The Football Homily

Beloved BlueGreens Brethren,

It is a joy to see you congregate around this message about the opening match of Duluth FC’s inaugural season in the National Premier Soccer League. Our humble club has only competed for two seasons since its founding but it has climbed up the ladder of the beautiful game in our country with great success. We are thankful for all the accomplishments thus far, but we are also mindful of the need to continue our improvement.

The 2017 season began on the road at our friends, the Minnesota TwinStars FC, who hosted us at their home stadium, Einer Anderson Stadium in Minnetonka. It appears that tradition prevailed in this match up as we drew the match 1 to 1. This is our third match with the Dragons and it has been draws three times in a row. We anxiously await to host them and we hope to change that tradition. The match was very entertaining with 90+ minutes of non-stop action between the two friendly rivals. The TwinStars head coach, Youssef Darbaki, always prefers a possession sty of play. Likewise, our head coach Kyle Bakas also likes the tiki-taka but for this match it appears that he has chosen a system that broke up TwinStars passing skills. Both clubs used their target forwards effectively as they are both good options. The TwinStars relied greatly on their star attacking midfielder Karim Darbaki #10 who impressed once again. However, the BlueGreens backline definitely hold them off to regularly. Both clubs had some very good chances but neither team was able to stretch the net in the first half. The best chance was definitely on the side of our Duluth men when our forward Garga Nyuah broke away and chipped the TwinStars goalkeeper Sean Teske, but the ball was cleared of the line by a defender after it hit both posts. It was definitely a very exciting first half as both teams had defenders clear the ball after the keepers were beaten. The work displayed by our BlueGreens was tireless and unrelenting. It is best described by this verse from the Bible: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

The second half was equally passionately played by both teams and occasionally it became a little rough out there on the pitch with both sides seeing the Yellow Card on a couple of instances each. Thankfully, the players were respectful toward each other although the play became somewhat more challenging. The TwinStars broke the deadlock at the hour mark with a good strike by Babatunde Oyekan #9. Both teams continued to play hard with the Duluthians definitely increasing their pressure up the pitch and initiating more attacks. Much as in the first half our BlueGreens became increasingly better, connecting more passes and attacking the home side’s net more potently. But an honest evaluation of our play must include the note that there were moments when chemistry was absent and even a few occasions of miscommunication in our midfield and attack. Our backline held strong all match long through the ever-presence of Gonnie Ben-Tal and even initiated direct attacks by the precise long passing of Tom Corcoran. Even as Duluth began dominating play, however, the final ball was hard to come by especially with the TwinStars tightly marking Kyle Farrar. In truth, the Dragons also held up well and even made a few more attempts on our net but they were considerably fewer than in the first half. However, our team never ever quit working and attacking the opponents’ third finding better pass sequences and more shots on net. The Duluthians were steadfast in their work on the pitch. Indeed the BlueGreens were rewarded in truly dramatic fashion with a beautiful goal in the 90th minute scored by our top scorer from last year Kyle Farrar. This finish seems like a manifestation of St. Paul’s message to his brethren in Corinth: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

In closing this homily I encourage our team to continue to work hard thoughtfully and methodically, following the coaches’ instructions at training sessions and during matches. The next match is also on the road at Minneapolis City SC who are a touted as a Goliath in the North Conference. I’m confident they will be good hosts and the match will be equally entertaining. Lastly I urge the BlueGreens to always remember that success comes in their oneness and steadfastness.

May all the players be blessed with good health, all the fans with enjoyment, and for our team we pray for an honorable and good result!

Duluth Signs Three; Including CSS Standout and NCAA Division 3 All-American Kyle Farrar

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D.F.C announced its first three signings of the 2017 campaign.

Yesterday, at a press conference held at Saint Luke’s Hospital, official Duluth F.C sponsors, the first signings for the 2017 NPSL Northern Campaign were unveiled by General Manager Tim Sas, Operation Manager Mike Sengbush and Head Coach Kyle Bakas.

The honor of first signing in the history of Duluth F.C. rightly belongs to last years captain Kyle Farrar. Farrar is a landmark signing, as the former Saints player provides leadership, decisive ability on the ball and was the Bluegreen’s leading goal scorer from its inaugural season.

Coach Kyle Bakas noted, “The signing of Kyle Farrar is a huge step for this club as he could have played elsewhere. His leadership, ability and poise will be the foundation of our team’s presentation of the game of soccer as a winning spectacle here in Duluth”.

Farrar in his first season with Duluth F.C. was exemplary, notching 9 goals and 6 assists in 8 games.

With its second signing, Duluth F.C. added midfielder Joe Watt, a CSS graduate and NCAA division 3 record holder. The versatile midfielder chipped in with 3 goals, and 4 assists in 5 games last year.

Watt’s passion for the game and experience provide D.F.C. with energy in defense and creativity in the attack. General Manager Tim Sas has expressed his excitement at seeing Watt and Farrar pair up in the attack yet again.

With Duluth’s third signing, they added Mualigbe Keita, the fiery defender from UWS. Mualigbe started the majority of games in the APL campaign, and is a teammates dream as his hard work and effort in the center of the park results in multiple goal scoring opportunities for others.

Head Coach Kyle Bakas is “thrilled” to have the Mualigbe back in uniform and is counting on him to have a season for the record books.

Welcome back to all three players, and we look forward to more signings in the coming days.

Player Signings Preview

 

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Of the players who played in the squad last year there are a number who are likely to stay in the area, especially with the big move orchestrated by Tim Sas to the NPSL. Unfortunately, there are also members from last years squad who will no longer be with us for various reasons. However; through ‘extensive scouting’, D.F.C believe they have been able to identify a group of players that will be able to come in and fill the void left by those who have moved on.

Similarly to last year, the main portion of the squad will consist of UWS and CSS graduates and current students. With some new recruits coming in from other local colleges such as LSC. D.F.C are confident that the quality coming in will allow them to be very competitive in the upcoming NPSL North season, and build upon an undefeated first season in the APL.

Moving into their second year as a club; the tryouts held 25 & 26 March will give D.F.C an opportunity to add some talent that can improve an already established squad. Many of the players attending will be local, although there has been great interest from further afield. Players from the Twin Cities, Kansas, and Ohio will all be making the trip to northern Minnesota to fight for a position on the Duluth F.C. squad.

For those still interested in try outs, please sign up via duluthfc.com