Rossi’s Redemption Beats Concord


Mariel Rossi deVries, staff writer

After an entire game without a score, the Cougars lined up against the Concord Minutemen for penalty kicks to decide the winner of the North Coast Section boys’ soccer semi-final game.

Concord had beaten top ranked Rancho Cotate to reach the semi-final while the Cougars had upended  Montgomery in a shootout to advance.  Neither team had been expected to make it so deep into the playoffs.

The penalty kick format call for each team to send a player up to the line for a dual against the respective goalkeeper.  The kicks continue until one team scores and the other misses.  Through the 1st 4 attempts, both the Cougars and the Minutemen had scored twice.  Campolindo goal keeper junior Kai Weyland made 2 spectacular saves to keep his squad in contention.

In the 5th round Weyland again blocked Concord’s shot.

Finally, senior Ryan Rossi took the Cougar’s 5th shot and put the ball in the net for the game winner and a ticket to the NCS championship final.

The moment was one of redemption for Rossi.

Prior to the start of the game Rossi was doubtful of his ability to hit a penalty shot due to a mistake he made in the quarter finals. He wanted the team to succeed but told his coach he did not want to be 1 of the 5 players designated to take penalty shots. It was only after the team ran out of shooters that Rossi decided to take a chance.

“Its definitely good to bounce back,” said Rossi. He was quick to deflect the credit for the win however. “It was basically teamwork,” he said.

Teammate Amir Aliakbari agreed. “It wasn’t based off talent or anything to do with soccer, it was the hard work. Our coach kept telling us to get after the ball every single play. Ryan’s really explosive and fast so he is hard to get by, but at the end of the game it was really Kai Weyland, our goalie. He had three great saves in the PKs that saved the game,” he said.

“In the last couple years we’ve had a lot of talent and a lot of good players but we never really clicked together. This year we really worked as a group, so not one player shines but the whole team shines. A whole team can beat any other team that isn’t working together,” said Aliakbari.

According to Aliakbari, their coach, Shane Carney, helped foster their cohesiveness and passion for the sport.

“The team chemistry really worked in our favor. This years, freshman to senior are friends, so there aren’t any clicks.” said Rossi.

Carney focused on making the team compatible so they could function seamlessly on the turf. In order to accomplish this, he made sure players connected with each other.