Tumbao FC

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Like most colleges, Hope has a very competitive intramurals
program. With softball,
basketball, tennis, soccer, flag football, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, inner
tube water polo and badminton leagues, Hope does a good job of letting all of
the wannabe athletes win something: “the shirt.” Which is essentially a glorified blue tee shirt with “Hope
Intramural Champion” scrawled across it. Regardless, it’s on every students’ bucket list and is a sense of pride
for those who do obtain one.

Before we dive into this year’s competitive co-ed soccer
season, a bit of history.

Tumbao FC was established in the fall of 2012 as a group of
hockey players who fashioned themselves athletic enough to play on the
pitch. About half our team had played
fútbol in high school, whilst the other half had limited experience. We recruited a hodge-podge group of
girls that we thought would give us the best chance to win games and entered
ourselves in the more-competitive bracket. Unbelievably, we enjoyed a surprisingly successful season,
making the playoffs and upsetting two higher ranked teams to make the
semifinals as a dark horse. Unfortunately, that’s as far as we got. 

This spring, Tumbao got off to a hot start (with the help of
an opponent forfeit) and never looked back, going undefeated with a 5-0 record during
the regular season. Normally, the
regular season consists of seven games, but two were canceled due to inclement
weather and excessive precipitation. 

In stark contrast to our previous campaign, we entered the
playoffs as the number one seed in the top division. Despite the pressure that comes with that distinction,
Tumbao trotted unscathed into the finals, cruising to 7-1, 6-4, and 5-3 victories. 

These scores were a result of many players finding the back
of the net, including: Zach Adams (team captain), Austin Bremer, Jake Green, Jamie
Haak, GOALTENDER Christian Leathley, Justin Glick, Hannah Boshoven, Casie
Vanden Bosch. With so many
weapons, and a deep bench, Tumbao FC was rollin’ and only picking up speed.

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But an early goal by the Holland Shakes quickly sucked the
wind right out of Tumbao’s sails. Down
1-0.

The next few minutes Tumbao was dominated, as they sought to
shake off their shock at already being down by one. Christian made several sprawling saves, each of which was
met with thunderous applause from the sideline. Things did not look good for Tumbao as they desperately
cleared ball after ball.

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With each completed pass, Tumbao’s on field demeanor visibly
changed as they took control of the game. Up front, Zach and Jake peppered the goal with heavy shots from outside the box,
to no avail. The Holland Shakes
clearly had a strong goaltender (all-state in high school). Finally, freshman Austin Bremer was
able to shake two defenders and find the back of the net with a beautiful left
foot from a difficult angle. Tied
1-1. 

With their confidence restored, Tumbao and the Holland
Shakes settled in for a back and forth battle until a HS player was able to
capitalize on a lost battle. Down
2-1.

Just before halftime, after a passing clinic at midfield,
most notably a brilliant back-heel by Green, Bremer mimicked his first goal,
scoring with the same foot, from the same impossible angle.  Tied 2-2.

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The half ended with almost constant ball possession by
Tumbao. Upon losing it, the ball
would be recovered almost immediately with stifling defense, namely Jamie Haak,
Casie Vanden Bosch, and Jake Green. 

Halftime allowed our starters to catch their breath and more
importantly, for us to review our game plan, which involved controlling the
middle of the field through precision passing, made easy by forming
triangles. In other words, a
passer should always have two options. After giving the team a quick, upbeat talk, I sent our five starters to
the pitch.

We immediately took control, with masterful decision-making
by midfielders Justin Glick, Adams, and Maddie McLean. When no options existed to go forward,
we moved the ball back to our mobile defense, who then surveyed the pitch, seeking
to move the ball to open space. Ultimately, the ball ended up on Bremer’s foot again, thanks to a
wonderful give-and-go exchange with Glick.  Once again, he put it in with a left foot. Up 3-2.

The lead was ours. And it showed in our opponent’s
play. They forced passes that
weren’t there, attempted to do it all as individuals, and at some points, even
showed a lack of hustle. Tumbao
enjoyed a wealth of chances at the goal, particularly by Green, Glick, and Adams. Yet it was Bremer, AGAIN, who
capitalized, relying on his exquisite footwork and unshakable patience.  Another left foot, another score. Up 4-2.

Tumbao responded in the exact way I had instructed us not to
do. We fell back into a 3-2
formation, allowing our opponent to dribble nearly uncontested to our side of
the field. I have seen far too
many games in which a team attempts to simply “hold on” to their lead, and it
dissolves in their arms, leaving them hugging themselves.

My persistent yelling finally paid off as we began to assert
ourselves again, and once again establish ball-control. Jake Green found himself alone running
across the middle of their box, perpendicular to the sidelines. Kicking across his body, Green put the
ball in the far corner! Up 5-2.

And then I made a crucial coaching mistake: I put in
longtime bench warmer Drew Cook for a sequence. He ended up taking a Shakes player down in a blatant foul
only seconds later. I managed to
capture the play on video.

The resulting free kick was bent like Beckam used to,
sailing over our wall and curving down into the top corner of the net, generating a deserved celebration. But we were still up, 5-3.

And that’s how it ended.

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Tumbao FC was crowned intramural champions on April 25, 2013. They will return for the 2014 campaign with the core of the squad receiving contract extensions, the exception being senior Jake Green.  

Hasta luego,

Steven