Harrison, NJ - Hours before New York Red Bulls GK Bouna Coundoul's mistimed his attempt to make a save, resulted in a 1-1 tie against the Chicago Fire, their loyal supporters from the South Ward, the Viking Army, hosted the Viking Army Invitational 2011 Pegasus Cup.
Taking place at the Harrison Courts in New Jersey, Sunday's Pegasus Sporting Goods round-robin tournament featured the Viking Army, New York Reds (Manchester United Supporters) and Peña Madridista NYC Futbol Club.
This tournament was all Viking Army as they dominated their way to the Pegasus Cup by outscoring their opponents 16-3. In the opening match of the tournament, the Viking Army won 6-0 over Manchester UTD REDS NYC. They carried their flow in their second match against Pena Real Madrid as they won 6-1.
The third match of the morning featured Manchester UTD REDS NYC and Pena Real Madrid NYC. In a match where the winner would face the Viking Army in the Championship match, both teams battled hard. While both teams advanced the ball well, neither side was able to produce a goal. With the possibility of a shootout taking place, Pena Real Madrid NYC scored the game winner to win over Manchester UTD REDS NYC.
In the Championship Match, the Viking Army jumped to a 3-0 lead before Pena Real Madrid NYC made a furious rally as they went on a 2-0 run to make the score 3-2. However, just as the momentum swung towards Pena's way, the Viking Army was able to make one more charge as they took a 4-2 lead in the waning minutes.
Following the trophy presentation, we headed to the Greenroom to watch the New York Red Bulls tie the Chicago Fire. Despite the Red Bulls winning only once in their last 10 games, I'm more than confident the Viking Army and the entire South Ward will continue to support their team.
While they may have been playing for the Pegasus Cup, they were also playing for charity. All proceeds from Sunday's tournament went towards the nonprofit organization created in honor of Private Nicholas Madaras, Kick for Nick.
Out of the Supporters Clubs the New York Red Bulls have, I will admit that I have a close relationship with the Viking Army. Considering that I'm a proud Borough Boys member who grew up loving the New York Cosmos goes to show you how much respect we have for each other.
What impresses me most about the Viking Army is their commitment to their community. While it's easy to see them as a bunch of Red Bulls fans who proudly cheer for their beloved Red Bulls, I see them as humanitarians and mentors to their younger generation of members.
As their membership continues to grow, I can envision this tournament as well as their charity drives growing each year. While we may probably never root for the same team, I have no reservation in watching a game a with them or covering an event that they're hosting.
Of course, I'll be sure to wear a Cosmos green shirt.
From the Website: While home on leave from Iraq in July 2006, Private Nicholas Madaras rounded up as many soccer balls as possible to bring back to the children near his post. Being a passionate soccer player, he wanted to give the balls to the children as a gesture of good will. Unfortunately, Nick was killed by an IED on September 3, 2006 and was never able to distribute the balls himself. Instead we have taken up a crusade on his behalf to fulfill his dream…
Shortly after Nick’s passing Kick For Nick was started when Ken Dartley of Wilton, CT contacted Shalini and Bill Madaras after reading about Nick’s passion for the sport and his desire to share this love with the Iraqi children. Ken wanted to start a program of collecting soccer balls in Nick’s honor to fulfill Nick’s wish to share his passion.
The support for Kick For Nick has been worldwide and letters have been received from people from many different countries. Soccer balls have been received from 45 of the 50 United States.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press & USSoccerPlayers.com; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at email@example.com and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.