It was a tense battle between the men of Special Warfare Training Group and 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division for the Unit-Level Soccer Championship crown.
Even after winning two games the previous evening, and one more immediately before the championship round, number two seed SWTG entered the finals as the underdog, with an 11-2 record. The top-seeded team from 2nd Bn., 505th PIR, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. went into the two-game series undefeated.
That unblemished record took a beating in the first game of the double-elimination tournament after SWTG won 2-0. Cody Clarke scored both goals for the boys in red. The team maintained possession for the majority of the game with solid passes and some fancy footwork.
Both teams entered the final game ready to work. Players from 2nd Bn., 505th PIR, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. tried hard to keep possession, but SWTG was fired up.
They became even more passionate after another goal by Clarke, this time from a corner kick. After that first half goal, red started to dominate the field.
Clarke scored his fourth goal of the night with a solid shot down the middle of the field after goalie Chad Hansen came out to defend the ball.
Although 2nd Bn., 505th PIR, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. had beaten SWTG in penalty kicks during regular season play, the team wasn’t going to give up the title.
“We prepared this time,” said Wisdom Koduah, SWTG. “We weren’t going to let them beat us again.”
And they didn’t. SWTG won the final game 2-0, and took the title that escaped them last year as runners up for the championship crown.
“550 guys didn’t make it to this point, so you should all be proud of yourselves,” said Kurt Phoenix, sports specialist, Fort Bragg Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports and Fitness.
Players from SWTG said it felt “really good” to win the title because most members of the team have played together for a couple years.