Pass, Shoot, Goal – AUBG Soccer League Fall 2016
With the semester coming to its end came the conclusion of the semestrial edition of the AUBG Soccer League. On Monday, Nov. 28, under the snowfall Black Jaguars and Dve rakii, molq! met on the soccer field outside the America for Bulgaria Student Center for the final match of the season. Despite the harsh weather conditions, Black Jaguars managed to strike a win against their opponent, earning them the title of AUBG Soccer League champions for a fourth time, yet on new playing grounds that brought up many challenges this fall.
This year’s AUBG Soccer League began with 12 teams participating in its Fall 2016 edition. After the group stage matches only eight teams proceeded to the second round of the tournament – Black Jaguars, 0 ZateP, Dve rakii, molq!, Oldies&Fatties, Phoenix, KvoGovorish, Reckless, and All United. As the AUBG Soccer League proceeded, the participants had to meet in direct elimination matches.
At the beginning of the academic year, the two co-presidents of the AUBG Soccer League, Amir Tazhinov and Miroslav Kolev, introduced a new element to the tournament by utilizing the newly built sports facilities on campus. Instead of conducting the tournament inside the ABF Sports Hall, like previous semesters, the teams were provided with the opportunity to play at the new soccer field outside ABF. The soccer team captains agreed to the proposed locational change during one of their meetings at the beginning of the semester. In support of this organizational change, Miroslav Kolev shared that playing outside would make their experience on the field more realistic and enjoyable.
“There was the grass and the ball, which was bigger than the one that we used before. It was size five while the one that we used inside was size four. Also the grass and the ball stimulated better movement on the field, which made it more realistic,” said Kolev.
Despite the benefits that the new field had for the participants of the AUBG Soccer League, it generated some issues that the two co-presidents tried to resolve. According to Tazhinov, because of the change in location, the matches did not attract as many spectators as they did last year. However, the biggest obstacle were the weather conditions during the final showdown. Due to the snowstorm on Nov. 28, Tazhinov and Kolev had to take extraordinary organizational measures in order to provide suitable conditions for the game to be played. With the help of AUBG’s Sports Director, Yasen Nedelchev, they managed to find a snow cleaning machine with which to set the stage for the final matches. However, due to the low temperatures, the two teams who were to play against each other for the 3rd and the 4th place in the tournament (Oldies & Fatties and 0 ZateP), decided not to hold their match.
Despite all odds, the enthusiasm of the finalists was not swayed away. At 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 28, under the snowfall, the Black Jaguars faced off against Dve rakii, molq!, last semester’s champion versus a strategic competitor.
“Our opponent was Dve rakii molq!, a team that qualified to the final for the first time and has always been hard to predict in terms of how the team is gonna play, what tactic they will choose” shared Asadullayev.
During the game, the Black Jaguars took the initial lead with three early goals, which had a high impact on the performance of both teams and on the final result. The winter conditions also played a role in the way the match developed. According to Georgi Chapanov, a palyer of Dve rakii, molq!, not all of the participants had the proper apparel, which resulted in players “sliding along the filed not being able to stand on their feet.”
The match ended 4:1 with the Black Jaguars coming out victorious. Asadullayev and Chapanov shared that if they are given the option to have the tournament played next semester outside at the new soccer field, instead of inside the ABF Sports hall, they would gladly do it again.
“I prefer the artificial grass, the whole idea of playing soccer indoors is ok but the floor there is crappy and it’s a whole different game inside and outside you just play your natural game – the way soccer is supposed to be”said Chapanov.
The evening of the final showdown concluded with the award ceremony of the AUBG Soccer League.
The following awards were distributed among the participants: Best Non-Student Player – Stefan Nikolov (Oldies & Fatties), Best Goal Scorer – Ruzbe Asadullayev (Black Jaguars), Best Defender – Amir Tazhinov (Black Jaguars), Best Goalkeeper – Alisher Kadirov (Black Jaguars) and Philip Mishev (0 ZateP), and Most Valuable Player – Mario Grachenov (Oldies & Fatties).
Since Oldies & Faties and 0 ZateP did not have their match, the third place was not awarded to any of the two teams. After the showdown earlier that evening, the second place went to Dve rakii, molq!, and the first to the winners of the final match – the Black Jaguars.