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Strikers Teams Complete Fun and Successful Hot Shots Tournament
The Missoula Strikers had a great weekend at the annual Hot Shots Tournament in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho this past weekend. Strikers sent nine teams to the tournament, with the U11 girls, U13 girls, U14 girls, U11 boys, U12 boys and U18 boys each advancing to the championship game of its division. All three boys teams ended up winning the tournament. The U11 boys beat Kelowna, British Columbia in the championship by a score of 4-2, the U12 boys rallied from a 1-3 deficit against the Coeur d’Alene Sting to tie the game 3-3 and ultimately win 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout, and the U18 boys beat a very competitive Sting team 2-1. (Read more about the U18 boys game below.)
Congratulations to all of the teams! It was a fun and competitive tournament, and you represented Missoula superbly!
Strikers U18 Boys Win Hot Shots Tournament in Coeur d'Alene
The Missoula Strikers Black 18 Boys under coach Geoff Birnbaum were crowned champions of the Hot Shots Invitational Tournament this past weekend when the beat the hosts, the U18 Coeur d’Alene Sting 2-1 in a physical and competitive final.
In their three previous tournament games, Strikers had scored an amazing 16 goals, but the Sting had beaten Birnbaum’s team in Las Vegas in March in a game in which the Strikers failed to score for the only time this season.
Sting tried to drive long balls in the air, attempting to get in behind the Missoula defense. But, anchored by Tristan Baker and Jon Taylor in the center back positions, the Strikers defense held strong. Meanwhile the Strikers defensive center midfielders, Garrett Leach, Steen Shober and Logan Drapes denied the Sting any possession through the middle. With outside backs attacking and the attacking players able to play on the ground, the Strikers found space to play and speed to get in behind the Sting defenders. The result was an early lead as Reid Birgenheier got in behind to score a 1-on-1 with the Sting keeper in the 16th minute.
The Strikers defense was bullet proof until the 53rd minute, when a ball got loose in the box and a composed Sting player beat a Strikers defender to slot in the tying goal.
Not wanting a shootout, the Strikers pressed forward and in the 70th minute, Birgenheier ran past a Sting defender, who knocking him down from behind to give Strikers a penalty kick. Erik Diewert calmly stepped up and buried what would be the winning goal.
“This was ‘big boy’ soccer with a great deal of physical play,” said coach Birnbaum. These are the games we seek in order to improve our play and our players. Strikers were honored to have such a great opponent in the final and our coaches were pleased to coach against a talented coaching staff on the Sting sidelines.”
“To win at this level, the team had to defend as a team, communicate, and worry about their play and not whatever a referee does. All that came together for this excellent win.”
Key to the victory, says Birnbaum, was goalkeeper Chaucer Larson. “He made the one big save we needed to secure the win, and throughout the game the players and coaches could all hear him organizing the defense even when we had the ball.”
Soccer Community and Friends Kick Off Spring Season While Having a Ball
What do you get when you combine a bunch of great auction items, DJ Coma mixing jams and past and current soccer players, coaches, parents and friends, all under one roof? When the Missoula soccer community is eagerly anticipating the kickoff of the spring soccer season, you get the highly successful, incredibly fun, first annual Soccer Ball.
More than 200 people gathered at the Missoula Children’s Theater Friday evening to mingle, eat, drink and dance, all for the benefit of Strikers and its competitive teams. Soccer czar Phil Baker emceed and ran the live auction, former player and current goalkeeper coach Colin Marshall (aka “DJ Coma”) played the tunes, and the Strikers coaching staff poured drinks at the bar.
And the many guests, including past players, board members, parents and, of course, our Strikers players, kept the mood festive and loud.
“I’m truly pleased with the great turnout and support of Missoula Strikers’ first annual Soccer Ball,” said club director Heidi McDonald.
Fundraising committee chair Karen Rheinhardt was happy with the enthusiasm she saw at the event. “There were a couple of hiccups, and we learned a lot about how to organize next year’s Soccer Ball,” said Rheinhardt, “but the turnout was great, and we are really creating some fundraising momentum that the club hasn’t seen for quite a while.”
Strikers Holds First "MLS Night" at Elbow Room
This past Sunday, Strikers and the Elbow Room hosted the first "MLS Night" of the 2013 season. An excited crowd turned out to watch the match between the Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls on the Elbow Room's big screen TVs. It was a great gathering of friends, teammates and soccer fans to watch a fantastic and exciting soccer match! Don't miss the next Strikers/Elbow Room MLS Night on May 19th when the LA Galaxy pay visit to the Red Bull Arena to face off with New York.
Thanks to Draught Works and All the People that Made April 2nd's Chug for Charity Night a Success!
Strikers wishes to extend a special thank-you to Paul Marshall, the Draught Works staff and all of the current and former Strikers players, coaches, parents and board members who helped make last Tuesday's Chug for Charity event a tremendous success. We had a great time, stirred up interest in the club ahead of the upcoming spring soccer season and reconnected with some old friends, and all for the benefit of Strikers! Thanks again!
Strikers Unveils the New Club Logo
Our members voted, and the results were clear: Strikers needed to update its logo. Well it’s finally ready, and we couldn’t be more excited to unveil the new club shield:
The Strikers lion represented the club from the club’s inception until the turn of the 21st Century. The Strikers crest logo has been the symbol of the club for almost 15 years. Our membership vote indicated that we needed both the lion and a crest – and that we really needed a more modern look. Read below to find out more about the results of the membership logo vote and the decision to combine the Strikers lion and crest.
Some Strikers players have had a sneak peak of the new logo (on the condition of strict silence), but today marks the public unveiling of the new Strikers crest. The sharper, bolder mark speaks to the direction the club is heading while still preserving our successful tradition of competition and player development.
Strikers’ new logo will take a couple of different forms: The three-color shield above will be our standard logo, appearing on team uniforms beginning next year and on some Strikers gear available for purchase this spring. The alternate mark on the right will appear on some Strikers gear as well. We will also use, from time to time, a black and white version of the shield logo.
The Voting Results
As the above graph indicates, the vast majority of those members who responded to the survey wanted to bring back the lion symbol or keep Strikers’ current crest logo, with the lion symbol just barely edging out the crest logo in the final voting tally. Furthermore, member comments in the survey showed (1) that people were interested in combining the lion with a form of crest or shield, and (2) that people wanted to see an updated logo look.
After playing around with a couple different modifications of the lion and crest logos, the Strikers board settled on the lion/shield combination designed by local graphic designer Chris Carey.