On Saturday October 28, a collection of soccer players with origins spanning from Trenton to Jordan traveled to the Proving Grounds at Conshohocken, PA to battle an undefeated Essex team for a championship title.
Coming into this game with 16 wins under their belt Mercer was faced with the task of playing the underdog role against an Essex team that hadn’t lost a game dating back to October of 2016.
A silence swept over the crowd as the first period began, Mercer starting on offensive, as the crowd sat in still anticipation, waiting for the first team to score. The Essex’s Cheerleading squad lead different routines from the side.
Both teams fought back and forth flinging the ball from one end of the field to the other. Mercer scored the first goal in the last two minutes of the first half. The crowd of only a handful of Mercer and Essex fans celebrated accordingly.
As says “It’s us and the players families.” Mercer’s soccer team is almost all international with only two American born players. As the game went on one the the spectators constantly updated Facebook to let the families in other countries know
The Vikings and Wolverines fought until the end of the first half, Mercer in the lead by one goal. This wasn’t the end of the battle as Coach Widmarc Dalce said to his team in a halftime speech, “This game is gonna be ugly, it’s not gonna be pretty.”
The second half started off with a bang as the teams caught their second wind and halfway through Mercer goal keeper Francesco Zanin lunged head first into a cleat to catch the ball before it was scored. He had a scoreless first half letting only one goal in on the second, and have his only save resulting in an injury. Which was sustained by diving head first.
Both he and the player he head-butted from The Wolverines went down. The Essex players walked off the field, while Zanin stayed down, both coaches ran onto the field, wrapped his head, and much to the disbelief of the audience, he stood up and played for the rest of the game.
Mercer scored two more goals within this time, and Essex, though fighting very hard, scored only one goal. When asked to talk to the fans, they refused to comment.
As the game went on both teams never stopped fighting until the end of the second buzzer, Mercer winning by two. The energy on the field still radiating afterwards as the teams shook hands, an emotional time for both teams, as one is seen upset and sad from their loss, while the other celebrated their victory.
After the game. Player Chadwagn Johnson told The VOICE that the Essex team had a great season, and that he is looking hopeful to next year.
Emiliano Fama, a second year soccer player for Mercer said “The team build up confidence throughout the year, and all all that confidence we showed here on the field today.”
If Mercer beats Monroe they will be headed to the National Championships.