Men's Teams Win in Explosive Fashion, Women's Team Falls to Cincinnati

Men's Teams Win in Explosive Fashion, Women's Team Falls to Cincinnati

This week, the Rooks were a part of exciting games across the clubhouse.


Men's First Team vs. AFC Roscoe (Illinois State Cup): 2-2 FT [3-2] Pen W

58' W. Acheampong

68' M. Kamil 


Women's First Team vs. Sirens FC: 3-0 L


Men's NSL Team vs. Chicago City SC: 

4', 10' D. Luis

14' C. Soto

46' A. Niaitovic

61' A. Hicks

89' R. Choi


The Men’s First Team and staff meet to talk strategy. Credit: Miles Whitworth (

Men's First Team 

The Men's First Team advanced to the Illinois State Cup Semi-Finals after beating AFC Roscoe Friday night in an emotional match.

AFC Roscoe started the match on the front foot. After much back-and-forth across the pitch, a Roscoe player launched a long ball past Rooks and into scoring position. An AFC Roscoe player then secured the ball close to the Rooks net and shot across the net to score at 21'. 

Rooks goalie Jack Monson blocks a shot on goal. Credit: Miles Whitworth (

AFC Roscoe commanded play after the restart, preventing attacking opportunities by the Rooks by maintaining possession of the ball and slowing down the game. Evangelo Spartiatis almost had an answering goal at 22' following an AFC Roscoe handball call, but his shot off the set piece was held out by the crossbar.

"This is just the worst case scenario," said Rooks backup keeper Jacob Altstadt. "[AFC Roscoe] parked the bus. All of them. We gave them energy and let them think they can win this."

David Abidor, a Rooks player-coach who was taking over coaching duties for the team in head coach Andriy Berezovchuk’s absence, tried to rally the players after the Rooks found themselves down 1-0 going into the half.

"We're moving the ball way too slow. It doesn't look like we want to win. We lose the ball and we're too casual to win it back," Abidor told his players in a team huddle.

In an almost immediate change of tone, the Rooks were able to start pushing into Roscoe's territory with dangerous offensive shifts, livening up Rooks players and their fans.

William Acheampong lunges to keep the ball in play. Credit: Conner Macintosh (

Following a Rooks attack, AFC Roscoe attempted to play out of the back on the ensuing goal kick. Feeling the pressure rise, AFC Roscoe's centre back played what he thought would be a safe ball back to the keeper. Midfielder Gustav Ericcson intercepted the pass, and sent a square ball over to fellow midfielder William Acheampong, which he slotted into the open net at 58’.

Murtadha Kamil fights for possession. Credit: Miles Whitworth (

With momentum on their side, the Rooks capitalized again 10 minutes later. Rushing behind their opponent's defense, Rooks forward Bardia Kimiavi landed a cross across Roscoe's box to striker Murtadha Kamil who scored a diving header to give the Rooks the 2-1 lead. Kimiavi, heading back to the bench after the play, was gleaming about his and his teammate's performance.

Bardia Kimiavi readies himself for another attacking play. Credit: Miles Whitworth (

"I felt mad after that first half, so getting that [goal] felt great," explained Kimiavi with a smile.

Despite the 2-1 lead, AFC Roscoe continued to put up a fight. Rooks goalie Jack Monson stopped two near goals from Roscoe at 81' and 82'. 

Roscoe eventually tied the game at 86' after miscommunication within the Rook’s defense. A through-ball broke through the Rooks’ defense, and Monson took out midfielder Blake Mooney while they tried to clear it. The Roscoe attacker was then able to easily gather the ball and put in in the net to tie the match 2-2 in the 86th minute.

Rooks players line up in the midfield and await their penalty kicks. Credit: Miles Whitworth (

With the match tied at full time, penalty kicks were next up. Both the Rooks and AFC Roscoe lined up pensively to decide which team would advance. The crowd grew silent as Monson prepared for Roscoe's first kick; Monson's first ever appearance with the Rooks was going to be something special.

Monson blocked the first AFC Roscoe kick, using both of his hands to parry it away on the left. Hopping to his feet, Monson raised a thumbs-up to his teammates at midfield.

With an early advantage, Gustav Ericsson lined up to take the Rooks' first kick. Ericsson slotted his shot past the keeper calmly, putting a cap on his solid performance.

Monson guessed correctly on the second Roscoe kick, but the ball was just out of reach.

