Soccer Team Mixes Business and Pleasure in Arizona

After a hard-fought week of non-stop soccer in Texas at the Dallas Cup, Black Rock FC | Northwood Boys Soccer arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. The rest of Northwood School had just been released for Spring Break, so the boys of the soccer team were looking forward to the chance for some relaxation.’ Many believed this meant sleeping in, time by the pool, and no additional strenuous exercise. Head Coach Jon Moodey had other plans.  

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Day 1 consisted of an early morning wake up for a hike of Dixie Mountain in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. Hiking in the desert around Phoenix is only safe in the morning and evening because of the extreme mid-day temperatures (soaring to 100F, even in April). The desert landscape is stark and lifeless to the untrained eye, but wildlife and plant life flourish there. Owls, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and towering cactuses were all on display.  

The next week saw a mix of fun and work. The team trained and toured at NAIA Ottawa AZ, a 4-year-old University that focuses purely on athletics. The college coaching staff welcomed Black Rock into their weight room, locker room, and allowed the team to practice on their home turf. The U19 and U18 teams also got the chance to play 80minute friendly matches against Del Sol FC and Real Salt Lake FC. This totaled 4 games in Arizona.  

The highlight of Arizona for the team was a road trip to the Grand Canyon. The group broke up and hiked the Southern Rim. They then descended the canyon on the South Kaibab Trail passing Ooh Aah Point before eating lunch at Cedar Ridge. Views were panoramic as it was truly a day to remember.  

A final memory for many of the boys was the Fossil Creek Waterfall. Cliff jumping and swimming in the crystal-clear water proved to be a fulfilling reward for the long trek.  

Arizona was a great second leg to the month-long journey. It provided great balance during a soccer specific trip. 

Huskies Fare Well at Dallas Cup 

The Dallas Cup proved to be quite the experience for the Boys’ Soccer teams. The Cup lived up to its reputation as the best soccer tournament in North America through difficult competition, talented players, and quality games across the board. Here is a recap of the Northwood’s performance in the 2021 Dallas Cup.   

The U19 team featured the traditional Black Rock- Northwood squad, with a few guest players (Jai Bean/ South Kent ’21/ Duke ’25, Mohammed Seidu/ South Kent ’21/Marshall ’25, Ethan Prescott/ South Kent ’22, Aidan Marroquin/IHC ‘22, and Abdul Shakur/Millbrook ’21/Duke ’25) each bringing their own set of talents to the group. Guest players also posed the challenge of quick integration into the team, something the squad took on very well.   

Game 1 for the U19s was against highly-touted FC Dallas. Class soccer was played on both sides and the match was tied at halftime. Northwood struck the post twice early in the second half, but gave up a goal with only minutes to go, losing the match 0-1.   

The U19 squad at the 2021 Dallas Cup (Photo provided)

The loss to Dallas FC was painful, but it ultimately sparked the fire that would give the team a fantastic 4-1 victory over defending national champions, Solar 02 boys on goals goals by Luke Smith ’21, Alvaro Garcia Pascul ’21, Slater Loffredo ’21, and Abdul Shakur.   

The team used this momentum to defeat Texas powerhouse, Capital City 6-0 in the final group match. Unfortunately, FC Dallas would go on to win their next two games as well, winning the group by accumulation of points. Black Rock showed character and a lot should be taken from the team’s gritty performance.   

The U18 squad at the 2021 Dallas Cup.

The U18s similarly featured the same Black Rock- Northwood soccer team, with guest players, (Stefano Faillace, Andres Gordillo, Konrad Kyrsztoforski, Julian Vivas (all from IHC) and Mikey Hofstetter) joining the squad. The team started strong with a massive 3-0 win vs nationally-ranked Capital City on goals from Jeremy Tsang ‘22, Mikey Hofstetter, and Ben Guglielmetti ’22.   

The next day the team unfortunately fell 3-1 to Manitou FC of Minnesota. The lone Northwood goal came from Liam Doyle ’22.   

In the U18s final day of competition, the boys pulled out a 1-0 win against Falls Town FC from North Texas.   

This left 3 of the 4 teams in Bracket F deadlocked at 6 points. Unfortunately, the tiebreak was goal differential, and Falls Town edged the Huskies by just one goal to advance. All of the U18s will get an opportunity to return the Dallas Cup next year and have the chance to seek redemption. 

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