A 2-0 winner over Coffeyville Sunday, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s men will take on a familiar rival in opening Region VI soccer playoff action.
The Blue Devils will open play at Cloud County Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be played at the Concordia High School field and will be the third year in a row the two teams have collided in the playoffs. KCKCC used a 1-0 win in the second round of the 2017 regional on the way to a berth in the NJCAA DI national tournament but lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Cloud in last year’s opening round.
The Blue Devils scored the only goal they would need just four minutes into Sunday’s 2-0 win over Coffeyville. Freshman Elijah Bathily took a pass from sophomore Leonard Bonelli across the middle for the goal. The Blue Devils then scored an insurance goal early in the second half, sophomore Marcus Kawah taking a crossing pass from freshman Javier Blanco for the goal.
The Blue Devil defense excelled, allowing Coffeyville only four shots as freshman goalkeeper Bosco Pery recorded the shutout with two saves. The Blue Devils, meanwhile got off 19 shots including 15 on goal, 13 of which were turned away.
With a lead, KCKCC Coach Ruben Rodriguez was able to go to his second unit. “This gave us a chance to rest our first team and avoid injuries in order to be at 100 percent for the playoffs,” said Rodriguez. “We played well; we just need to keep it up.”
The Blue Devils will take a two-game winning streak and a 7-5-2 overall record into the playoffs. KCKCC finished third in the Jayhawk with a 6-3-1 record. The league champion will be crowned Monday when Cowley (7-1-1) plays at Johnson County (6-1-2).
Freshman forward Elijah Bathily, who scored KCKCC’s first goal in a 2-0 blanking of Coffeyville Sunday, levels a shot from inside the box. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Kansas City Kansas Community College made an early 2-0 lead stand up for a vital 2-1 win over Neosho County Tuesday night.
The win pulled the Blue Devils into a tie with Neosho for third place in the Jayhawk Conference with a chance to climb even higher with three games remaining starting Friday when KCKCC hosts Johnson County in a 5-7:30 p.m. doubleheader.
Cowley College leads the conference at 5-1-1 followed by Johnson County (4-1-1), KCKCC (4-3) and Neosho (4-3), Allen County (3-5) and Coffeyville (0-7). In addition to JCCC Friday, the Blue Devils play at Allen County next Wednesday and host Coffeyville Sunday, Oct. 20. Johnson County has games remaining against Cowley, KCKCC, Coffeyville and Neosho while Neosho faces Allen County, Cowley and JCCC in its remaining three contests.
KCKCC’s 2-1 win over Neosho was the second 2-1 win over the Panthers and earned the tie-breaker in case of a tie. Also, it was only the third loss of the season for Neosho (10-3).
The Blue Devils grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first four minutes on a goal by sophomore midfielder Alejandro Maillet on an assist from freshman Elijah Bathily and then got what proved to be the winning goal from sophomore Ignacia Sarasol, who took a free kick in front of the net from freshman Lucas Santos and beat the goalkeeper with a thunderous kick.
Neosho got its lone goal with seven minutes left in the half, the goal coming when the Panthers beat goalkeeper Boso Pery to the ball for an open goal shot.
But Pery and the Blue Devil defense turned back every other challenge by the Panthers, who got off a dozen shots, six on goal. Perry had five saves including a diving stop in the final two minutes as the Blue Devils staved off countless Neosho advances deep in KCKCC territory.
“A good test for us, we needed to test ourselves,” said KCKCC Coach Ruben Rodriguez. “We stepped up to the plate and took care of business. A good win, a big win. And now an even bigger game against Johnson Friday.”
PHOTO IDENT (2 photo sequence)
KCKCC sophomore Ignacia Sarasol takes dead aim at a free kick by Lucas Santos before rifling the ball past a diving goalkeeper for what proved to be the winning goal in the Blue Devils 2-1 win over Neosho County Wednesday. (KCKCC Photos by Alan Hoskins)
As wins go, they don’t get much better than Kansas City Kansas Community College’s extra period 2-1 win over Iowa Central Sunday.
Alejandro Maillet, a sophomore midfielder from Copenhagen, Denmark, headed home the game winner in the opening three minutes of overtime to give the Blue Devils (1-1-1) their first win of the season. The game-winner came on an assist from Cheslyn Ashby, a freshman from Johannesburg, South Africa.
The ‘Golden Goal’ set off a long and wild celebration as the entire squad engulfed Maillet and Ashby.
“The game winner was a pin point cross from Cheslyn that Alejandro buried in the net with a powerful header,” said KCKCC assistant coach Burke Slusher. “The play was a team goal that started with the back and played through the midfield before eventually finding Ashby on the right flank. Ashby worked to beat a defender to drive the ball over another defender to find Maillet on a long run from the midfield.”
KCKCC took an early lead on a goal by sophomore Marco Cabral on an assist from freshman Elijah Bathily only to have Iowa Central tie it a few minutes later and the contest turned in to an exhausting defensive battle.
“Pretty much a standoff the second half with both teams trading possessions,” said Slusher. “It was a good win for us. Our guys are learning how to play together and trust one another. We just need to keep rolling.”
Six Kansas City Kansas Community College Blue Devils have been earned All-Jayhawk East Conference soccer honors for 2018 – five of them freshmen.
Four Blue Devils were named to the first team headed by the lone sophomore, forward Reed Axthelm of Riverton, Wy. He was joined on the first unit by midfielder Alejandro Maillet of Alleroed, Denmark; and defenders Stylianos Papadimitriou of Nicosia, Cyprus, and Ignacio Sarasol of Valencia, Spain.
Named to the second team were goalkeeper Fabian Keiblinger of Sitzenberg-Reidling, Austria, and defender Justin Hynes of Villingen, Germany.
