Big congratulations to Leander's Vandegrift High girls, who became the first Austin-area team to win a UIL state soccer championship. The Lady Vipers survived a semifinal shootout, before beating Wylie East, 1-0, in the final Saturday afternoon at the Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex. It was what happened next, though, that got Vandegrift's win into the national news. As students and fans poured onto the field to celebrate with the team (counter to district policy), Georgetown PD Officer George Bermudez was caught on video – by Fox Sports and students with cell phones – tripping a student as he ran by, trying to trip another, and shoving two young girls hard enough that one appears to fall down. By Sunday morning, the video had gone viral, the story had been picked up by national media, and Georgetown PD was feeling the heat. Officer Bermudez has since been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation, and at press time the video is still on the 10 Most Shared list on USA Today Sports.
The Austin Aztex signed four more players this week, including the MVP of last year's USL Super-20 Championship, Bubacarr Jobe. Jobe, a 19-year old striker now from the Woodlands, arrived in the U.S. from Gambia alongside Kekuta Manneh, who played with the Aztex two years ago and is now in the MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps. So Jobe will arrive here with lots of expectations; if he can handle that pressure, we could be in for a treat this year. Also new to the now-20-man roster: Justin Franz, a 22-year-old midfielder from Austin, returning for his third season with the Aztex; Kalen Ryden, 23-year-old defender from Norman, Oklahoma; and Tom McMahon, 19-year-old goalkeeper from Nassau Bay, Texas... The Aztex hosted a panel discussion April 17 at the Long Center, with reps from Brazilian clubs Fluminense and Coritiba talking about youth development strategies, to representatives from eight local youth soccer organizations. Cool... The Aztex got a hat trick from Jacob Powell Friday night, to beat the UT Men, 4-3; their preseason continues with a match at St. Edward's University at 5pm Saturday, April 26. The USL-PDL title defense begins with the regular season opener at House Park on Saturday, May 10 hosting the Houston Dutch Lions. All preseason games are free; season tickets are now on sale at www.austinaztex.com: a package of eight flex tickets is on sale for $50 through May 10, when the price goes up to $60.
In European Champions League semifinals this week, Chelsea managed a stodgy scoreless draw at Atletico Madrid, while Real Madrid made an early goal stand up to beat Bayern Munich, 1-0. The return legs, in Munich and London respectively, are at 1:45pm Tue.-Wed., April 29-30, live and streaming on Fox Sports... Before that, get up early Sunday morning to catch what could be the decisive game as Liverpool chases their first English Premier League title in 24 years. They host second-place Chelsea at 8am on NBCSN... The much-anticipated axe fell Monday at the most valuable sports franchise in the world: David Moyes, hand-picked successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, didn't make it through a full year as coach of the Red Devils. Fan favorite Ryan Giggs will take over and try to salvage a Europa League bid from the final four games, but is said not to be a candidate for the permanent job.