GUAM FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

LOA Heat makes first finals appearance in Budweiser League

[May 25, 2018 - Harmon, Guam] Lots of Art Heat rightfully earned its championship-caliber status as the team heads into the final match of the Budweiser Men’s Soccer One League set for 7 p.m. Sunday at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

The league’s eighth-ranked team shattered all doubts from naysayers after first defeating No. 1 Islas de los Ladrones FC 6-5 in the quarterfinals and next, No. 4 Bank of Guam Strykers I 4-3 in the semifinals. No other team in the entire league had been able to defeat a stacked IDL FC team, which features the league’s Golden Boot winner Ashton Surber, the league’s Golden Glove winner Johann Noetzel, and several players with international playing experience for Guam.

The back-to-back wins guaranteed the Heat at least a top two finish and possibly its first-ever Budweiser Soccer League championship title. LOA Heat will next play four-time defending champions NAPA Rovers to cap its Cinderella story season.

“We’re definitely excited for the championship game – if we win or if we lose, as long as we can say we did our best, that’s all that matters,” said Keith Surber, who scored his team’s game-winning goal against IDL FC in the quarterfinals in stoppage time. “We definitely will try to make this game exciting for everybody, like we did in all of our other playoff matches, and we hope everyone is satisfied with the outcome, no matter what it is.

“The atmosphere that we’ve been in during the past week and a half, it’s been very positive and I really believe that is helping us prepare mentally for this upcoming match. In the end, it’ll be a matter of who plays harder, who wants it more – I can’t wait. I’m also just happy that people are happy to see us there,” added Surber, whose brothers Ashton and Seth both play for IDL FC.

The pressure is on the NAPA Rovers to defend their title, as well as to prevent another upset victory in the 2017-2018 season, which featured only one top division, combining teams normally playing in the Premier Division with teams in Division 2.

“Near the end of the season, we weren’t sure we could even make the playoffs,” said LOA Heat’s Gideon Tyquiengco. “I looked at the standings before our last two regular season games and it said our team was in 10th place. We figured that if we win our last two games and win by a good amount of goals, we’d be able to move up, which we eventually did. We went up as high as sixth place, but there were still make up games to be played by other teams. I thought, OK, as long as we won our two games, that’s all we could do at that point and hope for the best. It was a close call for us – we barely made it in, finishing in the eighth spot and now we’re going to the championship.

“We really have nothing to lose and everything to gain in our next game. Really, what we want is a good game for ourselves and for the fans,” Tyquiengco added.

The LOA Heat team featured in the Budweiser Soccer League for three consecutive seasons, with its first two in the league’s Division 2, Surber said. Before its inaugural season, players had been on rosters for different clubs.

“We were all playing futsal one day and thought, hey, we should put together a team to play in the men’s league,” said Keith Surber. “It didn’t cross our minds at that point to play to win a championship, but it was just so we could play together on the same team. With the cost to enter the league, we needed a sponsor and asked AJ (Root) to ask his Dad. We’re so fortunate to have Lots of Art sponsor our team – absolutely none of this would have been possible without support from our sponsors.

“On the field, I think our recent success comes from the entire team playing for each other and wanting to achieve the same goals together. Everyone on the team is equally important. We may not have the league’s best players on our roster, but we have a great team. Everyone has come a long way since we first started and we’d just like to thank everyone on the team and everyone who supports us.”

Prior to the playoff victories, Matson Southern Heat’s teams in the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League planned to have an awards ceremony for the club’s youth players in Merizo the day of the championship, but with the success of the men’s team, the ceremony has been moved to GFA so all players and parents can watch the match. Additionally, Surber and Tyquiengco are coaches for Team Mosa’s in the Bud Light Women’s Soccer League W2 Division and players will stay back to support their coaches, Surber said.

In addition to Surber and Tyquiengco, players on the LOA Heat roster include player/coach and Gideon’s father Cliff Tyquiengco, Riley Jones-Taijeron, AJ Root, Kennedy Taitague, Brandon Fujikawa, Jason Miller, Lance Chargualaf, Jan Flores, Kevin Leasiolagi, Tegan Brown, Fred Alig III, Devin Quinata, Matthew Calip, Charles Hambley, Dylan Fegurgur, Cody Maestrecampo, Austin Rioja, Justin Johnson, and Ryan Root.

 

Lots of Art Heat's Keith Surber manages to avoid a slide tackle to stay in possession of the ball as teammate Gideon Tyquiengco provides support behind him in a Budweiser Men's Soccer One League regular season match against Bobcat Rovers in this file photo taken at Guam Football Association National Training Center. LOA Heat, ranked No. 8 in the league going into playoffs, will play in the championship match against four-time defending champions NAPA Rovers Sunday at 7 p.m.

 

Lots of Art Heat's Riley Jones-Taijeron moves to gain possession of the ball in a Budweiser Men's Soccer One League regular season match against Bobcat Rovers in this file photo taken at Guam Football Association National Training Center. LOA Heat, ranked No. 8 in the league going into playoffs, will play in the championship match against four-time defending champions NAPA Rovers Sunday at 7 p.m.

 

Lots of Art Heat's Austin Rioja focuses on the ball as he makes his way through the midfield in a Budweiser Men's Soccer One League regular season match against Bobcat Rovers in this file photo taken at Guam Football Association National Training Center. LOA Heat, ranked No. 8 in the league going into playoffs, will play in the championship match against four-time defending champions NAPA Rovers Sunday at 7 p.m.

 
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