Friday, May 7, 2010

A Conversation With ... Yohance Marshall

Former South Florida defender Yohance Marshall returns to Tampa this weekend with the Austin Aztex who face the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies at Steinbrenner Field on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Tampa Bay Soccer Blog took some time to catch up with the former All-American about arriving in Austin, his parent club the Los Angeles Galaxy and returning to Tampa.

TBSB: How are things going in Austin?

Yohance Marshall: Going pretty good so far. Getting adjusted to life out here.

TBSB: It’s a homecoming for you coming back to Tampa and your old stomping grounds at USF. When you got loaned to Austin was that one of the first things you looked for, when you’d be heading back to Tampa?

YM: I don’t think so, it’s all business right now. I have to do a job here right now and the first priority is to do that job, and we’re going to see what happens.

TBSB: Have you heard from any of your old friends from USF about coming out to the game to see you again.

YM: Yes, I actually talk to them a lot on a regular basis. Most of my friends aren’t really friends, they’re more like family, so I talk to them a lot. I also talked to my coach recently too.

TBSB: Coach (George) Kiefer? Do you and he stay in touch a lot?

YM: I do, I talk to them a lot. That’s my home away from home.

TBSB: You’ve started the last couple of games for the Aztex, are you starting to get a feel for the side after getting acclimatized?

YM: I think so. It’s been a little difficult changing to a little different style, but I think I’m understanding the guys a little more and the guys are getting to understand me and how I move so in that aspect of the game it’s getting a lot better.

TBSB: What have you guys learned about the Rowdies from their first three games and what are you guys focused on for Saturday night.

YM: What we know so far is that they’ve had three away games and they’ve gotten results which means they are playing really good. We are just prepared for everything. We hear they have some pretty technical guys out there so we’re just focusing on our game right now. If we both play like we know how to play it’s going to be a fun game.

TBSB: What’s it been like making the switch to Division II this year after playing with the Galaxy last year?

YM: I’m getting to play right now, that’s my main focus. The speed is a little different, out at the Galaxy there’s no room for error, the same as here, but I think the speed is a tad bit different.

TBSB: Is it nice to see your parent team doing as well as it is?

YM: It’s great. I still have friends out there, still talk to a few of the guys out there so to see them doing well is really good. I always look at the games online. To see Edson Buddle scoring a lot of goals, that’s awesome.

TBSB: You are going to be playing on a converted baseball field, have you ever experienced anything like that before or played on any unusual surfaces before?

YM: I actually did last year at San Jose. San Jose’s field was converted from the Oakland Athletics, so it was similar.

TBSB: Have you been telling the guys what it’s like playing with that infield dirt?

YM: Actually, I’m not sure exactly how it is out there, so we’re preparing for anything. Any kind of different bounce, I told the guys this morning it’s field and then there’s like some sand so you just have to look out for that.

TBSB: You guys have had a very good start to the season, three wins out of four. What’s the feeling around the camp, is it feeling like this is a team that could contend for the league title?

YM: I think everyone has goals, and that’s one of the main goals. I think we still have a lot to learn, and every day in practice we try to get better so every day and every game we try to make our team better for the end of the season.

TBSB: It’s opening day for Tampa, they’re expecting a big crowd, 6,000, maybe 8,000. Is that going to be a fun atmosphere to play in front of as a visiting team?

YM: It’s going to be a great atmosphere to play in front of because there’s going to be all the hype especially if I get to play it’s going to be great because I’m basically playing in front of the people that played in my career at USF, so it’s going to be really nice. It’s going to be fun playing in front of them again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mitchell's Rockwell takes Gatorade Player of the Year Award

Mitchell High's Max Rockwell, who was critical to the Mustang's Class 4A State Championship two months ago, has been named Florida's Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

The Tampa Tribune's Mike Camunas writes than when Rockwell was informed of the honor by Mitchell coach Oscar Ubillus on Wednesday night, he was blown away. Izzy Gould of the St. Petersburg Times also has coverage of the award.

