2005-06 Championship Team!
Manager - Ed Romero
Goalkeepers - Carlos Hernandez
Defenders - Pedro Romero, Joe Mancuso, Yancarlo Rosa, Danny Garcia, Alex Jonassen
Midfielders - Gerard Fahey, Patricio Acosta, Jorge Monsalve, Franky Figueroa, Christian Lopez, Tom White, Jaime Reixach
Forwards - Sebastian Acosta, Jean Berr, Nick Jonassen, Patria Prakasa, Christian Tapia.
Accomplishments - First place finish in group, Best division record out of 12 teams, Quarter-Finals in D'Arpino State Cup
Greatest victory - 6-1 blowout victory over Shamrock.
Worst loss - 2-0 forfeit loss for forgetting to bring nets.
Most dramatic win - 3-2 come from behind win over CD Iberia Metro (now known as NY Galicia) in the last game of the season to become champions.
MVP - Sebastian Acosta for scoring 20 goals in the season and featured in online mag www.firsttouchonline.com for scoring hat tricks in 3 consecutive games.
In the summer of 2005 everything was in place for Sporting Astoria Soccer Club to join the best adult amateur soccer league in the northeastern Unites States, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. For the last year the club played in a very competitive 8v8 soccer league made up of local clubs from Astoria. The best known being NY Salamina. After two successful campaigns in the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005 were Sporting finished runners-up both times, the club had everything it needed to make a successful transition to the CSL. The club had managed to assembly a cast of young motivated and talented players that had an insatiable craving for victory. By the time the schedule was handed out by the league, everyone knew the club was going to have a great season.
Sporting were predominantly a Latin American team. This automatically gave the team an edge since most of the teams in the league were European or American based. However, this was a new frontier for some of players. Many did not play 11v11 for some time and getting back into the complexity of the game surely posed an issue. This was also something new for manager Ed Romero who for the first time in 2 years returned to managing an 11v11 side. All these issues are what probably led to the very slow start for Sporting. In their first 3 games Sporting managed just 1 point out of 9. Their first loss was at their home field of LIC HS where they felt confident playing at since had been playing in the that field for the past year. Their second loss was even more embarrassing. They lost on a forfeit for not having a set of goal nets. Their only point came in an away game at Randall's Island were they got their first glance at the untalented referees that still plague the league today.
Although this slow start seemed inexplicable, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before things changed. And they did. The turning point came in week 4 when Sporting narrowly ran away with a 1-0 victory. From then on Sporting never looked back. They won their next 3 games and only tied one. to end their 2005 portion of the season on a positive note. They even managed to go win their 2 D'Arpino State Cup matches. The whole team had smiles especially when the team's forward Sebastian Acosta was featured in online mag www.FirstTouchOnline.com for scoring a hat trick in 3 consecutive games. Heading into their winter break the team was playing so well that everyone around the club began believing in a trophy.
In the second half of the season, some 3 months later, Sporting continued where they left off. They played as if they never took a break. They managed to go undefeated in 2006 with 6 wins and 1 draw. Their only loss came in the D'arpino State Cup. They exited the competition in the quarter finals. Although Sporting put on quite a run it was a very close race with the team in second place. Sporting still had to get a victory in their last match to crown themselves champions. That championship match played out like it should have. It had plenty of drama, suspense, and last minute heroics. Sporting were 1 down then 2-1 down before mounting a comeback in the final minutes to take the improbable victory. The last goal was celebrated with screams that still resound in the heads of everyone that was there. After a 2 year drought, Sporting were champions again.
However the excitement and joy that the team expected to experience after their last game was denied when the league failed to take proper action against a team looking to win unethically. The runners up of the group managed to get a replay on a match they had lost on a forfeit due to a no show some 3 weeks after the fact in hopes of gaining 3 points and moving to first place to deny Sporting of their deserved trophy. You see Sporting had a 2 goal edge on goal difference. Apparently this was too much for the sore losers to bear. With the help of the league these cheats were given a green light to replay that forfeit loss. To avoid the possibility of having to tell his players they aren't champions of their division, Ed Romero agreed to have 2 goals taken away from one of their matches to level the other team in the standings and thus share the glory with other team. This drama was finally over in August of 2006 right before the start of the upcoming season. Sporting were presented their trophy at the CSL Annual General Meeting that summer. The experience was bitter sweet. With the upcoming season approaching, it wasn't until the end of 2006 that the club was able to celebrate their accomplishment.
Although this unfortunate events put a damper on the celebration it did not erase what this team accomplished in their rookie season. They never lost after week 4 of the season. They finished with top offense and defense. They even managed to make a good run at the D'Arpino State Cup. This team had no college players nor semi pro players. No one got paid. This team was 100% amateur. It was a team that for the past year were playing 8v8 soccer. But what the team possessed that every opponent envied was that each player played for love of the team. Each played with heart, giving all in every match. And it was all put properly together by their manager Ed Romero who never stopped believing in his team and took them to the promise land at the end of the 2005-2006 Cosmopolitan Soccer League Metro 2 season.