Spartiatis was next for the Rooks, but his low shot could not make it past the keeper’s gloves. 1-1 after 2 rounds.

Roscoe scored again following Spartiatis's miss, adding to the pressure. Left back Kyle Robson stepped up for the Rooks, landing his goal to provide a resounding answer. 2-2 after 3 rounds.

Jack Monson walks to the goal prior to the penalty-shootout. Credit: Miles Whitworth (

Monson would make his final save of the night on Roscoe’s fourth shot, deflecting the ball up and over the net to give the Rooks a chance at taking the lead.

“Q” Benedetto capitalized on that chance, and followed his goal by walking over to his keeper for a quick word.

“Once you save this, take your tarp off and let’s celly.”

A trip to the State Semifinal was now within grasp for the Rooks..

On the final kick of the match, Monson remained rooted to his spot as the kick sailed right of his net and out of play. 

Rooks players and staff celebrate with Jack Monson. Credit: Miles Whitworth (

Rooks players, staff, and fans rushed towards Monson to celebrate his amazing end to his first ever Rooks game.

After the victory celebrations, Monson was humble about his performance 

"My team is helping me out of course," Monson said. "They're doing their job. I think we really recouped from the second half. [The shootout] got a little frantic." 

The Men's First Team now looks forward to competing in the Illinois State Cup Semi-Finals this Friday at 7 PM at Foster Turf Field against the 2022 State Champs, RWB Adria. 

You can also catch the Men’s First Team at the Rooks Double Header at the Fire Pitch on July 1st at 7 PM against Indy Boyz FC.

Rooks midfielder Amanda Buechel fights with a Cincinnati Sirens FC player for the ball. Credit: Hector Urcia (

Women’s First Team

The Women’s First team fell to Cincinnati Sirens FC at Trinity Sports Park in Cincinnati Saturday evening, losing 3-0. 

The Rooks’ trip to Cincinnati was the farthest away in Edgewater Castle FC’s history. Leaving at 10:30 AM from the Fire Pitch, they took a long drive to get to their destination.

Rooks goalie Juliana Joaquin prepares to try and block a Sirens player’s shot. Credit: Hector Urcia (

The Rooks tried to bring the fight to the home team, but consistently pressing offensive play helped the Sirens control the game early.

At 8’, the Sirens pushed the ball up midfield. Once in an open position, a Sirens midfielder launched a cross up to a Sirens player in Rooks territory. She then passed the ball up past several Rooks defenders to a Sirens striker close to goal, who launched the ball right of Rooks goalie Juliana Joaquin inches away from Joaquin’s left foot.

Pressing offense continued to help the Sirens minutes later. After repelling a Rooks’ offensive press, two Sirens players passed the ball up off of each other to a lone Sirens striker. Undefended, the striker rushed the Rooks’ goal and was prepared to strike until Joaquin fouled her before she struck. Getting up from the tackle, the striker scored a penalty kick against the Rooks at 13’ for the 2-0 lead; the kick was sent flying to the left past Joaquin, who went the other way of the goal. 

Rooksgoalie Juliana Joaquin trips up a Sirens striker in the Rooks' box. Credit: Hector Urcia (

The Sirens set the pace of the game for the rest of the first half. Joaquin went on to protect multiple balls from scoring to keep the Rooks in the game, but the Rooks’ offense was not able to capitalize on their scoring opportunities; whenever the Rooks had the ball, turnovers were abundant as the Sirens won crucial clashes in the midfield.

The dominating play of the Sirens continued into the second half. The Sirens continued to keep the ball in the Rooks’ part of the field, and their understanding of the Rooks’ offensive playbook was apparent as they continued to cancel the Rooks’ offensive movements whenever they tried to press.

Rooks defender Amanda Clark readies herself to recover the ball from a Sirens player. Credit: Hector Urcia (

The Sirens landed one final strike at 81’ to secure the 3-0 win. A Sirens player from the midfield shot a long cross into Edgewater territory where the previously scoring striker was waiting. With only 1 Rooks player guarding her, defender Amanda Clark, the Sirens striker rushed past her to get close to the net. Running horizontally to the left, she ran past the Rook's goalie, leaving the net unguarded for her powerful kick into the left corner. 

The Women’s First Team now looks to move on from this tough loss as they prepare for their game in the Illinois State Cup Semi-Final against DeKalb County United in DeKalb this Thursday at 8 PM.