Rockwell, who is headed to play for Southern Methodist University in the fall, had four goals and 21 assists for the Mustangs, who became the first boys soccer team from Pasco County to win a state title.

He is also a member of the Clearwater Chargers Under-18 academy team, which is currently in the middle of its U.S. Soccer Federation Academy League season.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Got Game? Copa Univision is waiting for you

Think you've got the best six-a-side team in the bay area? The Copa Univision is your chance to prove it over a two-day tournament kicking off on Friday, May 7.

To be held at Cinco Soccer on Henry Avenue in Tampa, the 40-team tournament be split into two groups of 20, and then whittled down to a 16-team single-elimination bracket on Saturday afternoon to determine the winner.

Entry is $100 per team, with a first prize of $1,500 and second place taking $1,000. Games will be played over two 18-minute halves.

For more information, go to:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wharton's Vaughn commits to Florida Atlantic

Wharton's Fallon Vaughn has committed to Florida Atlantic University for the 2011 season according to Wildcats coach Denis Vukorep.

Vaughn, who plays club soccer for Hillsborough County United, scored seven goals and added nine assists for the Wildcats this past season and was an honorable mention on the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times' All-Hillsborough County team named last week. Vaughn was also named to the Western Conference National Division First team.

The Owls already have a pair of bay area players on their roster in former Plant goalkeeper Courtney Zwetsch and former Countryside forward Katie Kent. Marisa Russo of Mitchell and Stephanie Ferro from East Lake also signed with the Owls in February to join the squad this fall.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spartans looking for leadership from Swan, Griffin

TAMPA – With eight starters departed from last fall’s side, the University of Tampa men's program may be a team in transition during spring practice, which began last week, and this upcoming fall.

If central midfielders Karl Swan and Ryan Griffin have anything to do about it, though, the Spartans will be back to make another run at a Top-5 finish and a national title.

Two of the three returning starters, Lister Warren being the third, Swan and Griffin have run the center of the Spartans midfield since being moved there during their freshman seasons in a game against Rollins College.

“Ryan Maxwell got red-carded, we were tied 0-0 in the game, he gets red-carded with about five minutes to go in the (first) half, we had to play down a man,” Spartans coach Adrian Bush said. “We popped Ryan and Karl in there, played with three in the middle, and from that day forward they haven’t left the position.”

A big reason for that is how well both players game’s fit together. Griffin is the bigger of the two, listed at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, and is constantly in the thick of the game, winning possession in the air and on the ground when opponents have the ball. Swan, at 5-10, 155 pounds, is the distributor, directing play as he uses his passing ability to switch the point of attack and move the team forward.

Both Swan and Griffin played together for RSL Florida prior to becoming Spartans, winning three state championships in five seasons with the club. Swan thinks that while it might have taken longer for the two to jell had they not played prior to UT, the fact that they had was beneficial to the Spartans program.

“With both our strengths, it would have taken a little bit longer,” Swan said. “I think it would have taken a year, maybe even two years to put both our strengths together. It was a great plus we had RSL and played four or five years together.”

That success at the club level, and in their first two season as Spartans has both players believing the side will be as strong in the past two seasons, with Griffin looking forward to taking a more active leadership role on the team.

“We’ve obviously got to take the reins now,” Griffin said. “The team is looking to us now, it’s our time. I’ve always been a very vocal person on my team, as I have for the past two years, but now the words mean a lot more, make sure you compliment the young guys coming in, make sure they can assimilate themselves well into the program.

“I’m not going to change anything personally, still working out the same, but definitely vocally I've got to be the voice of the team.”

And that is exactly what Bush wants both players to be.

“The leadership part, stepping up and being more vocal as a leader is something we’re going to expect of them,” Bush said. “These guys have played at a very good level and are accustomed to winning, and I think just feeding that type of mentality and that type of work ethic to everyone on the team, and especially the new guys coming in, is going to be the most important thing we can get from those guys.

