Forza soccer club seizes State Cup title
Dec 02, 2016 04:02PM ● Published by Bryan Scott
The U19 Forza West AB team is comprised of players from 10 different countries. (Alma Mendoza/ Forza Futbol Club)
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By Greg James | email@example.com
The Forza West 98 Boys Team captured the U19 State Cup Championship with a heart stopping 14-round penalty kick affair.
“I was impressed with these boys,” said head coach Ahmed Bakrim. “They set goals, and they showed me they were different boys. After a difficult group play I told them, ‘This is not what I expected.’ I wanted more from them. I told them I did not think we deserved to keep playing, that this was not who we are. When we stepped on the field against LaRoca, they were different boys. It was a big fight, and they played phenomenal soccer.”
Forza faced LaRoca in the quarterfinals winning 1-0. LaRoca had been unbeaten in pool play
“I was impressed with how much effort they gave me,” Bakrim said. “They really stepped up.”
The quarterfinals match pitted Forza against Rangers Premier. In the regular season, the teams had traded victories. Forza came through with a 1-0 win. The Rangers had been undefeated in pool play.
The State Cup final pitted Forza against the Fire from southern Utah. The Fire had knocked off the No.1 team in the state, USA Premier, 2-1. The Fire were trying to become the first-ever State Cup champion from southern Utah.
“I told them to focus for the 90-plus minutes, and whoever put the concentration first would come out on top,” Bakrim said. “I could see the fatigue coming out in the players.”
The game ended in regulation and overtime in a 1-1 tie and then went to penalty kicks.
“I have coached for almost 15 years, and I have never seen anything like that,” Bakrim said. “The shootout was crazy. We would miss—they would miss. It went on and on. I packed up my stuff several times. I thought there was no way. I thought this must be a dream. We made our final kick, and they missed. I could see the tears coming down. These boys never thought they would achieve this.”
Riverton High School’s Micah Hammond made the final penalty kick.
This Forza team is made up of players of 10 different nationalities—the only team in the state with that much diversity.
The team will compete at Far West Regionals in Seattle, Washington, June 19–26.
“I felt like I needed to prove to my teammates that I could play at this level,” Murray senior Drayden Ricks said. “If you looked at our stats for the season, no one would have expected us to make it, but I felt like we deserved it. The finals were very stressful. I could not picture the other team celebrating.”
Ricks was the team’s leading scorer, putting seven goals in the net.
“I love this team,” Forza’s CD Mendoza said. “We all get along so well. I knew we had a great team.”
Bakrim said goalkeeper Jaxx Goodrich made a big difference this season.
“I was overwhelmed with joy,” said West Jordan High School senior Jojea Kwizera. “I could not believe we had made it. No one expected us to make it to the finals. The PKs were crazy. I felt sick.”
Bakrim played professionally in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Morocco and is a B-licensed coach. He also is the head soccer coach at Bingham High School.
Forza recently opened a 20,000 square foot indoor practice facility east of Bangerter Highway in West Jordan. The club’s 65 teams and over 1,700 players, coaches and parents will have access to the facility year-round for training.