By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The opening week of TSSAA Soccer brought the two teams of the Flag City together on the pitch of Rosemark.
The host Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels took on the visiting Millington Trojans last Thursday. The Trojans were seeking redemption and used an early rally of scoring three goals in the first half to prevail 5-1 over the Rebels.
“Looks like we’ve still got a lot of work to do and a lot of things to improve on,” Millington Head Coach William Carter said. “We’ve seem to be passing the ball better this year and they’re playing better as a team this year.
“We had that one goal loss to them last year and we pretty much came in here today and pitched a shutout,” he added. “They got that one goal on the PK.”
The Trojans jumped ahead within less than three minutes when Colby Goode attacked from the wing and launched a shot into the net making the score 1-0.
About 14 minutes later, Trojan Antonio Roddy blasted an attempt that hit the post and bounced off the TRA goalie’s back foot going across the goal line. Millington was ahead 2-0 at the 23:29 mark of the first half.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half the Trojans received their second goal from Goode making the halftime tally 3-0.
Millington kept the pressure on in the second half using the defense of players like Matt Thomas, Alexander Abraham and goalie Geoffrey Warburg. Offensively the Trojans added an insurance goal courtesy of Osa Asemota making the score 4-0.
The Rebels go their penalty-kick goal at the 18:40 mark of the second half making the tally 4-1. Millington scored the final point of the evening with less than 10 seconds left when Douglas Membreno connected.
The defeat dropped TRA to 0-2 on the young season. New Head Coach Nate Van Kampen acknowledged he’s learning on the job as his squad learns game to game.
“We have taken positives from taking stuff we needed to work on from the first game,” Van Kampen said. “We came out today and performed better on those. There’s lots of rooms to improve on the mental aspects of it.
“I’m relatively new to the coaching scene around here,” he continued. “I have a lot of good people helping me. I’ve got some older seniors on the team. I’m a little heavy on seniors and I have some younger guys working in here. I’ve got a good mix of experience. We’re out here trying to improve out here.”
Van Kampen, 23, is leaning on his seniors and experienced soccer minds like his sister and current Freed-Hardeman player Avis.
“As a young coach, I’m trying to learn a general soccer sense — spacing and using every inch of a very big field,” Nate said. “And just overcoming the large temptation in any soccer game of everybody running toward the ball.”
The 2018 Trojan staff has a new look around Carter in his second year ahead of the program with assistants Rosemary Boswell and Craig Malloy.
“The other assistant coach is the incoming interim coach Craig Malloy,” Carter noted. “He’s a Navy officer and been around soccer for more than 30 years. He’ll take over the team when I go off for a year for my military duties.
“I’m loving the culture around this team,” he continued. “We don’t seem to have any attitudes. Everyone is operating at more of a team concept. We’re doing a really good job of passing the ball and distributing the ball. And everyone seems to be happy as long as they’re getting touches. And I’m happy about that.”
Carter said this year’s Trojans are getting an addition boost in cohesion from the feeder team, the Millington Stallions.
“Coach (James) Warberg at the middle school is doing a great job of developing these players,” Carter concluded. “We kept nine freshmen on the team this year. That’s a testament to what he’s doing at the middle school down there.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.