Cowley College, which won the Jayhawk East with a 10-0 record, dominated the All-East team with 11 first team selections and swept the individual awards. Freshmen Santiago Gimenez and Elluan Martins were named Co-Offensive Players of the Year, sophomore Jesus Garcia Defender of the Year and Ruy Vaz Coach of the Year.
Kansas City Kansas Community College All-Jayhawk Conference soccer honorees include first team members (front row, from left) Ignacio Sarasol, Alejandro Maillet, Reed Axthelm and Stylianos Papadimitriou; and second team (second row) Fabian Keiblinger and Justin Hynes. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Hector Valles came to Kansas City Kansas Community College to learn English – and play soccer.
Today, the native of Valencia, Spain, is signed and sealed to continue his education at Mid-America Christian University (MACU) in Oklahoma City, Okla. A soccer power as a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference, MACU (12-5-1) is headed for this fall’s NAIA national tournament.
A member of KCKCC’s 2017 team that won Jayhawk Conference and Plains District championships and the College’s first ever national tournament appearance, Valles was captain of the 2018 Blue Devil team.
Valles chose Mid-America Christian from offers from 30 NAIA and NCAA DII colleges because of financial considerations. “I will not have to ask my parents for money,” says Valles, who will receive tuition, room and board at MACU. “I will also have a part-time job.”
KCKCC Coach Ruben Rodriguez said his academic success was a major factor in earning 30-40 offers from other colleges and universities. “He’s really a great kid who did exceptionally well in the class room, Because of his high performances academically and on the field, he had a tremendous amount of opportunities. We’re definitely going to miss him.”
A standout on club teams in Spain, Valles was steered to KCKCC by a soccer recruiting agent. “I only knew basic English,” enough to pass exams to get him into the U.S. and KCKCC. Now fluent, he’ll earn an AA degree from KCKCC in May and then pursue a degree in Economics at MACU.
The best part of his KCKCC career? “The people,” he says quickly. “My coaches, Ruben (Rodriguez) and Burke (Slusher); some of the people who have already left; and all those here. They were the best part.”
Ironically, Valles will be reunited with one of those who have left. One of last year’s players and manager on this year’s KCKCC team, Guilherme Grave, is enrolled at Oklahoma City University and as members of the same conference they’ll go head-to-head on the soccer field,
With head coach Ruben Rodriguez (left) and assistant coach Burke Slusher as witnesses, Kansas City Kansas Community College soccer standout signed to continue his education at Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City, Okla. (KCKCC Photo)
Kansas City Kansas Community College got in front early and stayed there in a 2-0 men’s soccer blanking of Allen County at Iola Saturday.
The win evened KCKCC’s record at 2-2 heading into a Jayhawk Conference doubleheader at Coffeyville Wednesday. The women play at 5 p.m.; the men a T 7 p.m.
The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead just 1:45 into the contest, sophomore forward Hiago Gaspar scoring on an assist from freshman defender Kenar Huntington. An unassisted goal by sophomore Reed Axthelm of Riverton, Wyo., in the 25th minute made it 2-0 and the defense took it from there.
“Our defense really played well, keeping the pressure off our goalkeeper,” said KCKCC Coach Ruben Rodriguez. Freshman goalkeeper Fabian Keiblinger was credited with just three saves as a quartet of freshmen Stylianos Papadimitriou, Ignacio Sarasol and Kenar Huntington and sophomore Gustavo Palmieri repeatedly kept the Red Devils from penetrating deep into KCKCC scoring areas.
First, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s first NJCAA Division I national tournament berth and now the College’s first NJCAA first team All-American.
The Jayhawk Conference Defender of the Year, sophomore Leonardo da Silva has been named to the 11-member NJCAA Division I All-America first team and a second team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches Association. Only other Blue Devil to receive NJCAA All-American honors was Hiago Gaspar, who was a second team selection last year.
In addition, Da Silva was named to the United Soccer Coaches Junior College Division I All-North Region team and teammate Giovani Calderon, a sophomore from J.C. Harmon High School, was selected to the second team as a midfielder. Previously, Da Silva had been named to the All-Region VI and All-Jayhawk Conference first teams along with being named Defender of the Year.
Led by Ruben Rodriguez, who was named both NJCAA Plains District Coach of the Year and Kansas Jayhawk Eastern Division Coach of the Year, the Blue Devils won the Region VI championship with wins over Garden City 4-0 and Eastern champion Cloud County 1-0 in overtime and then captured the Plains District title by defeating Rose State in a 1-1, 8-7 Shootout and Ranger, Tex., 3-2.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Leo,” says Rodriguez. “He’s a great athlete and a great student. Very focused and determined to achieve high standards. At 6-3 his size helps but you must be technically talented, an ability that’s very rare for that height. It also helps that he has great decision making and high soccer intelligence.”
A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Da Silva came to KCKCC on the recommendation of a former Blue Devil player, Bernardo Giardini Rodrigues. “I had come to Orlando (Fla.) to learn English and Bernardo saw me play and recommended me to Ruben,” said Da Silva, who began club soccer in Brazil at age 12. It took Rodriguez only one look to sign the 6-foot-3 defender.
Da Silva’s first season in 2015 was ended by a leg injury with three games remaining, an injury that kept him from competing in 2016 and still haunts him. “The only games I missed after starting every game my freshman year were the last three when I got badly injured in a game at Neosho County,” remembers Da Silva. “Then I had to watch the painful loss to Cloud County in the first playoff game because of the physical pain and the pain of being useless to help avoid the loss.
