The 2019 Lejeune-New River Sports’ Intramural 7v7 Outdoor Soccer Tournament concluded on June 20 with undefeated team the Gunrunners taking down United FC with a score of 4-1 in the championship game.
United FC, which controlled the ball for most of the first half, struck first with a goal from Lance Cpl. Luis Ballester. A goal from the Gunrunners’ team captain Cpl. Hamed Sirleaf evened things up at 1-1 just before halftime. The Gunrunners talked things over during halftime and came out in the second half determined to take control of the ball and attack the United FC defense.
Both teams exchanged scoring opportunities to open up the second half, but a goal from Lance Cpl. James Tovar on an assist from Sirleaf, and another goal from Cpl. Jesus Urbina, helped the Gunrunners earn a comfortable two-goal lead heading into the final minutes of play. Sgt. Linell Dunbar sealed the deal for the Gunrunners, scoring the team’s third goal of the half to put United FC away with a final score of 4-1.
Sirleaf said that the difference in his team’s championship run was the way he and his teammates prepared.
“The level of competition was good,” Sirleaf said, who is from West Africa. “Everybody tried to put in more time, accuracy, precision and determination. We trained before the tournament so we could be ready for the tournament. That’s what made us better than the other team.”
United FC coach Sgt. Justin Peter, who suffered a leg injury during a game on the opening day of the tournament, said that playing seven games in four days was tough on his team, but that it is the spirit of friendly competition that the participants play for.
“It was good competition,” Peter said. “You make new friends. I found friends that I played with out in Japan that I brought out on my team, so it’s good camaraderie.”
Leading up to the championship game, United FC had to play three double-headers in three days to come from the loser’s bracket after losing to 2d Supply Battalion in the opening game 5-4. The Gunrunners only had to play two games to get to the championship out of the winner’s bracket. They knocked off The Untouchables 5-2 in their first match and the 2d Supply Battalion 6-3 in their second match to get to the championship and earn an extra day of rest.
Though both teams were evenly matched in the first half of the championship game, the Gunrunners fought harder in the second half. United FC may have taken the loss, but Sirleaf still gives the opposing team credit for giving his team a good game.
“(United FC) tried hard to beat us, but we had a plan and a system,” Sirleaf said. “That’s what made us win. We are not better than them, but our mindset and the system we played with made us better.”
2019 Intramural 7v7 Outdoor Soccer Tournament (MCB Camp Lejeune, June 17-20) Results:
Gunrunners 4, United FC 1 (Championship)
Goals: Ballester (UFC), Sirleaf (GR), Tovar (GR), Urbina (GR), Dunbar (GR)
United FC (4-3)
2d Supply Bn. (1-2)
The Untouchables (2-2)
Rad BN (0-3)