season the International School of Brussels completed last Saturday?
Don’t bother, ISB coach Philippe Kaisin advises. The European Division I, II, III and IV boys tournaments that kick off Wednesday at seven fields in the Ramstein-Kaiserslautern area, are a whole new ballgame.
“In the conference setting, there are six games. You can have a bad game and still get back into it,” Kaisin said.
“In the tournament, if you have a bad game, it’s over.”
Kaisin said his team will have to try to win the Europeans without a full squad.
“Our seniors are taking IB (international baccalaureate) exams this week,” he said. “We’ll be without four starters for our opening game, but we get two of them back for Thursday and Friday.”
The other two, who have exams Friday morning, will have to rush down from Belgium that afternoon if the Raiders make the Division I final scheduled for 6:30 p.m. that day.
Kaisin sees Heidelberg (6-1 overall) as his team’s most dangerous potential foe, even though ISB held the Lions in check in a 3-1 victory April 1 in Brussels. Heidelberg’s goal, one of just four the Raiders yielded all season, was an own goal by the ISB defense.
“That was a game where everything clicked,” Kaisin said. “We have not reproduced that type of football since.”
Defending European Division I champion Ramstein (4-2-1), playing at home, could conceivably make it two straight.
Two-time Division II champion Black Forest Academy, the II-South champions who finished 6-0-1, could make it three straight. They will be challenged by II-North champion AFNORTH, also unbeaten during the regular season.
“We’re a very good team,” coach Greg Blankenship said of his young Lions (4-0-2), who are mostly sophomores and juniors. “We have some depth.”
The Lions also have the premier scoring tandem in Europe (a combined 14 goals) in David Pohl and Chris Eden, who toughened his game while playing Olympic Development Program soccer.
Blankenship sees Naples, which also has some ODP players, Hanau and Patch as the teams best positioned to endure the attrition of a six-games- in-three-days tourney.
In Division III, three-time defending champ American Overseas School of Rome (5-0-1) seems poised to make a run at title No. 4, with second-seeded Hohenfels (5-1, III-South champion) and No. 3 Rota the major impediments.
“Everyone goes in knowing AOSR is the team to beat,” said Hohenfels coach Shawn Rodman. “Rota is always good, but anything can happen.”
Defending champion Milan is second-seeded in wide-ranging Division IV, which includes Menwith Hill and Alconbury, the top seed and III-North champion, from England; Incirlik and Ankara from Turkey; Lajes from the Azores; two teams from Central Europe, Brussels and Giessen; and Iceland.
Play begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at seven fields in the Kaiserslautern-Ramstein area located at Ramstein High School, Hutschenhausen Sportsplatz, Nanzdietschweiler, Vogelweh and Kapaun Air Station.
Finals are scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Ramstein.
DODDS-Europe boys soccer championships
Teams listed in order of seeding
Division I — International School of Brussels, Heidelberg, Ramstein, Lakenheath, Wiesbaden, Kaiserslsautern, Würzburg.
Division II — Black Forest Academy, AFNORTH, Naples, SHAPE, Bitburg, Patch, Hanau, Aviano, Mannheim, Vilseck.
Division III — American Overseas School of Rome, Hohenfels, Rota, Bamberg, London Central, Marymount International School of Rome, Vicenza, Baumholder, Ansbach, Sigonella.
Division IV — Alconbury, Milan, Brussels, Menwith Hill, Ankara, Giessen, Incirlik, Lajes, Iceland.
(At Ramstein High School)
Division I — 6:30 p.m. Friday
Division II — 6 p.m. Saturday
Division III — 2 p.m. Saturday
Division IV — 2:30 p.m. Friday