MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — A fierce intramural soccer game between the Legends and Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 resulted in a tie at the Penny Lake soccer field here Aug. 10.
As soon as the ball was in play, each team emerged into action.
There seemed to be too much back and forth between the two teams during the first half as players battled for the ball.
“We gotta stop playing kickball,” said Aaron Matura, forward for MWSS-171.
MWSS-171 made an effort to focus on their ball handling skills in order to put one past Legend’s tight defense after the ball was kicked out of bounds a few times in an effort to at least keep the ball out of Legend’s possession.
At first, it didn’t seem to work, and even though it was hard to tell which team was dominantly in possession of the ball, both teams showed no signs of giving up.
“There are a lot of skilled individual players out here,” said Edgar Trujillo, Legends forward. “You can tell by the way they handle the ball.”
Players from the Legends team seemed to know what they were doing as they maneuvered up the field and around players.
It wasn’t long into the first half before the Legends scored the first goal. Brian Niemczyk, goalie for MWSS-171, came forward to defend, but the opposing player managed to score despite Niemczyk’s attempt.
Matura continued to motivate MWSS-171, and soon the team began to redeem itself with swift passes and quick dodges past the Legend’s defense.
“Players on MWSS-171 have good ball handling,” said Trujillo. “Both teams seemed to be doing well.”
It wasn’t long before MWSS-171 put itself ahead of the Legends 2-1 by the end of the first half.
“I felt like they got really lucky,” said Ebrima Jallow, Legends midfielder. “But we got back in the game and tied it up.”
When the second half began, MWSS-171 was ready to go.
MWSS-171 managed to put one past the Legends keeper to put itself ahead by two goals.
The game got heated when Jallow stepped things up and launched forward to provide an attack as fierce as his defense.
Each time the ball entered the field, Jallow rushed right to it for a header or an attempt to gain possession of the ball.
“I like to throw my body around,” said Jallow. “That’s what happens when you throw your body around.”
Patrick Manu, Legends forward, rushed to the ball and kicked it in the goal, which put the team behind by only one goal.
The Legends still had a chance to catch up.
Toward the end of the second half, Jallow took a blow to the face but immediately got back into the game to keep his team motivated.
“I was trying to defend and attack at the same time, but I took a lot of hard falls,” said Jallow.
Jallow fell back to help the Legends keep a tight defense.
Nozomu Morita, outside forward for the Legends, rushed down field with the ball as a winger to provide Bobby March, Legends striker, with an assist.
March launched forward, ready to score and tied the game.
“March is the ultimate offensive player of the team,” said Jallow. “He plays very well. He was hustling and attacking the ball the whole time.”
As the intramural soccer season in Iwakuni came to an end, both teams showed promise to do well in the upcoming play-offs.
Originally published: Marines.mil