“Then it got even worse because I didn’t recover from the injury in time to play in 2016 and had to take a redshirt. So after a brilliant regular season, I watched my buddies’ loss in the first playoff game against Barton County. But I knew since that day that the next season would be more. Something big was coming and I’d fight with all my strength to achieve it for the school, my buddies and me.
“And God wanted the comeback against my biggest nightmare, Cloud County. That definitely was the hardest game of the season. Cloud was 10-0 in the conference and unbeatable but we knew that we could pass through the wall and that’s what we did. We played as hard as we ever had and won 1-0 on Ricardo Angelo’s goal in overtime.
“So God does these things. I came back exactly where I fell two years ago. The challenge was bigger than just playing the game. I was the captain and I knew that I had to keep the team united. So many cultures, teammates from all parts of the world. However, we did it – day after day, sprints and more sprints, game by game.”
As a defender, Da Silva is something of a quarterback. “You can see the whole field and set up your teammates,” he says. He now faces the many recruiting options he’ll have to face come this May. “He’ll have plenty of opportunities,” promises Assistant Coach Burke Slusher.
However, he will miss KCKCC. “Definitely a good experience; it feels like home in Kansas,” he says. “I feel so blessed to get a great opportunity at a great school and meet all the people and thankful for my coaches who believed in me since the beginning. And most important, my teammates. This team achieved big things because of their special skills and techniques.”
In addition to his Jayhawk Conference Defender of the Year Award, KCKCC sophomore Leonardo da Silva has more awards coming. He’s the first Blue Devil to be named to the NJCAA Division I All-America first team and the second All-American team selected by the United Soccer Coaches Association. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
The finest soccer season in Kansas City Kansas Community College history came to an end Tuesday in the NJCAA Division I national tournament in Prescott, Ariz.
No. 7 Monroe College out of New Rochelle, N.Y., sent the 11th seeded Blue Devils to the tournament sidelines with a 5-1 win. In the national tournament for the fourth time in the last seven years including two appearances in the national championship game, Monroe (13-1-2) will meet No. 2 Schoolcraft of Livonia, Mich. (16-0) Wednesday with the winner advancing to the semifinals.
Ranked No. 10 in the final NJCAA national rankings – the first time ever in the Top 20 – and in the national tournament for the first time ever, the Blue Devils finished with a 13-5-1 record.
Two goals in the first 14 minutes doomed the Blue Devils against Monroe. Carols Rodriguez beat KCKCC goalkeeper Youssef Gadelkerim to a loose ball and fed Lucas Nishioka for a point blank shot just 10:47 into the game and three minutes later Jorge Figueroa scored an unassisted goal from the top of the box.
The Mustangs widened their lead to 3-0 nine minutes into the second half on a goal by Javier Rodriguez on an assist from Gabriel Machado before KCKCC scored at the 69.51 mark, Piper freshman Jackson Jones passing to another frosh, Bruno Rovares, for the goal. Monroe then closed out the win on goals by Gabriel Machado and Cristian Valencia in the final seven minutes.
Monroe got off 26 shots against KCKCC including nine on goal; the Blue Devils attempted 16 shots, five on goal. The Mustangs also had a 9-5 edge in corner kicks.
The near tragedy that was averted on Kansas City Kansas Community College’s amazing ride to its first ever NJCAA Region VI and Plains District soccer championships:
“On one of Rose State’s kicks in the Shootout, the ball hit the cross bar,” recounted KCKCC assistant coach Burke Slusher. “Fortunately, our goalkeeper, Youssef Gadelkerim, alertly picked up the ball because the ball was still in play. The referee told Youssef he made a smart play because the ball would have rolled back into the goal.”
Minutes later, Gadelkerim made the biggest play of his young collegiate career, a diving deflection of a shot by Rose State star Ala Ramadan that gave the Blue Devils an 1-1, 8-7 win and a berth in the Plains District championship game against Ranger (Tex.) College. “It was very satisfying because of the way he had improved throughout the season,” said KCKCC head coach Ruben Rodriguez.
The Blue Devils (12-3-1) now await the pairings for the national tournament starting next Monday on Mountain Valley Field in Prescott, Ariz. A field of 12 teams will be divided into pods of three teams with each team playing the other two teams in its pod. The four winners will then advance to the national semifinals.
Gadelkerim was just one of a bunch of stars in the dramatic semifinal win. Guilherme Grave had KCKCC’s lone goal in regulation time while Ricardo Angelo, Gustavo Paleiri, Giovannie Calderon, Leonardo DaSilva, Pa Ousman Jobe, Mario Sandoval and Emmanuel Hernandez all had goals in the Shootout before Angelo’s second successful kick in sudden death proved to be the winner.
“Towards the end of the game, it became evident Rose State wanted to go to penalty kicks,” said Rodriguez. “They were focused on stopping us defensively. We had chances but couldn’t convert.”
“Anytime you go to a Shootout, there’s going to be high drama,” said Slusher. “And going to sudden death adds even more. Being the first game of the district, I think there was a little bit of nerves for some of the guys. They played a little bit tentative, we weren’t quite as sharp.”
The drama, however, had started much earlier – a 1-0 regional win over No. 7 ranked Cloud County in Concordia won on a header by Ricardo Angelo off a corner kick by Gustavo Paleiri just 2:32 into the first overtime. “That may have been the biggest highlight for the team – playing the No. 7 in the country, their place, in overtime, not a good field,” said Slusher. “It was a real intensive game for 94 minutes. You could see on the celebration video what a major win it was for the team.”
“Long trip and difficult field conditions but about 10 minutes into the game I thought the boys felt comfortable,” echoed Rodriguez. “The key was we were able to stick to the game plan of high pressure and not allowing them to set the tempo of the game.”
