‘Lik’ soccer teams compete at USAFE tourney

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The Incirlik men's and women's soccer teams took to the pitch recently when they competed in the 2006 U.S. Air Forces in Europe Soccer Tournament Oct. 16 to 20.

The five-day tourney, which was hosted at Sembach Air Base, Germany, welcomed 11 teams from five different bases where the teams played in a round robin style tournament to determine the best of the best.

The Incirlik women's team got off to a shaky start but finished very strong in the tournament and after beating Spangdahlam 4-0 Oct. 18, the women had to face them again the next day in the semi-finals in a hard-fought battle, which they lost 2-0.

"It's never easy playing the same team in back-to-back games," said Jodi Whitener, Incirlik Women's Soccer Team midfielder. "Spangdahlem came out and played us tough, but the rain, mud and overall field conditions didn't allow us to play our game."

Even though the women's team suffered heartbreaking defeat to Spangdahlem, they bounced back in the next game against Aviano and managed to finish third in the tournament.

"I'm just happy we didn't let the upsetting loss to Spang keep us from coming back the next day and taking home third place," Whitener added.

The Incirlik men's team didn't have as much success as the ladies but they played hard and kept their heads held high.

"I wish we could have been more successful but I think we played hard and represented Incirlik the best we could," said Johnny Jaworek, Incirlik Men's Soccer Team coach and captain. "With a little bit of luck we could have had a chance for top spot however; we were unable to avoid injuries that were detrimental to the team. In addition, we were unable to take some of our best players due to mission requirements. Overall, I'm pleased with our player's performance and I would like to thank all of them for their hard work."

The men finished 1-3-1, and Jaworek and Chris Bidwell were selected to the USAFE all-star soccer team, while the women finished 4-2, and Amber Kitto and Tally Kosinski were named to the women's all-star team.

"It felt great to be selected to the all-star team, but I would have rather done better in the tournament," said Amber Kitto, Incirlik Women's Soccer Team stopper. "The girls played so hard but we just came up a little short at the end."

"I'm flattered to be selected, although, I would prefer winning a medal," said Jaworek. "Most of the credit should go to my teammates who made me look good."