“They’re team guys. They’re about the team, will play any position that you ask and are just about getting results, that’s all they care about.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pinellas rosters for Senior Challenge released

The rosters for the Pinellas County boys and girls team for the Senior Soccer Challenge to be held at Countryside on March 6 have been announced, with a number of the players who competed at the state championships over the past two weeks included in both squads.

South Florida signees Javon Bostic, Ben Sweat and Shane Wixted will be on show for the boys squad, while Palm Harbor University’s girls state final team will have five players represented.

The complete squads are listed below.


GOALKEEPERS: Andrew Hindman, Dunedin; Josh Paul, Palm Harbor.

DEFENDERS: Javon Bostic, East Lake; Dominic Gianfrancesco, Osceola; John Holecek, St. Petersburg; Brent Merrick, East Lake; Troy Pruitt, Northeast; Sean Rafferty, Seminole.

MIDFIELDERS: Jordan Beau, Clearwater; Troy Cobb, Seminole; Peter Cundiff, Osceola; Hamza Elotmani, Lakewood; Matt Kimball, East Lake; P.J. McDonald, Palm Harbor; Brice Nardozzi, Indian Rocks Christian; Josh Phillippi, Northeast; Ben Sweat, Palm Harbor; Shane Wixted, Seminole.

FORWARDS: Anthony Brenner, Dunedin; Nick Patterson, East Lake; Matt Thompson, Admiral Farragut; Billy Vasquez, Pinellas Park.


GOALKEEPERS: Kim Cohn, Countryside; Casey Merson, Seminole.

DEFENDERS: Colleen Lynch, Palm Harbor; Cina Salemi, Palm Harbor; Christy Rickrode, Dunedin; Maryah Finch, Tarpon Springs; Shannon Walisch, Palm Harbor, Lauren Grove, St. Petersburg.

MIDFIELDERS: Casey McKeon, St. Petersburg Catholic; Thea Linkfield, Countryside; Julia Bosacki, Clearwater; Kendall Narum, Countryside; Stephanie Ferro, East Lake; Noel Forsman, Seminole; Nicole Carter, St. Petersburg.

FORWARDS: Jensen Eifert, Indian Rocks Christian; Tatiana Perez, East Lake; Megan Lawrence, Seminole; Ronnica Harris, Largo; Catherine Brinkman, Palm Harbor; Zoe Lombard, Palm Harbor; Jolie Annichiarico, Clearwater Central Catholic; Kelsey Dougherty-Howard, St. Petersburg Catholic.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hillsborough Boys squad announced for Senior Challenge

The Hillsborough boys squad for the Senior Soccer Challenge to be held at Countryside High on March 6 has been announced, with 17 different schools being represented among the 23 players and two alternates selected for this year’s game.

Sickles leads the roster with four players selected, while Class 2A state champions Tampa Prep will be represented by Wes Sever and Anthony Baumann in the game against the Pinellas All-Stars.

The full squad, to be coaches by Wharton's Scott Ware and Gaither's Eric Sims, is listed below.

Goalkeepers: Brandon Stout, Sickles; Derrick Miranda, East Bay

Defenders: Gil Davis, Sickles; David Campbell, Wharton; Josh Santos, Gaither; Ben Wiley, Sickles; Brendan McCarron, Tampa Catholic; C.R. Lewis, King.

Midfielders: Boris Simeunovic, Sickles; Ellis Curry, Freedom; Luis Rodriguez, Leto; Steven Scrivens, King; Jesus Torres, Armwood; Jake Felman, Berkeley Prep.

Forwards: Billy Fanning, Durant; Miguel Cadavid, Jesuit; T.J. Roehn, Berkeley Prep; Steven Gonzalez, Newsome; Esgar Montelongo, Plant City; Anthony Baumann, Tampa Prep; Wes Sever, Tampa Prep; David Castillo, East Bay.

Alternates: M Brad Keefe, Brandon; F Fedson Hilaire, Middleton.

Tribune girls soccer correspondent Jarrett Guthrie has details of the girls roster, announced last week. That squad can be found here.