According to Cloud coach James Ross, it was the difference in the outcome. “They (the Blue Devils) came in here with the mentality of playing physical, disrupting us and they did that,” said Ross. “That really sped up our play, which is not our game. KCKCC did a really good job of taking us out of our game.”
The Blue Devils never trailed in the 3-2 win over Ranger in the championship game. Grave scored the first of his two goals on a deflection of a free kick just 14:42 into the contest and then extended the lead to 2-0 on a pass from Ricardo Angelo at the 28:33 mark. The Blue Devils dominated most of the first half only to give up a goal on a free kick to Kyle Edwards with just 1:17 left in the first half.
Ousman Pa Jobe reopened the lead to 3-1 on an assist from Hector Valles just six minutes into the second half and it stayed that way until the final 13 minutes when Ranger scored on a goal by Azinho Solomon assisted by Edwards. Playing with very little rest following a double overtime win over Rose State Thursday night, the Blue Devils took every punch Ranger could throw at them to hang on for the historic victory.
“I really felt confident,” said Slusher. “The guys were in the right frame and clicking in sync.” “Getting the early lead on the goal by G (Grave) helped tremendously,” said Rodriguez. “And it was important that we again stuck to our game plan of high pressure. A total team effort; the boys really stepped up.”
PHOTO IDENTS (2017 soccer champs)
For the first time in more than 25 years of soccer at Kansas City Kansas Community College, the Blue Devils are bound for the NJCAA Division I national tournament in Prescott, Ariz., next week. KCKCC defeated Garden City 4-0, No. 7 Cloud County 1-0 in overtime, Rose State in a 1-1, 8-7 Shootout and Ranger (Tex.) 3-2. (KCKCC Photo by Emilie Lutz)
They came, they saw, they conquered – and now Kansas City Kansas Community College is headed for the three-state NJCAA Plains District soccer playoff championship for the first time in history
A dramatic 1-0 overtime upset winner over No. 7 ranked Cloud County at Concordia Sunday, the Blue Devils will open the four-team Plains District playoffs against Rose State College of Midwest City, Okla., Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Topeka’s Hummer Park.
One of two Region VI in the playoffs, KCKCC will take a 10-3-1 record into the opener against Rose State, the Region II champion (13-5-1) and winner of five in a row. The other semifinal will pit Barton County (14-5-1), the second of two teams from Region VI; against the Region V champion, Ranger (Tex.), 9-2, in a 4 p.m. contest. The championship will be decided Friday at noon with the winner advancing to the NJCAA Division I national tournament. .
The Blue Devils needed just 2½ minutes of overtime Sunday for the biggest soccer win in KCKCC history. Sophomore Ricardo Angelo slipped in past the back post and headed in the game’s only goal on a perfectly placed corner kick by freshman Gustavo Palmieri at the 2:32 mark of overtime. The goal set off a wild celebration at midfield by the jubilant Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils played much of the game without sophomore forward Guilherme Grave, who suffered a broken nose. “That impacted the game because we were without an experienced forward and it disrupted the flow,” said KCKCC Coach Ruben Rodriguez. “However, the defense really stepped up.”
“A very good win,” agreed assistant coach Burke Slusher. “We knew going in that we were going to have to shut down their No. 10 (Luiz Garcia) and Emanuel Hernandez did a very good job on him. And we needed to limit the touches of No. 18 (Robert Kelly) and our entire midfield did a great of that. To win we had to battle 90 minutes and we did that – and more.”
Cloud County’s best scoring chance came in the final minute when Rafael Santos had a shot from inside the box turned aside by Blue Devils goalkeeper Youssef Gadelkerim with five seconds remaining. Gadelkerim had four saves as the Thunderbirds had just seven shots on goal while KCKCC had eight shots on goal capped by the gamer-winner.
“They (the Blue Devils) came in here with the mentality of playing physical, disrupting us and they did that,” said Cloud coach James Ross. “That really sped up our play, which is not our game. KCKCC did a really good job of taking us out of our game.”
The loss was only the second in the last 15 games for Cloud (14-3), which had won back-to-back KJCCC West titles and was seeking a return trip to the national tournament. “I told the guys before the game that the only way KCKCC was going to beat us was if it came off a set piece or a corner kick,” said Ross. “In my mind, we made the mistake of making a defensive clear for a corner kick when we had the chance to clear it for a throw in. But our defender was hustling back and I’m going to fault him for that.”
PHOTO IDENTS (happy soccer)
It was a happy group of Blue Devil soccer players who earned KCKCC’s first NJCAA Plains District playoff berth Sunday with a 1-0 overtime upset at No. 7 ranked Cloud County. (KCKCC Photo by Tony Tompkins)
A long time coming but Kansas City Kansas Community College’s first home soccer playoff was worth the wait.
Unable to host past playoff games because the previous soccer field was not regulation size, the Blue Devils wrote a 4-0 blanking of Garden City into the record book Thursday night. The win ended a four-game Garden City win streak.
The win advanced KCKCC into the Final Four of the Region VI playoffs and sends the Blue Devils (9-3-1) to Cloud County in Concordia Sunday at 1 p.m. The West champion at 14-2, Cloud opened playoff action with a 3-1 win over Johnson County Thursday.
The game was played with winds gusting 20-30 miles an hour out of the north and a chill factor in the 30’s, giving a distinct advantage to the team with the wind at its back. However, the Blue Devils scored just one goal with the wind the first half and the three into the wind the second half.
“We wanted to take advantage of the wind and score more goals in the first half but it didn’t happen,” said KCKCC Coach Ruben Rodriguez.” At halftime, we told the team we faced a tough challenge in the second half and they really stepped up to the plate.”
