Extra Fox – A blog by Christopher Taylor

Amanis wins in Footy Japan/YC&AC Charity 6-a-side tournament

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on March 28, 2007

DSC_0101For a team with a poor regular season record this year, expectations were low that this year’s Footy Japan/YC&AC Charity 6-a-side tournament would be anything more than a nice day in the sun and a chance to shoot a few balls. The weather was beautiful and we shot a few balls, but Amanis FC also came away with an unexpected tournament victory.

The excuses are endless for why Amanis FC has not made a better showing in TML 2nd Division, however there were no excuses to be had on Wednesday. We arrived at the YC&AC grounds at 8:30 A.M. ready to play, only to have to wait another hour before most other teams had arrived. Our draw placed us in the same group as BFC, which we knew to be a very strong team, but the other teams were unknown.

Things staDSC_0063rted slow in the group competition when our first opponent turned out to be the parents from a local youth team. Two of the team members were mothers who had clearly had little time on the ball. That game was followed by a challenging game against a young Japanese team. They moved the ball well in typical Japanese style, but lacked aggression and finishing which allowed Amanis to dominate.

Amanis’ third game in group play was against BFC. We had watched two of their earlier games and knew they were going to be a tough team to beat. So, instead of trying to beat them, we decided to fortify our defenses and hope for a draw. It may have been the longest 20 minutes of the day as BFC repeatedly pounded us with attacks, but our determination paid off and the game ended in a tie.

DSC_0040-1The game against BFC guaranteed our second place finish in group play. The game that followed was just for fun, but our opponent, already battered and beaten by two tough matches themselves, barely put up a fight.

Getting through the group play and into the semi-finals wasn’t too surprising, but we were happy to be there. In our last tournament at Oi Futo, we had been placed against some very tough teams and were only able to play for the plate. So, a chance at the cup was quite satisfying and the team was revved up to see how far we could get.

Our first game in the semi-finals was against a team of young U.S. Navy boys, the Yokosuka Seahawks. Both teams came out fighting, but the Seahawks were especially aggressive, eager to win and scored first. Time was winding up in the game and the Seahawks were still up by one point. The ball was going out-of-bounds on the Seahawk’s end of the field and was being shepparded out by a Seahawks player. However, Christopher Taylor was able to edge around the Seahawks defender to tip the ball toward the goal right on the end line. A quick move around the player, one-on-one with the keeper, a quick toe-flick later and the game was tied 1-1. The teams now tied, the whistle blew and the game went straight to the best out of three PKs.

Already down 2-1 after missing the first one, Amanis star PK scorer, Jorge Kuriyama was up. The expectation was definitely that Jorge would put the ball easily past the Seahawk goalie, but after about a 20 yard run up and a flaming kick, the audience was stunned to see the ball deflected by the Seahawks agile keeper. Desperation quickly turned to relief when the referee made a highly disputed call that the Seahawk’s keeper had come off of his line too early. The call was a blessing, but really put the pressure on Jorge for his second shot. After a similar 20 yard run up, Jorge faked another rocket shot, but dinked it over the keeper instead, the game was now 2-2. The game ended 3-2 after two beautiful saves by our stand-in keeper, Tim Daulat, and an effortless goal by Bruno.

DSC_0026After such a hard-fought win, Amanis was quite fired up to face the TML 1st Division, 3rd Place team, Sala FC. In this game and throughout the tournament, the two Amanis defensive players, Cyril and Vladimir, created an almost impenetrable fortress in front of the Amanis goal. Sala is known as a tough team, but this game definitely favored Amanis and without much drama, the game ended with Amanis on top.

Reaching the final game of the cup was completely beyond what anyone would have imagined this day. We were up against the TML 1st Division 1st Place team, YC&AC. Not only that, they were playing on their home ground. However, Amanis was relaxed and ready to play.

DSC_0007The game started fast and aggressively, but soon turned to Amanis’ favor on a cross that was mis-cleared by a YC&AC defender right to the feet of Christopher. A quick shot to the top-right of the goal and Amanis was up 1-0. However, before half-time, YC&AC equalized when a defensive mistake left a YC&AC player open on the left flank where the player sent a rocket past Jorge, who was in the goal.

At half-time, Amanis was at a loss for how we were going to win, but decided to keep the formation as it was. Amanis again took the lead on a beautiful corner kick by Bruno that came straight to Christopher, for an easy deflection and his second goal of the match. YC&AC didn’t back down, but the final nail was placed on the coffin just minutes later. Bruno, bringing the ball up the right, was able to pull in two YC&AC defenders leaving Jonathan open on the left. A beautiful cross followed by a powerful, left-footed volley wizzed past the YC&AC keeper and clenched the game at 3-1. Minutes later it was over and the victory for Amanis.

Victory is sweet and this was a victory that the Amanis team members are unlikely to forget. It was truly an underdog story and an exciting time.

Also see the TML write-up [Tokyo Metropolis League]

Vice Versa: Tokyo Bossa Nova

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on March 12, 2007

I happened upon this band by chance one night soon after coming to Tokyo. Since then, I’ve seen them a couple of times. I’m posting this link now because I always forget the name (some kind of weird mental block). Anyway, if you like Bossa Nova and you’re in Tokyo, they are a nice band to watch: Vice Versa.