Obama vs. Sterrett: Middle School Girl’s Soccer


Obama vs. Sterrett: Middle School Girl’s Soccer

By: Maya Lapp


As much as I love soccer, watching close games can be painful to me because I often just want to jump out onto the field. And Thursday’s middle school Obama Soccer game against Sterrett was as close as it gets.

In the first half, Sterrett’s offense had many chances, sending the ball up to their little Pelé striker up top, who would take it in for the attack. About halfway through the first half, their strategy paid off. Obama’s sweeper stepped up to clear the ball, but it ricocheted off a Sterrett player who was blocking her way, and suddenly the ball was behind defensive lines, with an opponent standing there, just waiting for the breakaway. The moment she received the ball, Obama’s Coach Frank Accetta started screaming, “Offside! She’s offside!”

Some of the players on the field (including our goalie) stopped in expectation, but the ref took no notice, and Sterrett’s striker placed a nice shot in the lower left corner. The ref blew his whistle, calling the goal, but that didn’t stop Accetta from striding onto the field, demanding a different call. Later, he admitted to me that he deserved a yellow card for his behavior, but would have considered it well earned after such an obvious bad call. Although I believe it would have been more prudent to keep a calm head and bow to the ref’s judgment, it was a pretty atrocious call, and should not have resulted in a goal.

The second ref came over to calm Accetta down, admitting his colleague’s mistake, but also saying he could do nothing to change the call. Barely ten minutes later, the second ref called a questionable handball on Sterrett in the penalty box, giving Obama the chance to tie it up, quite obviously trying to compensate for his companion’s mistake. Ekaterini Papazekos calmly placed the ball into the lower left corner to set the score even.

When the players took the field in the second half, the game was an intense succession of attacks for both teams, but the goalies held their own. Obama’s seventh-grade goalie in particular deserved a player of the day award. In the last ten minutes of the game, she was bombarded by as many point-blank shots, but each time she held her ground, taking balls in the hands, knees and face, stopping more than her share of breakaways and holding the spectators breathless until the final seconds of the game, which ended in a 1-1 tie.

Obama girls’ middle school soccer has its next game Monday against Arsenal, and if they win they’re guaranteed a spot in the playoffs in the coming weeks. Come out and support the team!