Sophomore Guilherme Grave scored the lone first half goal on a leaping shot past Garden City goalkeeper Louis Sharp. The goal came on a pass from J.C. Harmon sophomore Jesse Calderon 18 minutes into the first half.
The Blue Devils then broke the game open with two goals in the first nine minutes of the second half. Sophomore Ricardo Angelo scored the first on a pass from freshman Gustavo Palmeiri at the 52-minute mark and two minutes later freshman Reed Axthelm made it 3-0 on an assist from Grave. Dubai freshman Abdulrahmen Khalid got the final goal with four minutes left on an assist from freshman Hector Valles.
Sophomore Youssef Gadelkerim of Dubai pitched the shutout for the Blue Devils, stopping three shots on goal while the Blue Devils peppered Sharp with 10 shots. “A good win; I was happy for the boys,” said Rodriguez. “Now we have to get ready for our next game with Cloud.”
In other first round action Thursday, East champion Neosho County (15-3-1) defeated Northwest Kansas Technical College 4-1 and will play Barton County Sunday. Barton (13-5-1) was a 5-4 winner over Cowley. Sunday’s two winners will collide Tuesday with the winner advancing to the four-team NJCAA Plains Division championship in Topeka Nov. 2-3.
PHOTO IDENTS (opening goal)
A leaping Guilherme Grave gave Garden City goalkeeper Louis Sharp no chance Thursday as he fired a shot that gave Kansas City Kansas Community College its first goal in a 4-0 opening playoff win. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s men’s soccer team will try to extend its winning streak to four in a row Tuesday when the Blue Devils host Coffeyville at 7:30 p.m.
It’s the final regular season home game for the Blue Devils, who are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Cowley College and a 3-1 victory over Allen County. Coffeyville nipped KCKCC 1-0 in the first meeting of the two teams at Coffeyville.
The 3-2 overtime win over Cowley vaulted the Blue Devils (5-3) past the Tigers (4-3-1) into second place in the Jayhawk Conference and kept their chances alive of overtaking first place Neosho County (5-0-1). KCKCC will close out regular season play next Tuesday at Johnson County while Neosho still has three games left.
Sophomore Guilherme Grave’s unassisted goal four minutes into overtime provided the Blue Devils the win over Cowley. Trailing 1-0 just 17 minutes into the game, sophomore Brajan Huyke pulled the Blue Devils even with an assist from freshman Hector Valles six minutes later. KCKCC then went ahead two minutes before halftime on a goal by Piper freshman Jackson Jones on a pass from Harmon sophomore Giovanni Calderon. The Blue Devils stayed in front only to have Cowley tie it on a goal at the 78-minute mark.
KCKCC never trailed in the 3-1 win over Allen County. Huyke put the Blue Devils in front just 16 minutes into the game on a pass from Grave and then Giovanni Calderon made it 2-0 three minutes before halftime on an assist from his twin brother, Jesse Calderon. Allen County closed to 2-1 early in the second half but Fernando Garella clinched the win in the waning minutes on a Giovanni Calderon assist.
Shaking off first game jitters, Kansas City Kansas Community College surged to a 3-2 win over East Central in men’s soccer Sunday.
The Blue Devils will try to make it two in a row Friday when they host Blue River at 7:30 p.m. That game will be preceded by a KCKCC- Blue River women’s game at 5 p.m.
Taking advantage of an early foul, East Central scored just five minutes into Sunday’s game on a free kick from 25 yards out.
But the Blue Devils quickly rebounded with three straight goals, all in an 18-minute span of the first half. Sophomore forward Guilherme Grave of Sao Paulo, Brazil, tied the game 1-1 with an assist from freshman Frano Buhovar 25 minutes into the game and then put KCKCC ahead to stay 10 minutes later with his second goal on an assist from freshman Hector Valles.
Giovannie Calderon, a sophomore from JC Harmon, scored what proved to be the decisive goal with four minutes left in the half on an assist from sophomore Ricardo Angelo. East Central’s second goal came in transition with just seven minutes left in the game.
“A typical first game but once we settled down from first game jitters, we played well,” said assistant coach Burke Slusher. “Most of the second half we played defensively protecting the 3-1 lead although we had a couple of near misses that would have made it 4-1. East Central was credited with only three shots on goal which speaks well of our defense. Hopefully we knocked off the rust and will play better Friday.”
Thanks to the combined efforts of the Kansas City Kansas Community Police Unit and the men’s soccer program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, students that need that extra attention in four KCK schools are getting life-changing opportunities.
Titled BOSS, an acronym for Being of Sound Standards, it’s a youth based program geared toward preparing youth to become future leaders and productive citizens through attitude enhancement and promoting academic standards.
“Our goal is to build a relationship with the youth that empowers young people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to become successful in high school and beyond,” says Officer Kevin Terry, who is coordinating the program with two other KCK Community Police officers, Jesus Casas and Anthony Lee.
“It’s a mentoring program for fifth graders. We go to a school and have the principal and staff select 10 students who need encouragement in three areas – The AAA concept Academics, Attendance and Attitude. Once the students are selected we have shirts made that easily identify the students as BOSS students. These shirts include the school colors, logos, and the BOSS emblem.
“Then each week we visit the students at their schools to see how they are doing in the three targeted areas and evaluate what each student needs to improvement on, Those who fulfill the requirements are allowed to participate in that week’s special event. For those who fall short, they are encouraged to do better and returned to the classroom, that way the special events become motivation to do better. We look at the BOSS group as a family and we never kick anyone out.
“However, we do involve the parents in the program by requiring them to sign a contract supporting our efforts at school. If the areas of need are not implemented at home, they’re not going to work at school.”