You can also watch the Women’s First Team at the Rooks Double Header at the Fire Pitch on July 1st at 3:30 PM against Chicago Rush Soccer Club.

The Men’s NSL Team lines up for a picture after their game. Credit: Jose Landa

Men’s NSL Team

The Men’s NSL Team beat Chicago City Soccer Club in dominating fashion Sunday afternoon at Wilson Field 6-1,  their highest scoring game yet this season.

As the players awaited the start of the game, the sky opened up as rain poured down on the Rooks. Undeterred by the wet weather, though, the Rooks continued to get ready for their battle after initially rushing for cover under nearby trees.

The Men’s NSL Team warms up in the rain before the game. Credit: Gareth Mullins

“We really are the strength against the storm,” joked head coach Jose Landa as he looked on to his players from cover.

Rooks player Christian Diaz (center) and his teammates push forwards towards Chicago City’s half. Credit: Gareth Mullins

Within the first 10 minutes, Rooks striker David Luis scored a brace; at 4’, rushing play from midfielder Christian Diaz allowed for him to land a cross to Luis, who launched the ball into the net past its keeper’s reach. Shortly after at 10’, Diaz pushed forward yet again, giving another ball opportunity for Luis to score another goal. Diaz’s impressive performance in the shifts would later earn him Man of the Match. 

Rooks striker David Luis stands ready after his brace. Credit: Gareth Mullins

Luis was very happy with his goals going onto the bench.

“Finally bro! I had a little [scoring] drought [the last few games],” Luis gleamed.

City fought back shortly after to try and secure stable footing on the field. At 13’, a quick turnover of the ball allowed City to catch the Rooks by surprise, and they managed to shoot a goal just past the reach of Rooks goalie Mason Meents.

The Rooks soon regained the ball and the momentum of the game thanks to the efforts of Rooks defender Carlos Soto only a minute later. Soto, who was already having a solid game defensively, managed to score by sending the ball sailing from the midfield in a long shot kick to the left corner of City’s net at 14’ for the 3-1 lead.

All smiles, Soto pointed back to Edgewater Castle FC’s VEO camera when walking back to the bench to catch a breath.

“Hey, that camera’s working right? Good,” Soto chuckled. “I saw [the kick] all in slow motion. I really surprised myself!

After the first three goals, City looked to be passive in their play; when contesting the ball, they didn’t have the energy needed to slow the Rooks down. Pushes from Justin Timm and Ronny Rivera kept the Rooks having the ball and keeping them in City territory.

Rooks players and Rooks goalie Mason Meents prepare to block a Chicago City corner kick. Credit: Gareth Mullins

The Rooks came out roaring when the second half began. Andrei Niatovic, a senior in high school and one of the Rooks’ younger players, managed to zoom past defenders in the first minute, beating defenders with his speed in a breakaway and scoring at 46’. After multiple opportunities in the second half of the first Niatovic was happy to land the goal to set the second half’s tone. 

Xander Bron, one of the Rooks’ other young talents, also had a great game in the second. Working the midfield and the back with class, he continuously provided solid passes to the Rooks front line to keep City from scoring and to keep the ball away from Rooks territory. Bron’s passing and Rivera’s continued winning of battles in the midfield helped the Rooks maintain the energized pace they were looking for.

At 61’, following a collective team effort to get the ball in front of City’s goal, Andrew Hicks managed to land another goal in with a powerful kick close to the net that City’s goalie couldn’t get to in time. 

The Rooks ended the game on a memorable high note. Prior to the game’s start, it was announced that Rooks player Ryan Choi was to leave Edgewater Castle FC for college. At 89’, Choi managed to secure the ball and run past City’s defensive line in a flash; beating his opponents in speed, he sent the ball soaring into the net to give himself a proper send off.

Rooks players hoist Ryan Choi up in celebration. Credit: Jose Landa

As players were celebrating their win and Choi’s performance, Edgewater Castle FC Co-Founder and General Manager Andrew Swanson presented Choi with an honorary ECFC scarf. Surrounding Choi in celebration, the Rooks hoisted him up and cheered.

“Once a Rook, always a Rook,” head coach Landa proclaimed.

Ryan has been a great team member and friend to many here at ECFC. He will be missed, and everyone at ECFC wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.

The Men’s NSL Team looks to keep their winning energy up as they prepare for their next game against Juanacatlan FC Gorillas at Wilson Turf Field July 9th at noon.

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