Rams take third

The Ramstein men’s soccer team took third place after two nail-biting,
overtime games in play-offs of the 2005 U.S. Air Force in Europe Soccer
Tournament, held Oct. 18 through Saturday in Camp Darby, Italy.

Last year, the Rams took second place in the tourney and went on to win
first in the Air Force vs. Army Final Four tournament. But Aviano
flattened Ramstein’s chance to claim that title again during their
second match up of the tournament.

The 15-member team had a rough start. The Rams lost two of their
valuable starters in the first match of pool play. Felix Lis Hurtado
tore his ACL and Andrew Wiesehan tore his Achilles heal. The Rams had
to play with a two-deep bench for the rest of the week.

Coming out of pool play, they ranked as the second seed. Ramstein tied
the defending champion, Spangdahlem, 1-1, and took decisive victories
over Aviano, 3-1, and Incirlik, 2-1. The Ram’s only loss was against
Lakenheath, 2-1.

“We just had the willpower to win,” said midfielder Ryan Horton. “We
stepped up but just needed to control the tempo of the game more.”

In the semi-final game against Aviano Oct. 21, the Rams were behind.
But with a beautiful header goal, center midfielder Ismail “TK”
Taylor-Kamara was able tie the score, 2-2, and put the game into

Unfortunately, the physical Aviano team scored the silver goal off a
counterattack in the last few minutes of overtime, sealing Aviano’s
seat in the championship game and sending Ramstein to the constellation

Saturday, the Rams rematched Incirlik and fought hard to take third
place. The Rams’ came out playing tough and Taylor-Kamara scored by
deflecting a lob-pass from the outside the box into the goal. But
Incirlik managed to tie it up and take the game to a penalty-kick tie

Incirlik started the PK rounds, sinking each one as Ramstein keeper
Jose Jimenez could only guess which way they were going to shoot. But
the Rams matched them one for one. After the first set of five PKs, it
went to sudden death where each shot had to be requited by Ramstein.

Then the Rams keeper finally got his chance with the eighth Incirlik shooter.
“I knew the remaining players wouldn’t be as good as the first five
shooters,” said Jimenez. “He kicked it slower so I had more time to
read the shot and stop the ball.”

He blocked the same kicker’s shot twice, after the kicker got a redo.
Then all midfielder Davey “Hutch” Hutchison had to do was hit the back
of the net. And even with a busted toe, he did, clenching third place
for the Rams.

“We had a lot of heart out there and the guys played hard,” said
forward Marcin Vande Hei, who was named a tournament all-star and one
of the leading scorers of the men’s tournament. “A lot of other teams
lost it when they were behind and losing, but we were having fun out

For information about future practices and joining the 2006 team, contact the coach via jose.jimenez@ramstein.af.mil
(Courtesy of the Ramstein men’s soccer team)