New Semester, New AUBG Soccer League
The tournament is now back on track with an average of 12 games each week after more than five months without AUBG soccer games. Fans who are well aware of the League’s player squads would distinguish, between the many other outfits, those of Black Jaguars, O Zatep, Black Eagles, Dve rakii, molq!, Tirona VK and Kvo Govorish as the ones who already had a say in deciding the medalists at the Spring ’15 Soccer League Tournament. As new teams joined this semester, challenging the status quo, the League acquired a fresh look and plenty of new faces on the soccer arena.
Unlike last year, when 14 teams enrolled, this semester only 10 teams are participating in the tournament. The new co-president of the Soccer League Amir Tazhinov, a second-year student, suggested that one of the reasons for that is the lack of interest among freshmen. In addition, “a significant amount of players graduated,” he said.
Consequently, the scheme of play-offs had to be adapted. “Six teams qualify into play-off round. Teams which took first and second place go directly to semifinals. Third through sixth places are going to compete for the remaining two places in semi-finals,” Tazhinov said.
In addition to the new qualification framework that the league is now set to follow, other rules were also implemented. One of them already eliminated the assists ranking that the tournament used to have during previous semesters, thus excluding the final-day award for the player with the greatest number of assists. Despite the rule, all other individual awards will remain – those given for the best goalscorer of the tournament, the MVP(most valuable player), the best defender, the best midfielder and the best attacker.
The amendments made to the rules of the Soccer League constitution were undertaken by the three current co-presidents of the League – Mario Grachenov, Radoslav Nikolov and Amir Tazhinov. Grachenov explained that the captains are more active participants now. “All the major decisions we took were discussed and approved by them as they are the people who will play in the tournament,” Grachenov said.
Radoslav Nikolov, a third-year student, is a co-president for a second consecutive year. “I am happy that I will be a president for this semester. I like the job and I am already used to it, so it is relatively easy,” Nikolov said. The co-presidents said that the main challenge of the job is constructing a schedule and trying to consider the desires of the more than 100 players involved in the League. Attempting to take into account all preferences of the 10 teams who are rivaling for the top spots in the overall ranking table is proving a hard task already. Despite the occasional hardship, soccer fans and players have so far enjoyed a myriad of events.
Already into the third week of matches, goals have begun pouring down. AUBGers have so far witnessed a total of 21 matches featuring all 10 teams which have scored a total of 185 goals. Adding to these figures were matches that took more than 10 goals to decide on the winner, as in the case of “Phoenix” vs. “Oldies and Fatties” (5-6 the final score) and such that took the final goal tally to 18 goals (Black Jaguars 17-1 AILYACITE) in a single match. Considering the goal dominance of Black Jaguars, last year’s finalists, their outscoring of all other teams has been rightly justified. The squad has already recorded 37 goals, while the goalscorer’s ranking is headed by three of their main players in offense – Ruzbe Asadullayev (10 goals), Gennady Solovey(9 goals) and Borys Khodan(9 goals).
With games yet to follow, the tournament will continue to provide the ground for the players and the stands for the fans chanting their support for their fellow friends on the field. It remains to be seen who will put the fight and the skills to claim the title best soccer team of AUBG at the end of the Fall ’15 Soccer League semester.
This article was the joint effort of AUBG Daily’s Owls Georgi Dobrev and Karina Khristich.