At the same time Officer Terry was conducting the BOSS program, KCKCC men’s soccer coach Ruben Rodriguez had implemented an after school program in which members of the Blue Devil soccer team would go to schools and not only teach soccer but encourage development of various life skills.
“Neither of us knew about the other’s programs and once we found out, it was an instant partnership,” said Rodriguez. “We introduced our program under the BOSS program with a specific goal to keep these kids in school and encourage them to attend KCKCC or other area colleges.”
Right now, four elementary schools are participating in the joint program – John F. Kennedy, Emerson, John Fiske and Junction Elementary in the Turner School District. “We’ll evaluate the program at the end of the school year with the hope of possible expansion,” said Officer Terry.
BOSS students who meet the weekly requirements will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities ranging from teamwork with LEGO building activities, attending a Royals game, bowling parties, to being able to attend a Dave & Buster’s field trip. The students will also get to hear special guest speakers from the community and the Police Department. District Attorney Mark Dupree was one of the first guest speakers to donate his time to talk to the students. There is a growing list of other community and political leaders, athletes, and potential speakers who will participate. “Every week they get excited about what we’re going to do with them next,” says Officer Terry.
A joint program coordinated by KCK Community Police officers Jesus Casas (left) and Kevin Terry (right) and KCKCC men’s soccer coach Ruben Rodriguez is being offered fifth grade students in four schools to promote improvement in the areas of academics, attendance and attitude. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Brazilian players earn post-season honors while becoming proficient in English language
To say that Brazilians Hiago Gaspar and Ricardo Angelo had a major impact on Kansas City Kansas Community College would be an understatement – and vice versa.
Gaspar led the Jayhawk Conference with a Blue Devil record 17 goals and was second in assists with 11 and was named to both the All-Jayhawk Conference and All-Region first teams. A defender, Angelo was also a first team All-Jayhawk pick and second team All-Region selection. Together, they along with five other all-conference honorees helped lead KCKCC to a 10-4 record and second place in the Jayhawk.
Just as impressive has been there success in ESOL classes and particularly learning the English language. Neither spoke a word of English when they arrived this summer. “We just shook our heads,” said Angelo. “They’ve done well in the classroom and hopefully next semester they’ll be taking regular college classes,” said Ruben Rodriguez, KCKCC head soccer coach.
The two also take part in the BOSS after school program in which they work with elementary students not only in learning soccer skills but on teaching life skills.
Both players are from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they started playing soccer at early ages. “Last year, we had two players from Brazil who were so successful academically and on the playing field and were also impressed with our college facilities, academics, athletics and coaching staff and were helpful in recruiting more students,” said Rodriguez. “We met Hiago and Ricardo on Skype and between our communication on Skype and watching them playing on video we thought they’d be a pretty good fit for KCKCC.”
Their arrival at KCKCC top their list of highlights. “The first day, everything was new for me, the language, practices, the college, the people,” says Gaspar. “People were nice,” said Angelo. “And mainly the weather. It was hot. So much humidity.”
Both players started every game this fall. “The competition is about the same as Brazil but the game is more physical here and we play more games,” says Ricardo. “Soccer is more technical in Brazil,” says KCKCC assistant coach Burke Slusher.
“Hiago is pretty much a natural talent, a natural goal scorer,” says Rodriguez. “He’s usually in the right place a lot and you can’t teach that.” “He also has great speed, probably in the 4.4 range,” adds Slulsher.
“Ricardo is very technical, is very good on and off the ball and has a high soccer IQ,” says Rodriguez. “Very calm under pressure, good in the air and reads the game very well,” agrees Slusher.
Their talents have not gone unnoticed. “I’ve already been contacted by some Division I schools and all the local NAIA schools,” says Rodriguez. “Their desire is to play at the next level, either in Division I or professionally. This has been our best year so far and we expect better next year. We have a bright future.”
Gaspar and Angelo plan to be a part of that future. “We are so thankful for the opportunities we have here,” says Gaspar. “Everyone has been so helpful, all the teachers, the trainers and especially our
Joining Gaspar and Angelo on the All-Jayhawk first team was midfielder Guilherme Grave of Sao Paulo; while second team selections included sophomore forward Thiago Elias, also of Sao Paulo; sophomore midfielders Giovanni Calderon of J.C. Harmon and Tanner Helms of Ashland, Mo.; and sophomore defender Jake Salmons, also of Ashland, Mo.
The 2016 soccer season (10-4) was one of the best ever at KCKCC thanks to the efforts of coaches Ruben Rodriguez (left) and Burke Slusher (right) and All-Jayhawk first team selections Hiago Gaspar (second left) and Ricardo Angelo. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Seven members of the 2016 Kansas City Kansas Community College men’s soccer team have been named to All-Jayhawk Conference teams.
The Blue Devils were 10-4 for the season and tied for second in the Jayhawk with a 7-3 record, losing twice to Johnson County and once to Cowley College. They swept Coffeyville, Allen County and Neosho County in addition to dividing with Cowley. They were eliminated by Barton County 5-2 in the Region VI playoffs.
Three Blue Devils were selected to the first team – forward Hiago Gasper, midfielder Guilherme Grave and defender Ricardo Angelo. All three are freshmen from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Second team selections include sophomore forward Thiago Elias, also of Sao Paulo; sophomore midfielders Giovanni Calderon of J.C. Harmon and Tanner Helms of Ashland, Mo.; and sophomore defender Jake Salmons, also of Ashland, Mo.
The Blue Devils were coached by Ruben Rodriguez, who was in his fifth season as head coach; and Burke Slusher, in his third year as assistant.
