AF captures 2016 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer gold
By Steven Dinote, Armed Forces Sports
/ Published May 19, 2016
FORT BENNING, Ga. (AFNS) -- Air Force prevailed in their rematch against Navy 3-2 on May 13 to capture the 2016 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship after a weeklong tournament at Fort Benning.
Navy Ensign Alex Wilson of Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, struck first with a solid goal in the 12th minute, in what it would appear to be a repeat of the first match between the two squads on day two of the tournament.
However, Air Force Airman 1st Class Christopher Grant of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, had other thoughts as he entered the box to score the penalty kick in the 17th minute.
Air Force capitalized on their momentum with goals by 2nd Lt. Micah Cummins of Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, and Airman 1st Class Benjamin Latimer of Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, in the 45th and 66th minutes.
Air Force’s defense held strong throughout the second half. In the final minute of the match, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Baker of Prince George, Maryland, scored Navy’s final goal on a penalty kick.
“This feels absolutely amazing,” said Air Force head coach Lt. Col. Derrick Weyand of Incirlik AB, Turkey.
“We by far had the best team out here … we just had to play at our level,” Weyand said. “These guys perfected the game plan and I couldn’t be more proud of them, because they executed the plan. The toughest team we faced was Navy. Their team and their coach are tactically sound and by far the Navy did an exceptional job.”
Grant, who was the tournament’s leading scorer, said the highlight of the tournament was winning with his teammates.
“They wanted revenge so bad because they lost to the Army last year. And to come here, arm the guns and win the gold is salvation,” he said.
The U.S. Armed Forces Men’s Soccer team will conduct a trial/training camp in the December/January timeframe in order to prepare for the 2nd Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Football Cup in Muscat, Oman, Jan. 13-29, 2017. The world-class event will feature 16 teams from around the world.