The Tyler Junior College Apaches concluded an unbeaten season with a 2-0 victory over Monroe (New York) College on a chilly Saturday night to win the NJCAA Division I Men’s National Soccer Championship at Pat Hartley Soccer Complex.
It was the fifth time for Steve Clements’ TJC squad to win the national title. Clements’ Apaches previously won the national championships in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014. It was the sixth straight time for TJC to appear in the national title game. It was the sixth crown for a Clements’ team as he led Meridian (Mississippi) to the championship in 2000.
Also, it is the second time that the Apaches competed an unbeaten and untied season - the first time was in 2009 (21-0-0). This season TJC finished 24-0-0. The 2010 team was unbeaten but had one tie to finish at 20-0-1.
“Very proud of our guys … they did what we asked them to do,” said Clements, who has taken the Apaches to eight national tournaments. “It was nice to win at home.”
It was also the 54th national championship for the TJC sports program, Dr. Tim Drain, TJC athletic director, said.
It was the first loss for the Mustangs of New Rochelle, New York. The squad finished as runners-up with a record of 19-1-0.
After a scoreless first half the Apaches’ attack was relentless against the Mustangs’ goalkeeper Svyat Kozak. He had three saves, but the Apaches rocketed two shots past him.
With 53 minutes showing, Michael Boakye scored. The freshman from East Hartford, Connecticut had the unassisted goal.
That’s the way it stayed until Mohammed Kamara, a freshman from Monrovia, Liberia, found the back of the next with 5 minutes and 22 seconds to play.
After Kamara scored he took a seat in the student section which had been cheering on the Apaches.
William Diaz, a sophomore from Vancouver, British Columbia was in goal for the clean sheet.
Kamara was tournament Most Valuable Player, while Clements was voted Coach of the Tournament.
TJC’s Yazeed Matthews and Boakye joined Kamara on the all-tournament team.
Other members of the all-tournament team were: Romario Piggott (Ancilla, Indiana); Ricardo Ramos (San Jacinto-South), Gabriel Viola (Iowa Western), Akeem Prawl (Trinidad State, Colorado); Brandon Berg (Daytona State, Florida); Victor Silva (Cloud County, Kansas), Gianluca Marchetti (Ancilla, Indiana), Veux Mane (Monroe, New York) and Gabriel Machado (Monroe, New York).