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The Assyrian National Games in Arizona

September 6, 2008

 

Phoenix, Arizona – Seven Teams from Canada and the USA participated  in the Annual Assyrian Championships organized by the United Teams of Arizona.
The seven teams represented some of the teams across Canada and the USA: Toronto Winged Bull (Canada), Assyrian Red Devils (Chicago), San Jose, Modesto, Eagles (Arizona), Winged Bull (Arizona), Babylon (Arizona).
Competition was always fierce from the beginning to the end.
 
On Sunday Aug 31st 2008, the Toronto Winged Bull soccer team registered its second Assyrian National Championship in 8 years as they were crowned as the champions after winning the Final in Phoenix, Arizona against their new rivals, the Arizona Winged Bull soccer team. The game ended 2-2 in regulations time, and after a 1-1 Extra time hard fought competition only to see the champions decided by penalty shoots were the Toronto Winged Bull Soccer team was a perfect 5 from 5 (Diglos Sarkis, Danny Jirta, Malek Zibara, Johnny Yacou and Danny Jato)

The Toronto Winged Bull started the competition under an over 95 degree heat that the players were not used to before and playing their 1st game against an Arizona team that was every bit accustomed to that heat and trying to also get to have all the players that were put together for this tournament without a single practice together.
 
After leading for most of the game, the heat got to the players only to be handed their one and only disappointment in the tournament in a 3-0 loss. As coach Layth Jato puts it, this loss was the best thing that happened to the team in it's first day as it brought the team together to realize what they are facing and going against from weather and other factors. They followed with a 1-0 win against the Modesto Team and a 3-0 win against the Babylon Soccer team of Phoenix to make it to the semi finals against the very strong Chicago Red Devils team (formerly Chicago Winged Bull). The Chicago team which has been playing for many years together, and has been preparing for this tournament for some time and proved it by scoring 2 early wins with 7 goals and none against to win their group.
 
It was a test of character more than skills to go against this Chicago team as the Toronto Team included few young Chicago players that were left out of the Chicago Red Devils and the Toronto Team was co-coached by non other than Razouk Mirza who was a player with the Red Devils players for many years. The game started with a very quick Toronto Team that took the game to Chicago only to score their first goal in the first 15 minutes and to follow with another later in the half to lead 2-0.
 
What followed was a great mystery as the Chicago team, mysteriously gave up and allowed one of their suspended red carded players that was not to play in this game to play, which made everything that followed that moment irrelevant as the Chicago team was considered disqualified at 2-0.
 
The Final was a rematch of Toronto's 1st game which they lost 3-0, but this was a different game. The game had both teams from the same group 1 playing their 5th game under the same scorching heat and condition. It was for the stronger to win as the game ended 2-2 and despite the complaints of the Toronto players and coaches for a disallowed goal in the last minute, the game went to extra time.
 
The Toronto Winged Bull started with a goal in the 4th minute and as the game looked like it was going to finish 3-2 for Toronto, a wild shot surprised everyone including the Arizona players by finding its way to the goal to have the game go to penalty shots.
 
After the Toronto Goalie, Rocky Mansour, saved an amazing penalty shot the referee allowed it to be replayed back only for him to come back again later to save another shot which all the perfect penalty shooters of Toronto needed to win the game and repeat as champions after long 8 years.

 
 
 
 

Last Updated :July 21, 2016

 
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