The Dorchester Force won the U12 Division 1 Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC), the state championship for all the town travel soccer teams in Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon. During the tournament they scored the most goals, conceded the fewest, and won the championship game against Weymouth 6-0.
This was proceeded by a season in which the team dominated league play, and won their league championship with playoff wins against perennial powerhouses Natick and Newton.
“As you can imaging we’re very proud of them,” said Coach Dan Murray. “Soccer has grown tremendously in popularity and there are currently hundreds of U12 soccer teams in the state, but only a small fraction are playing at the division 1 level. Just getting to D1 MTOC is a real achievement. To win the state championship in such dominate fashion is very rare indeed.
“This very diverse inner city soccer team is comprised of boys with parentage from Cape Verde, Ireland, Haiti, Colombia, Liberia, Peru, China and the US. A venerable cornucopia of talent and ethnicity, not a melting pot as no two players are alike,” Murray added. “They’ve been brought together by their love of soccer and have learned to leverage each other’s strengths and differences to play as a true team.”
Murray — also a coach— credits head coach Phil Keane for teaching the youngsters how to play the game ‘right’ since they were 8 years old.
“The best way for me to describe it would be ‘sublime ferocity’,” Murray explained in an email. “An intelligent game of possession, passing, and precision combined with superior speed and toughness. Its’ a rarity of teams this age and it makes them almost unbeatable.
“The boys have left a very positive impression not just on their own community but also those in rival towns as well. Vanquished foes in Newton, Natick, and Arlington have expressed praise and sent notes encouragement leading into this state championship tournament. Gestures like these just don’t happen that often in soccer, and it speaks volumes about these Dorchester kids character.”
Through the course of their season, every member of the team— including both goalies— scored.
Her4e are some other highlights of the MTOC tourney, as recounted by Dan Murray:
-Soree (Supra) Kaba who is the most skilled player on the team, dominated at striker and gave defenses fits with his ability to shoot from any angle with power and accuracy.
-Sebastain Suarez masterfully transitioned the ball from fullback to midfield, creating multiple scoring opportunities and confusing opposing defenders.
-Eben (Ebend-it) Butler’s “five minutes of fury” at striker resulted in multiple goals by surprising opponents with his speed and powerful strikes.
-Clatyon Rodrigues who is also an all-state wrestler used his physicality to dominate the left mid-field and dig balls out of the corners.
-Ollie Culliton had two shut outs at keeper, but most impressive was his calm and accurate offensive distribution of the ball up field.
-Radley Theolien, our biggest and most physical player, proved an intimidating force at stopper and offensively at striker.
-Finn (The Finisher) O’Brien scored, and assisted with multiple surgically accurate corner kicks into the box and distribution of the ball at midfield.
-Owen Smyth provided calm and clever “Rondo-like” ball distribution at center mid.
-Andrew Wong and Eric Barros contributed off the bench with speedy runs up the center and explosive goals of their own.
The standout performers from this weekend were Eddy Fernandez and Owen Murray who dominated the defense with iron curtain like stops, and momentum shifting charges up field. Eddy put on a clinic on how to deliver headers with power and accuracy, and Owen overwhelmed opponents his speed and ferocious attacking style.