Alabama FC South GCPL News

5/25/24- Matchday 3- Three first half goals lifts Alabama FC South past Union 10

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama FC South clung to a 3-0 halftime advantage to pick up a 3-2 victory over Union 10 FC Saturday night at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex with a pair of goals and an assist from Renan Diniz and some timely saves from Michalis Jackson to secure another important Gulf Coast Premier League victory.

The first chances of the match went to Union 10 as two shots in quick succession were saved by Jackson who restarted the play and sparked the first goal. Diniz, who made his first start for Alabama FC South, wasted no time springing free on a lofted through ball from Logan Roach mere seconds after the double save before heading the ball over his defender and slotting the opening goal past the goalkeeper in the fifth minute. “I saw a clear chance of making a run, Diniz said. “It was a great pass from Logan from the backline.” Roach earned his second assist on the season. 

Diniz got on the helping end in the 27th minute when he delivered another lofted through ball to Arly Ramirez. The Montgomery native chipped the ball over the keeper and battled past his marker to slot home his first goal for Alabama FC South and make it 2-0. 

Assistant Coach Gabi de Queiroz said the dynamic attack and sharp passing reflected a key part of the Alabama FC South makeup. “As we started this team and were bringing the boys into the team, I knew a lot of them from playing against them or coaching them. With [Head Coach] Mateo [Peral] I knew we can definitely create a team with the DNA that can keep the ball on the ground and create passes and line of passes to get out of pressure. Everything we do in practice we have the mentality and methodology and implement it.”

Just 30 seconds after the restart, Gabriel Dias drew a foul and Hamza Sadiq saw and opportunity with Diniz unmarked and in a threatening position to the Union 10 backline. Sadiq played it quick and Diniz danced around the keeper to make it 3-0 for the eventual match winning goal. “To be honest, [at first] I was kind of mad with [Sadiq], I was like ‘yeah I’m taking the ball’ but when i saw him stopping it and heard the referee say ‘play it’ I just had to position my body to be onside and he played me a perfect ball,” Diniz said. “I just had to touch it around the keeper and go to my teammates. I’m very happy with the win.”

Following the quickly taken free kick and the ensuing discussion, the first half settled down into the locker room. After the interval, Henry McMurphy’s tough far post finish for Union 10 in the 60th minute brought the game back into play for the visitors from Daphne, Ala. and just moments later, a penalty was awarded to Union 10 and was converted by Josh Bynoe to make it 3-2 and call a sudden change and a regrouping huddle from Alabama FC South. 

de Queiroz said the composure of the guys stuck out to him. “It’s normal for a team to drop the intensity for a bit during the game, especially if you’re up 3-0. But the 10 minutes that we didn’t play, it was nothing compared to the rest of the game. The boys kept their composure and still had a few chances to finish the game. After that, everything was open and they did not get close to a goal. The defense was really good on the first and second ball.”

After some intense play, the biggest chance for the equalizer came off a long free kick from midfield in the 94th minute but Jackson made the match saving catch off the header to preserve the lead. 

Diniz was named the man of the match after the contest, but is more focused on and excited about the three points. “I’m pretty happy with the goals and the assist of course, but the most important part is the three points.” 

Alabama FC South remains unbeaten and will travel to Panama City Beach, Fla. June 1 to take on top of the table Florida Roots. The Roots have won all three matches they have played and hold a two point lead over Alabama FC South in the GCPL East Table. 

Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. Saturday evening at the Publix Sports Park.

5/18/24 – Matchday 2 – Alabama FC South rolls past AFC Mobile in storm-shortened home debut
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama FC South picked up a rain-shortened 3-0 victory over AFC Mobile Saturday in the home opener with a dominant performance to earn its first win in the Gulf Coast Premier League Saturday night at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex. The performance proved the preseason and one week in adjustments worthwhile and entertained the fans in attendance for the home debut. 

“We’ve been working for a while now to put up a performance like we did in the first half today. Today it showed once the guys stepped foot on the field and we were able to move the ball and create chance after chance until we were finally able to break through and continue until we scored a few more after that.”

Alabama FC South controlled possession throughout the 45 minute match and held AFC Mobile to one chance that Michalis Jackson thwarted in the eighth minute with a kickstop on a one-on-one chance as the attacker attempted to dribble around him. “It was huge,” Head Coach Mateo Peral said. “It came right off a scoring chance we created and they caught us on the counter attack and next thing you know it’s a one-on-one. Michalis has to step and and he knows his role and he was able to stay calm and make the kick save and keep us in the game by maintaining the 0-0 score and we were able to continue to play and utilize the mistake we made and made sure we were better organized and were able to keep it in their half and prevent counter attacks.”

