Worlds Collide on the Soccer field; IOS students destroy their instructors 6 -2

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- Instructors from the Air University Squadron Officer School went head to head with their international officer students during a friendly soccer game Nov. 16.

Before a sparse, yet vocal, crowd, the fireworks started early as the teams traveled the length of the field at a sprinter's pace. Taking turns with unsuccessful shots on goal, the SOS instructors struck first when left forward Michael Hethcock charged ahead of defenders and nailed a shot from just outside the penalty box, flying by IOS goalie Jean Kaylnamaura for a 1-0 lead.

Followed quickly with a defensive steal and quick passes down the field, Simon Jaktsetic from Slovenia took another shot on goal that sailed just to the right of the net.

On the ensuing exchange, it became clear the instructors had the IOS team on their heels when SOS instructor Nick Cobb scored with a blistering kick, which was called back for an off-sides penalty.

Quickly, the first half became a story of two teams, with the SOS instructors playing as a unit and the IOS players functioning as one-position super stars. However, as the half ended, IOS player Mohommad Muaydh from Yemen kicked the ball from the corner to Brazilian right forward Celles Pombo for a goal-scoring header, leaving the game tied 1-1 at halftime.

As the two teams took to the field for the second half, it was obvious the tide was turning. The IOS students began to settle down, relying on their superb ball-handling skills. Pombo benefited from a couple short passes that set him up for two quick scores, leading to the game's only hat trick and a score of 3-1.

With eight minutes left in the half, the once-winded SOS team put together a string of shots on goal that were quickly dispatched by some great goal keeping skills by Kaylnamaura. By game's end, the Rwandan goalie stopped seven shots from the SOS team.

In contrast, SOS novice goalie, Kevin Bush, was punished by Ismail Sahin from Turkey and Igorcho Stoimenovski from Macedonia, who scored two quick goals, one of which was in a head-to-head battle with Bush, with the shot sailing between his legs for a 5-1 lead.

With three minutes left in the game, the SOS instructors refused to give up as Dave Hauck scored the team's second point on a header that screamed to the left side of the goal.

In the end, the IOS team proved too much, winning the game, 6-2, on Stoimenovski's second goal of the day. However, the game was not about winning. It is about friendly competition and building relationships between international students and their SOS instructors that will last forever, or at least until the next time they take to the field.

"We were definitely hurting toward the end, but it was great to get out here and play the IOs," said Cobb. "We're just going to have to get in better shape so we can dominate the next class."