Wilmington, Delaware’s Jade Tree United returned to action on Thursday, December 6, 2007. The team played at home at the Kirkwood Soccer Club against the newly promoted Clerks to kick off the start of the 2007-2008 New Castle County Indoor season.
JTU faced some challenges in the pre-season, with Player / Manager Darren Walters making significant changes to the JTU line up from last season. With several players moving out during the transfer window, Walters was forced to bolster his team’s strength with new and emerging talent despite a lack of funds.
New to JTU this season are Rich Emge (moving from Roma, DC United, Stonecutters) who brings with him a strong tactical mind as well as excellent on the ball ability; Tony Coates (Leyton Orient, Vitesse Arnhem, Grasskickers); and U-17 Shane Chanpimol, who was brought into regular senior team rotation this season.
Jade Tree took to the pitch ready for action, as Kirkwood erupted in applause to greet the team back for another crack at the title.
Jade Tree immediately proved the better of the two sides, when Alex Milne put JTU on the board just two minutes into the match.
Clerks, clearly rattled by the early goal, were shocked once again, as both Alex Milne and Shane Chanpinol-showing why he has been brought into the first team-moved the score line up to three before five minutes had elapsed.
Newly signed Tony Coates pushed up from his defensive position to attack and was rewarded for his effort when he shot and Rich Emge picked off his rebound, making it 4-0.
Jade Tree continued to apply pressure despite such a large and early lead.
Ryan Mann snuck his way past the Clerk’s defense to get his first of the season, with his striking partner Chanpimol netting yet another one right behind him.
Chanpimol received his hat trick just a minute later, confirming his manger’s belief in his talents.
Clerks, looking devastated, were becoming disorganized and sloppy all over the park. Jade Tree, pounced upon this, with Emge smashing one into their net with a pass from Casey Gallucio.
Ryan Mann, much too eager to get past the lapsed Clerks defense, was given a yellow card for his slide on a helpless Clerks defender.
Victor Alvarez scored a near perfect goal to get off the blocks this season, with a chested ball that he volleyed past the keeper.
With Alvarez’s goal, Jade Tree United was up an unbelievable 9-0, the JTU defense having barely been tested in the least.
As half time came, Clerks left the pitch dejected as the away fans booed their own team.
As the second half was set to kick off, the Clerks manager spoke to the referee and indicated that the Clerks were not going to take the pitch for the second half. Amazingly, the team had given up completely.
In the spirit of the holidays, JTU gaffer Walters suggested that the two teams let the score stand and simply play for the fans’ entertainment-even offering up the services of Victor Alvarez and goalie Brian Olden for the occasion.
Clerks agreed and came back out to the field. With that, a spirited game of football erupted as the two teams played their hearts out, eliciting cheers from both home and away fans who got in on the fun by chanting and singing good naturedly.
In the end, Jade Tree United walked away with an easy start to their season. However, the team will not have long to rest, as it meets another newly promoted team, Swiftkicks, on Wednesday, December 12.