It was just a few years ago that the upstart Bodine Ambassadors were able to stay in a game of this magnitude. That was not to be in this affair as the Northeast Vikings broke the game open on Wednesday, September 13 with the only score of the first half on a shot by Juan Arroyo off a crisp assist from Alejandro Giraldo.
The game was quickly broken open in the early part of the second half with Northeast piling the goal scoring on, punctuated by crisp and solid fundamentals throughout the squad. Calls of “make your run,” “go wide,” “get the ball to the weak side,” “reverse it,” “win the header,” “trap,” “shield” and “drop” were heard from the experienced and always solid coaching staff of the Vikings.
NE is led by head coach Kraig Feldman, in his fifth year, and most ably assisted by his own father, long time (ten years) former head coach of these same Vikings. The combination of the two Feldmans has yielded three consecutive Public League Championships.
Two seasons ago NE pulled off what is probably the biggest victory in about 70 years with a city championship win over favored Roman Catholic, and almost did the same against highly regarded Archbishop Wood, taking a 2-0 lead at one point in that game in 2014 before finally succumbing to the relentless attacks of their Viking counterparts from the Philadelphia Catholic League.
The Feldmans are attempting to resurrect the glory years of the greatest Public League dynasty in Philadelphia high school sports history when the Vikings of NE, then located at 8th and Lehigh as an all boys school, held forth for over 15 years with many undefeated seasons and numerous titles. Many great players of that era were considered some of the best players in the US including the legendary Walter Bahr, who scored the only goal in the defeat of highly favored Great Britain in the 1952 World Cup.
With a powerful squad that can score from many different angles and by numerous players, they may be at the beginning of a special run.
Newcomer freshman from Liberia, Sidiki Fofana, scored three times in the second half at the 32, 23 and 18 minute marks. He has great size at about 6’1” and 180+ lbs. His second goal, a well placed head, was a beauty and was from a head pass and throw in previous to that. The assist was from Adrian Conde. Goal number three by Fofana was also from his head off a corner. For some reason, the Ambassadors left him open without a mark right in front of the goal.
NE is very solid up the middle, which is where the Feldmans always build their teams. Besides Fofana, senior mid fielder Frankie Silva, senior sweeper Mohamed Khalafala and senior second year starter GK Sebastian Gimeno form the base of this team. Thirteen seniors, with twelve returners, and twenty-two players on the roster should be enough to carry this quality squad deep into the district 12 playoffs, and possibly the states.
The Ambassadors of Bodine were a game challenger, but just did not have the firepower to stay with the relentless onslaught of the Vikings. Bodine played without top striker Chris Hellstrom, who was in DNP status due to an infraction of team rules. Top players are Mamoudou Ba, Remy Milroy, Ahmed Sajid Jake McCrone and Ptah Raet Craig.
Also scoring for NE was Christian Cardenas who beat the sweeper and broke through to win a one-on-one battle with the Ambassador GK. The final score was 5-0 and it ended with the remnants of Hurricane Irma misting across the pitch.
Photo Credit: Jack Kapp