We are extremely excited to have Andrew Moore coming back to Huntsville to join the USC staff. His story, and the story of his United Soccer Club 96 Boys team, is really the story of USC, the story of David and Goliath.
Andrew Moore played with USC since its inception in 2007 and his team was among the first four teams formed at USC in our inaugural season. In his first season, his team had only 6 players, and played an entire season of games and tournaments in the 8v8 format. The USC way is team first, and as a family, we taught all parents, coaches, and players that soccer is a team sport, and everyone needs to do their part to help contribute to the overall success of the team and the program. Every family bought into that philosophy, and players from the age group below (97 Boys) did their part to play in extra games and tournaments all season that year and helped the USC 96 Boys get through a tough season standing tall and ready to conquer their future. With the dedicated perspective, confidence and vision of USC Director, and coach of the 96 Boys, Phil Moyer, the team was in great hands. Coach Phil knew in faith, the team would be successful win, lose or draw a single game. They also had a team manager who set the standard for USC in how to manage and lead a team with unwavering faith, USC Vice President (and Andrew’s mom), Lisa Moore. With Coach and Manager being unified in positive attitude and determination to see all the boys succeed, the team grew year by year in number and in talent. They moved from Division 3 to Division 2, and eventually to Division 1. They were marginally competitive in Division 1 during the U16/17 seasons. During these seasons Coach Paul Tedesco (Andrew’s uncle), moved into the role of Head Coach for the 96 Boys. During his senior season, Andrew captained the USC 96 Boys Premier to their most successful season ever. They competed at an extremely high level in state league Division 1, and went into the U18 State Tournament as a five seed. In the first round of playoffs, they defeated a team from Mobile by significant margin, and then lost 5-0 to the top team in the state from Vestavia, who had been state champions every year since U14. USC advanced to the semi finals to face their nemesis - Birmingham Legends (Formerly BUSA) the number 2 team in state, whom they had never defeated. They had drawn a couple of times, but never beaten. Up 2-0 at half, USC was playing their best game ever, but The Legends were a very tough side and not to be denied. They scored midway through the second half, and then equalized with less than 10 minutes left in the game. With less than 5 minutes to go in the game, the Legends were in front of an open goal and saw USC hopes at glory disappearing, when captain Andrew Moore, dug down deep inside remembering all the years of struggle, all the years of hard work, and found a way to get in front of a ball that was destined for the back of the net and cleared the ball away from the goal, the way you are supposed to, into the trees, into the parking lot. He made a stand in that moment, that he was not ready to give up, that USC were not going to lose. Moments later, top goal scorer in the state, Dylan Creasy scored a deadly goal, like he had done so many times that season, to secure the 3-2 victory for USC, and propel them onto the finals, to face the perennial giants, Vestavia 96 Boys Black. Having just been dismantled by Vesatvia 5-0, a week before in state preliminary play offs, USC faced a daunting task going into the Championship match.
The USC Coaches, Paul Tedesco, Phil Moyer, Mike Latty, and Rusty Campbell, collaborated over 35 years of passion and experience in the game, to come up with a game plan. Catenaccio or The Chain is a tactical system in football with a strong emphasis on defence. USC 96 Boys Premier went into the game with a focus, and a steel determination like never before. The defense led by captain Andrew Moore was supported by the best goal keeping performance of his career for Chase Ballard. USC committed to defending and counter attacking to create a frustrating and difficult first 20 minutes for their opponent, and eventually it proved successful, when Dylan Creasy found the back of the net in the most unusual looking of goals hitting a sideways scissors kick off the outside of his foot from the top of the 18 off of a corner kick. USC was up 1-0, and for the next 10 minutes endured an onslaught of attacks from Vestavia that found them wanting and frustrated leaving the last 15 minutes of the half without questions, and ideas to try and break the defense. Halftime came, and USC were focused, but with question marks in all of their heads, including all of the coaches, could we keep this up? Could we hold them off? Second half started, and the boys went right back to work, hustling, fighting, and committing to supporting one another from side to side of the field, end to end. The clock seemed to pass quickly 10 minutes at a time in the second half, and 20 minutes into the second half, USC striker Miguel Medina found himself down in the corner of the Vestavia goal box at the end of a long serve, and 1v1 with the 6’6” center back for Vestavia. With one swift touch he nutmegged the defender bringing him down to his knees, and with his second touch he buried the ball near post upper 90 right over the keepers outstretched hand. It was 2-0 with 25 minutes to go, and USC were starting to wonder if they were going to pull this off. The anticipation at this point was beyond exhilarating, as parents, players and coaches tried to keep their poise and focus on the task as the boys committed, and sacrificed, and worked tirelessly to continue on towards the dream. With roughly ten minutes left in the game, Dylan Creasy broke down the right wing and sent shock into the entire Vestavia defense causing their entire back line to panic because of his deadly pace and finishing ability. They all sold out and sprinted to the right side of the field to close him down and stop him, and then Dylan did the unthinkable. Dylan was not known for his passing skills, he was a pure attacker, who thought solely of how to get to the goal and score. And in a moment of genius, instead of carrying the ball and pressing forward on his own, he cut back across the grain splitting through three defenders and gently slipped the ball across the top of the 18 to the left hand side to a wide open Gito Costly who came streaking in from the left yelling “Dylan! Dylan!” Being a top class level player himself, Gito did what he was supposed to do, and buried the ball in the side net back post like a cool assassin in front of the goal (I would make a Fortnite reference here, but I am too old, and have not played the game yet, and still call it ForkKnife).
USC were up 3-0. At the 90th minute, the anticipation of the miracle was killing USC coaches and team manager. The ref allowed for 8 minutes of injury time…8 minutes…Vestavia were able to pull one goal back in the 94th minute. Coach Phil Moyer kept the sideline cool, and in the 98th minute, Captain Andrew Moore, and the USC 96 Boys Premier won United Soccer Club their first ever Alabama Soccer Association Division 1 State Championship.
It was a tremendous moment in our club history, and in many ways, the defeating of the giant from Birmingham, was very symbolic of the obstacles USC as a club had to overcome to grow in our community and state. We have worked hard to develop a program where people can enjoy a standard, and quality of experience that USC Staff and Leadership are capable of providing for members of our community who choose to be a part of our organization.
Andrew Moore went on to receive a scholarship at Mississippi College in Jackson, MS to play soccer for four years and pursue a degree in Finance where he graduated with Summa Cum Laude. He will take the LSAT soon and intends to go to Law School within a year. We are excited to have Andrew on staff, to join his former USC 96 Boys Premier team mates, USC Coaches Nacho Ibanez and Miguel Medina. He has also been doing an outstanding job the last several years coaching with Jackson Futbol Club in Jackson, MS. We look forward to Andrew sharing all of his experience and perspective with our USC teams.