In their first friendly match in America the starlets of FC Johansen started with a big bang when they defeated their opponent the University of Las Vegas U-18 side by three goals to one (3-1).
Barely ten minutes into the first half, midfielder Sorie Marrah opened the scoring closely followed by Team captain Issa Koroma aka ‘Madam’ who scored in the 15th minute of play. For the rest of the first half FC Johansen ran the UNLV Boys ragged, all thanks to a new found confidence that stemmed from the fact that the University organizers of the friendly earlier on loaned FC Johansen their second choice keeper.
Just 48 minutes into the second half, Saidu Sankoh scored a stunning goal from 25 yards to put the game well beyond the reach of the University lads. In the dying minutes of play the UNLV Boys got a consolation goal meaning the match ended 3-1 in favor of FC Johansen.
FC Johansen’s winning streak and good fortune will continue unabated, hopefully culminating into a mature, cohesive and disciplined team that will eventually represent Sierra Leone at the Senior National level and bring the much needed laurels in the field of soccer.
FC Johansen’s remarkable performance and exemplary comportment during the four matches they played have earned them a most sought after invitation by the University of Nevada in Las Vegas to play the College’s U18 side in front of nearly 50 recruiting coaches from around the country.
There’s plenty of talk about the vivid possibility of one or more of the Boys getting picked and offered a scholarship with all its attendant facilities.
FC Johansen’s eye catching performance picked up and raced on when Coach Jonathan Rhodes popularly referred to as Coach Puzzy was signed on by Team President and Manager Madam Isha Johansen in April 2008. Within that period under Coach Puzzy, FC Johansen played a total of 19 games, Won 10, Drew 3 and Lost 6. In July-August last year Coach Puzzy took the team to The Mitnorden Cup in Sweden and came away proudly with the Silver medal. At the just concluded City of Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Youth Soccer Showcase 2009, FC Johansen came a respectable 3rd position in the United States of America.
The team arrived in Las Vegas quite safely after nearly 13 hours flight from Madrid via Brussels. According to Craig Galati, International Team Coordinator for the Las Vegas Mayors Cup International showcase, the tournament to which FC Johansen of Sierra Leone is invited, is platinum rated and one of the most competitive youth soccer tournaments in the United States.
FC Johansen is the first and only African team to participate in this tournament in its 9 years of existence. Jointly hosted by the City of Las Vegas and the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club, this years competition attracted teams from Australia, Dominican Republic, Germany, a number of teams from Mexico, about 37 teams from Canada ranging from Toronto to Vancouver, and teams within the US, both in the Boys and Girls categories.