The Boys in Red struck first in the 17th minute when Glenn Waters drove a free kick to Logan Roach who headed home the opening goal. Roach earned his second goal contribution of the season after assisting the goal against Pensacola. Waters, the midfielder who assisted the opening goal was integral to the offensive success, linking the defense and the offense in a masterful way. “In the middle of the park you need to keep control of the ball to control the game,” Waters said after the match. “That’s what I like to do to keep nothing coming through and keep the forwards moving on and set them up where they can score.” The Irish midfielder was pleased with the adjustments ALFC made coming into the second match of the season. “We spoke after we came back from Pensacola and worked on a few things in training that we saw tonight and everything we worked on came out. We had a very, very good first half with three goals.”

Chances kept flowing for Alabama FC South and the hosts were rewarded again in the 42nd minute as Higor França struck a wormburner from 30 yards out to the bottom left corner to double the lead. França would go on later to be named the Man of the Match with his defensive contributions being a key factor in winning the ball back and getting back on the attacking foot. 

Just two minutes later, after a series of Mobile throws, Neil Kerr cleared a pass well downfield to Gabriel Dias who found Nate Grant making a run down the right center channel. Grant, who had to enter in the 10th minute as an injury substitute, dribbled around a defender who closed the space back in and the goalkeeper before slotting home a tight angle shot to make it 3-0. 

Possession, Peral felt, was the key to the victory Saturday night. ““The more you have the ball, the more chances you have to score and win the game so we were able to keep the ball and move it from side to side to create space and be able to find out players and to get behind them. If you have the ball, you control the game, you dictate what the other team does. Our boys were able to keep the ball and play comfortably, having the ball and being able to set up how they wanted to.”

As halftime hit, lightning struck within the 10 mile radius of the pitch and the match was halted and could not be resumed. By rule, the match became official after having completed the first half of play, sealing the first win in an unorthodox fashion.

“The work that the coaching staff has been doing on the field has been amazing. Working not just with the attacking players to score but the center mids to set up the offensive players and the defenders to move the ball. We’ve had lots of conversations over the past few weeks about how we need everybody to step in and provide something to help us win. If it’s a different goal scorer or the same guy putting the ball in the back of the net, they don’t care. They want to get the results and put goals away. Hopefully those that came out today were happy with what they saw and they’ll come back next Saturday and we hope to do it all over again.”

Alabama FC South moves to 1-0-1 on the season and has four points through its first two matches, just two points behind Florida Roots who occupy the top spot. 

The Boys in Red return to the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex Saturday when they take on Union 10 FC at 7:15 p.m.

5/11/2024 – Matchday 1- Alabama FC South earns road draw in inaugural GCPL match
PENSACOLA, Fla. – An 80th minute equalizer from Gabriel Dias proved to be enough for Alabama FC South to settle a 1-1 draw against Pensacola Bay United FC to take a road point in the inaugural Gulf Coast Premier League match Saturday afternoon at Escambia County Stadium at the Ashton Brosnaham Soccer Complex. 

“To drive here and play a team that has already been playing in this league we knew was going to be a challenge,” Head Coach Mateo Peral said.  However, the way we played, the way we created scoring opportunities and the way we managed the ball, especially in the second half feels like we should be going home with more than a 1-1 draw. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many chances you create, you might go back with one goal and that was the case for us.” 

The Boys in Red held possession for a while in the attacking half, but a 17th minute counter attack was cashed in off a third touch finish from a back post cross by the hosts to take a 1-0 lead. Despite the deficit, the approach remained unchanged from Alabama FC South. There were a handful of decent looks to equalize in the first half, but the stingy defense of Pensacola Bay United was not broken going into the interval. 

Alabama FC South took the pitch after halftime with a new resolve and played a much sharper second 45. In the 58th minute, a scramble in the penalty area initially garnered a penalty signal in favor of AFC from the referee, but after conferring with his assistant, the penalty was overturned. However, Alabama FC South kept battling.

In the 76th minute, Glenn Waters’s free kick from the right side of the top of the box about 30 yards out narrowly missed hitting the outside netting. 

Eventually after enough knocking, the door was opened as captain Logan Roach dribbled into the middle and delivered a perfectly weighted through ball to Dias who muscled past the PCBU centerback and slotted the ball home past the charging keeper for the first goal in AFC Gulf Coast Premier League history. 