KCKCC freshmen (front row, from left) Hiago Gasper, Guilherme Grave and Richardo Angelo were named to the first All-Jayhawk Conference soccer team while (second row) sophomores Thiago Elias, Giovanni Calderon, Tanner Helms and Jake Salmons were named to the second team. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Hiago Gaspar, Kansas City KS freshman, scored 3 goals and had 3 assists last week including a game winner vs. Neosho County on the 4th. He moves to 1st in goals, 1st in points and 2nd in assists in the KJCCC.
Kansas City Kansas Community College is taking soccer to elementary schools in the Kansas City Kansas School District.
An after school program called “School is a Kick,” the program kicked off Tuesday in two elementary schools in the Argentine area – Noble Prentis at 2337 S. 14th Street and Silver City Elementary at 2515 Lawrence Avenue.
“We had 23 students sign up at Silver City and 36 at Noble Prentis on just the first day so we expect that number will increase,” said KCKCC head soccer coach Ruben Rodriguez, who is directing the program in conjunction with the Metro United Soccer Club (MUSC). “This is a pilot program that if successful we hope every elementary school in KCK will adopt.”
Open to students in third grade and above, Rodriguez and two members of the KCKCC soccer team will be conducting after school programs at both schools each Tuesday and Friday through Sept. 26.
“Our goal is to provide a fun experience for kids so they can learn the game and develop a passion for soccer and athletics for many years to come,” said Rodriguez. “Youth sports play an important role in a child’s life. Their participation in youth sports develop both physical and social skills including self-confidence, discipline, focus, friendship and motivation – lessons essential in the life of young people in their developmental ages.”
Each 30-minute after school programs will focus on an array of soccer skills such as passing, finishing, receiving and more along with a value lesson to match the exercise in such areas as fitness, setting goals, community service, nutrition and the importance of learning.
Rodriguez said he first introduced to the program to Ann Brandau-Murgita, the District 3 Commissioner for the Unified Government of KCK and Wyandotte County, who in turn recommended it to the school principals, Sharon Potts at Noble Prentis and Deanne Letoureau at Silver City. “Both principals were very excited and enthused about the program and quick to adopt it,” said Rodriguez.
Any other elementary school in the KCK School District interested in adding the program is urged to contact Ruben Rodriguez at KCKCC at 913-288-7255 or on-line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All members of the 2016 men’s soccer team at Kansas City Kansas Community College will be working with students at Silver Creek and Noble Prentis elementary schools as part of a pilot after school “Soccer is a Kick” program with schools in the KCK School District. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Short on experience but long on potential, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s men’s soccer kicks off the fall season Monday, Aug. 22.
The Blue Devils will open at Blue River in Independence at 8 p.m. Monday before returning home Tuesday for an exhibition against Ottawa University at 6 p.m. The official home opener won’t come until Thursday, Sept. 8, when KCKCC entertains Cowley County.
With the early start to the season, the biggest job facing head coach Ruben Rodriguez and assistant Burke Slusher will be putting the best 11 players on the field. “It’s a very competitive team, competitive at every position,” says Rodriguez, who is in his fifth season as head coach.
“We want to go farther than last year when we made it to the playoffs and have brought in players that we feel will make us stronger than a year ago,” adds Slusher, who is in his third year as assistant. Fifteen members of the 24-man squad are Kansas graduates including seven from J.C. Harmon High School, five from Wichita and one each from Turner, Derby and SM North.
Just seven sophomores return from a year ago – midfielders Jesus Galvan and Mario Sandoval, both of Harmon; Tanner Helms of Ashland, MO.; and Thiago Elias of Sao Paulo, Brazil; defenders Jake Salmons of Ashland, MO. and David Jones of Turner and goalkeeper Kenneth Herron of SM North. In addition, Harmon midfielder Giovanni Calderon returns after a redshirt season while forward Connell Silmon is a transfer from Wichita South.
The battle for starting berths starts at goalkeeper where Herron is being challenged by a pair of freshmen, Alec Lakin and Cade Brown, both of Wichita Maize. There’s also a four-way battle at the forward position between Silmon and freshmen Alejandro Madrigal of Harmon, Connor Holmes of Wichita Maize and Hiago Gaspar of Sao Paulo.
Midfield will be solid with the return of veterans Galvan, Helms and Sandoval along with promising freshman newcomers Juan Zavala of Harmon, Brajan Huyke of Barran Quilla, Columbia,and Guilherma Grave of San Paulo. “That’s our strength because of our returning experience and the incoming freshmen, most of who have played club ball,” says Rodriguez. More midfield help could come from freshmen Luke Matson of Harmon and Pa Ousman Jobe of Woonsocket, R.I.
Freshmen Ricardo Angelo and Fernando Garella of San Paulo, and Emmanuel Hernandez of Harmon; Ricardo Grimaldo of Monett, MO.; will join Salmons and Jones in the critical roles of defender.
Teams in the Jayhawk Conference have adopted a new schedule for 2016 with each team playing a home-and-home slate. The other five members of the conference are Johnson County, Allen County, Cowley, Coffeyville and Neosho County
While in his fifth season as head men’s coach, Rodriguez has been an instrumental part of the KCKCC soccer program since 2007, starting the KCKCC women’s program in 2012. A 20-year officer with the KCK Police Department, Rodriguez has nearly 40 years of experience as a player and coach, working with club, men’s and college teams.
A former assistant coach at William Jewell College, Slusher had more than 20 years of coaching and playing experience. A graduate of North Kansas City High School and Missouri State University, Slusher has coached at several levels of youth soccer and served as talent evaluator for Sporting KC and FC Kansas City open tryouts.
