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Team sprouts post-season bloom

After a respectable season, the Black Watch team went on a winning streak to take the state title for its age group.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2000

TAMPA -- Not many people favored the Black Watch under-12 boys to dominate post-season play. The team did finish a close third in its league, but lacked the key individual player that many youth soccer teams rely on to win championships.

But not only did the Black Watch Falkirk beat archrival Brandon to win the Region C title in March; it went on to win the President's Cup, the state championship for its age group, in West Palm Beach.

"I can't really single out anyone as a superstar," said second year coach Alan Anderson. "They're all incredible workers. Their attitude is magnificent. This is the finest group I've ever coached."

Anderson said the core of the team has been playing together since they were 9-year-olds. The players live mostly in the Carrollwood, Northdale and New Tampa areas, but some come from as far as Brandon and St. Petersburg. Black Watch teams train at the club's complex near the Yuengling cq brewery off 30th Street, south of the University of South Florida.

The team started off with a 3-0 victory over Pensacola, the northern region champion, on Saturday morning.

"We played ever so well the first game, whole team was marvelous. Got us off to a great start," said Anderson, a London native who later played soccer for USF and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. "That start gave them such confidence."

The afternoon game, against southern region champ West Kendall Hammocks, was much tougher.

"We were down 2-0 against Kendall after 15 minutes," Anderson said. "But they refused to lose, they showed great character."

Collin Brogan scored just before the half on a strike from about 25 yards. In the second half, D.P. Piniella converted a penalty kick to tie the game.

"Then we just couldn't score the winner," Anderson said.

Because Kendall had beaten the other final four team, Megafusion from the Gainesville area, 1-0, the tie meant Black Watch would need to beat Megafusion and score at least two goals to win the title on points.

The Sunday game was scoreless at the half. But 37 seconds into the second period, Anderson said, Kyle Piecora made a pass through to Pablo Gonzalez, who scored. Later, Piecora ran onto a loose ball and shot it in from about 20 yards for the second goal.

"They were ecstatic," Anderson said.

But they still had to hold off Megafusion for about 15 minutes. The opponent got one goal on a penalty kick, but that was all.

"Our defense has really saved us throughout the year," Anderson said. "J.D. Barksdale, Dylan Burns and Matt Miller, along with (goal keeper) Matt Macar, who was so consistent."

Anderson said the boys will take a little break before starting practice again for a Memorial Day weekend tournament in Cocoa Beach.

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