Pablo Moreno helped hold the lead with two dazzling slide tackles on the edge of the defensive penalty area in the 89th minute to thwart a Pensacola Bay counterattack and let the defense recover. 

“We were able to maintain the ball, to control it, to possess it by playing to feet, swinging it from side-to-side to stretch out defenders and have more opportunities inside the box. The more we controlled the ball, the more we knew we were going to get closer to scoring. However, despite multiple scoring chances we were not able to put the ball in the back of the net to win the game,” Peral said. 

“The coaching staff and I are very happy and excited with the effort and the attitude of the guys and how they showed up to play. You can work on tactics, you can work on individual technique but you cannot work on a players demeanor and attitude when they come to play, and we saw exactly what we wanted from the boys today. We just have to head back to the training ground this week so we can correct a few things and better execute and be ready for the home opener Saturday night.”

Alabama FC South makes its home debut as Gulf Coast Premier League action continues Saturday May 18 at 7:15 at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex at Stadium #1 against AFC Mobile. 

5/10/2024 – Matchday 1 – Opportunity arises on eve of GCPL kickoff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Opportunity. A word that brings optimism as a situation gives you a chance to do something special. A new opportunity is just one day away as Alabama FC South takes the pitch for the first time in the Gulf Coast Premier League Saturday evening in Pensacola, Fla. as the Boys in Red travel to Pensacola Bay United FC for a 5 p.m. kickoff to start the semi-professional journey for a long established soccer club.

Led by Head Coach Mateo Peral, ALFC is ready to take advantage of the opportunity ahead. “We are extremely excited about this opportunity. I think it’s going to be great for our players, our program, for the city of Montgomery. We are very thankful for the support we have received from our sponsors, our staff, our coaches, the players and we’re just counting down the hours.”

The chance comes against a Pensacola Bay United side that started as a branch off from now NPSL side Pensacola FC and is in its second year as the new club at the GCPL level. Pensacola Bay United “They’ve been in this league for a few seasons and had success. They’ve signed some really talented players,” Peral said. “We’re continuing to do our homework to prepare for the match and I think by the time we get there Saturday we’ll have everything we need to face a game and have a positive result.”

With this opportunity comes the chance for a first impression. Peral anticipates his squad will make an immediate impact. “Everybody is going to know we are a very competitive team and organized. We’re going to take every game on the road and home extremely seriously. We want to make sure we’re representing Alabama FC South, Montgomery and the River Region in the best way possible. We want people to know that their investment in this project is not only for the summer but for something bigger for years to come.”

One of the unique things about the Gulf Coast Premier League is the player pool in the league. Players, mostly all playing collegiate soccer throughout the Southeast, join forces with players across all levels of college soccer, including potential rival schools, for a summer competing together. Peral believes that this provides an incredible framework for growth. “As a coach, having the opportunity to work with players with such different and unique backgrounds, it is a great opportunity for me and the rest of the coaching staff. It’s one we will definitely take advantage of. Not only do we get the chance to coach them to work with them but we get the chance to learn and see the game in a different way. Having the chance to work with them and compete with them when the season begins it’s something we’re looking forward to and we do not take for granted. We’re thankful for the opportunity these guys have given us to coach them for the summer.”

One of those players is the Spanish centerback Pablo Moreno who is eager to represent a place he’s called home for four years now. “It’s amazing. I came here four years ago and I was playing here but this is a great opportunity and I already love it. Getting to play with very good players that’s amazing. Playing for the city, that’s an amazing thing. It’s a really good feeling knowing that we’re stepping from zero so it’s a process seeing the team growing and we want to keep going.”

Alabama FC South looks to build upon it’s exhibition performance Sunday afternoon at home that saw the visitors nick a 3-1 win. “We played a very competitive and very well-skilled Columbus team,” Peral said. “It gave us a good look at what we need to prepare for for our first game. I don’t think we did a good job with possession or maintaining. We didn’t do a good job with pressing and creating turnovers to give us opportunities to score, but once we got into a rhythm we were able to settle down and start putting into place the things we’ve been working on for the past few weeks. We’ve spent the past three days working on it and we hope by Saturday we have corrected all those things and we can improve and get a much better result.”

Alabama FC South will compete in the East Division of the Gulf Coast Premier League, playing all five other teams in a home-and-home round robin regular season. The first home match is slated for May 18 at 7:15 p.m. at Stadium 1 at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex against AFC Mobile. Tickets are available here