The Blue Devils led 1-0 and 2-1 in the men’s game only to have Barton score three times in a span of nine minutes including the game-winner with seven minutes remaining. The win enabled the Cougars to finish second in the Jayhawk at 8-2 and 14-2 overall.
KCKCC took a 1-0 halftime lead on a goal by Great Ubochi and kept the Cougars scoreless until Lucas Alves tied it with 16:20 left with his 13th goal of the season. The Blue Devils, however, bounced right back, retaking the lead with 15:45 left on a goal by freshman forward Jonathan Rodriguez of Harmon. The lead would last less than two minutes as Kota Endo tied it off a corner kick and then Sergio Ribeiro added the game winner with seven minutes left.
Kansas City Kansas Community College made the most of its only home soccer game in a four-week span Sunday with a 2-1 win over Allen County.
The win boosted the Blue Devils’ overall record to 7-2 and Jayhawk Conference mark to 3-2 heading into KCKCC’s annual trip to the Thunder Duck Tournament at Richland College in Dallas, Tex., where the Blue Devils will play San Jancito Friday at 7 p.m. and Texas Western Saturday at 3 p.m.
Goals by sophomore Steven Sosa and freshman Thomas Disney, both on assists from freshman Mario Sandoval, boosted the Blue Devils to their 2-1 over Allen County in a game rescheduled because of lightning. Allen scored in the 70th minute but could not muster a tying goal against freshman Darryl Baptiste, who ranks sixth in the nation in save percentage.
“Right now we’re fifth in the conference but need to get into the top four so we can host a first round playoff game,” said KCKCC Coach Burke Slusher. The Blue Devils have five conference games left – at Coffeyville Oct. 8 and Neosho County Oct. 10 before finishing at home against Johnson County, Dodge City and Barton County.
KCKCC split in two road contests before the Allen County win, defeating Wentworth Military Academy 4-1 before losing at Pratt 3-1. KCKCC’s lone goal at Pratt came on a penalty kick by Steven Sosa.
Seven Blue Devils got in on the scoring at Wentworth Military. Harmon freshman Jonathan Rodriguez opened the scoring on an assist from Sosa and frosh Thiago Elias made it 2-0 on an assist from Jesus Galvan, also a freshman from Harmon. Freshman Pavin Cole got the third goal on an assist from Thomas Disney before sophomore Jahren Barrow closed out the scoring on a penalty kick.
Getting standout offensive performances from sophomores Breyson Ruiz and Steven Sosa, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s unbeaten men’s soccer team made it four wins in a row with a 5-2 triumph at Hesston Tuesday.
Ruiz, a midfielder from J.C. Harmon, turned in a hat trick (three goals) and Sosa added a goal and three assists as the Blue Devils led all the way as they head into opening Jayhawk Conference play Thursday when they host Allen County in the second half of a doubleheader at 7 p.m.
Jesus Galvan, among the Blue Devil’s incoming crop of freshmen has been named to the list of The Kansas City Star’s Scholar-Athlete’s.
Some of his accomplishments are as follows:
Ranks first in a class of 245 with a 4.28 GPA. Four varsity letters in soccer. Team captain as a senior. Team finished second in the state tournament in 2014. Four years honor roll. 4.0 GPA all four years.
Chue Yang, a sophomore at KCKCC, will attend and play soccer for the Benedictine College Ravens next fall. Even in a rough season for the Blue Devils last fall Chue made his mark playing in the midfield for the Blue Devils. “Chue has great ability defensively and reads the game very well offensively,” said Head coach Ruben Rodriguez. Chue is a native of Kansas City Kansas graduating high school from Turner. He played in every game for the Blue Devils in 2014 starting in 11 of them. Assistant coach Burke Slusher said of Chue, “We could always count on Chue giving us his best and never playing soft. He was a joy to coach and I believe he will have success at BC.”
Kansas City Kansas Community College will kick off the 2014 soccer season Thursday short on experience but long on numbers, versatility and optimism.
“We may be young on paper but I think we will be a team that will play at a higher level than our age may suggest,” says first year assistant coach Burke Slusher.
Without a returning letterman, third year head coach Ruben Rodriguez and Slusher will rebuild the Blue Devil men’s fortunes around the biggest recruiting class ever – 22 freshmen and two sophomores.
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s newest soccer recruit is headed for the Kansas Senior All-Star Game.
Colin Dujakovich, a senior at Shawnee Mission North, has been selected to play in the prestigious soccer all-star contest to be played June 21 in Wichita.
As the new assistant men’s coach, Burke Slusher brings more than 20 years of coaching and playing experience to the Kansas City Kansas Community College soccer program.
The assistant to head coach Ruben Rodriguez, Slusher comes to KCKCC after serving as the assistant coach for men and women at William Jewell College.
Part of a $4 million renovation opened in September of 2013, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s soccer field rivals some of the best in the world.
The same FieldTurf artificial surface used by the Tokyo Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars as well as such major universities as Columbia, Cornell, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisville, Texas, Oregon State and Washington State, it has been approved by the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), the world governing body of soccer.
heir unbeaten season ended Sunday, Kansas City Kansas Community College's young soccer Blue Devils will get a chance to bounce right back Tuesday when they entertain Blue River with the women's game at 1 p.m. followed by the men at 3 p.m.
Playing their second games in two days Sunday, both KCKCC teams were blanked by Southwestern College of Illinois. Bryan Mejia, Danny Hughey and Brandon Slewa scored the goals for Southwestern.
Kansas City Kansas Community College teams will get one more chance to end their losing streaks Saturday before they go on the road.
The Blue Devils will host the Conquistadors of Dodge City Saturday with women playing at 2 p.m. and men at 4 p.m. Both teams will then head out on the road for five contests before returning home Oct. 8 against Cloud County.