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Sarzonia Sporting Newsfeed (CLOSED)

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Sarzonia
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Sarzonia Sporting Newsfeed (CLOSED)

Postby Sarzonia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:12 am

[OOC: Unless I specifically authorise you to post here, do not post to this thread.]

Unlike the majority of newsfeeds here, this one will typically not deal with domestic sports.

This one will be more of a repository for stories about Sarzonia's international teams that don't see the light of day in other threads. [OOC: Including post-mortems after Sarzonia has been eliminated from a tournament where I get inspiration to write after a champion's already been crowned and I don't wanna steal their thunder.]

With this being a thread for Sarzonia sport, I ask that you not post here unless I explicitly invite you.
Last edited by Sarzonia on Mon Jan 24, 2022 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sarzonia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:32 am

Following Sarzonia's defeat in the quarterfinals of the 49th World Baseball Classic to eventual third placed team Cassadaigua, the Board of Governors of the Incorporated Baseball Federation were in the beginning stages of evaluations. They would evaluate everything from manager Geoff Yancey's performance to the state of the team and what improvements it would need to make to go on a deeper run through the knockout rounds.

First of all, the Board is said to be pleased with Yancey. Over the course of two group stages, the former Stars bench coach and hitting coach has a combined record of 39-20, qualifying the Stars for the knockout rounds in both World Baseball Classics. Sarzonia won its group despite a 19-11 record and were the eighth seed facing ninth seeded Hampton Island, which entered the tournament with a 20-10 record, one game better than the Stars. Sarzonia took a two-games-to-none series lead, torching Hampton Island for 20 runs in the first two matches of the series before the offence faltered and scored a combined four runs in the last three games en route to a three-games-to-two series defeat.

The next World Baseball Classic saw the Stars in a virtual Group of Death with second ranked Banija and 10th ranked Liventia joining the Stars. However, Sarzonia made it out of the group, splitting six games with Banija and winning five of six from Liventia en route to a 20-10 record that was only one game worse than Banija's. Sarzonia's reward for their second placed finish was a matchup against longstanding multi-sport rivals Delaclava. In a reverse of Sarzonia's World Baseball Classic 48 performance, this time the Stars had the better record by one game over their higher-seeded unranked opponents. The result would essentially mirror the previous Classic as Sarzonia came back from a two-games-to-one deficit to defeat the Phoenixes in five. First baseman Cody Frazier stepped in to pinch hit with the Stars trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth and hit a three-run homer to give the Stars the victory.

Sarzonia would later battle against world No. 1 Cassadaigua, losing Game 1 despite a heroic pitching effort from Jeff Parrish and winning Game 2 with Jamie Pearson on the mound. Games 3 and 4 did not go well for the Stars despite having the designated hitter as the home team. However, Yancey could be excused for losing to the world's top ranked side in four games of a best of five series.

"We have a bright future ahead of us," Yancey told reporters from his office at Fleetwood Park in Woodstock. "We're in the beginning phases of deciding how we're going to approach our roster for the next World Baseball Classic."

Questions about whether to continue using the designated hitter or employ pitchers hitting would likely be forefront on the team's minds. Luke Brinkley brings a lot of power to the lineup, but his glove is a liability at first base. Frazier is a gold glove-calibre first baseman, but other than his homer against Delaclava, he's usually not known for the pop in his bat. Clearly, the Stars don't want to lose the home run threat brought to the table by Brinkley, but they also want Frazier's glove defensively. Yancey suggested the team might explore adding more home run threats to the lineup if they end up eschewing the DH.

As far as pitching is concerned, lefthanded starter Uriel Jimenez was the odd man out as the most recent WBC went on. He was relegated to the bullpen and only saw three forgettable innings against Cassadaigua during that series. As Jimenez faltered, nominal third starter Jeff Parrish emerged as a would-be ace, pitching some of Sarzonia's best games and ending up becoming the Game 1 starter against the Fillies. Yancey said he and Mark Conroy, widely considered the ace of the staff, would have an "open competition" for the Opening Day starter for WBC 50.

"It's not a slight on Conroy," he said. "Parrish has been huge for us when it's mattered most. We're considering starting both guys 1-2, but the one is where the question is going to be."
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Postby Sarzonia » Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:59 am

Steckhall retained as Sarzonia gridball manager

The Incorporated Gridball Federation made official what the speculation in recent days has been by retaining Les Steckhall as manager of the Sarzonian national gridball team following its 6-4 record in World Bowl XL qualifying.

The Stars are 10-10 since their return from an extended absence from the gridballing world, though they are 10-7 since Steckhall stepped up from being the offensive coordinator of the Portland Pirates to become the head coach of the Stars.

"We are pleased to continue the contract of Les Steckhall for another World Bowl," a spokeswoman for the IGF Board of Governors said. "The team have responded well to his leadership and his humility and we firmly believe he has the Stars heading in the right direction."

In Sarzonia's first World Bowl appearance after a lengthy absence, the Stars started out 0-3 under former manager Tim Gates, who abruptly resigned after Portland Pirates coach Gil Spencer declined his request to interview Steckhall to serve as offensive coordinator. Gates then resigned and the IGF named Steckhall the manager. Steckhall retained Gates's previous coaching staffs through both World Bowl appearances and he said he's likely to retain "as much of the staff as humanly possible," in World Bowl XLI.

"That's what I intend," he said. "But if someone has an opportunity elsewhere to become a manager or a coordinator, I'm not going to prevent them from getting that opportunity," he said. "Or if they feel a change of scenery is better for them for whatever reason, I'm not going to turn them down." He gave a look to the media that seemingly implicated Spencer for declining him the opportunity to serve as offensive coordinator under Gates. When asked about Spencer, Steckhall simply replied, "next question."

"You're not going to talk about Coach Spencer?"

"No I'm not. Next question."

Spencer told a media outlet that he attempted to reach out to Steckhall to attempt to bury the hatchet, but "Steck wasn't interested.

"I'm disappointed," Spencer told the assembled media. "I really believe in forgiving people."

"I don't," Steckhall snapped back. "He can go fuck himself for all I care."
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Postby Sarzonia » Mon Jan 25, 2021 7:01 am

Woodstock Daily Mail
Stars lax axes Harbour


By Cayden Wagner
Daily Mail Staff Writer


Following Sarzonia's 4-2 quarterfinals defeat to Abanhfleft in the World Lacrosse Championships, the Sarzonian national lacrosse team announced that it has dismissed top assistant manager Bill Harbour from the team.

The Stars finished 7-1 in WLC 36 after a runners up finish in the fourth Atlantian Oceania Lacrosse Championships, where it went 8-1 with a defeat to Banija in the final in Woodstock.

"We thank Bill for his many years of dedication to this team, but we felt it was time for us to go in a different direction," manager Jordan Helms said in announcing the decision, one he said he reached in the dressing room after Sarzonia's defeat to Abanhfleft, but decided to "sleep on it" to make sure the decision wasn't just a knee-jerk reaction to defeat.

Helms said there were a number of factors in his decision to fire Harbour, and admitted that his speaking out over the discord within the Cassadagan lacrosse team was among them. He added, however, that he'd retained Harbour after the Stars fired manager Carter Whitlock and felt it was time to begin putting his own stamp on the team.

"When I was offered the job, I wanted to see if anyone who was here wanted to stay on and potentially be 'my guys,'" Helms said, adding that he used the term "guys" to refer to anyone regardless of gender. "Bill and I had a good working relationship, but I feel as though it was time for us to fully embrace a new culture here in Woodstock."

Harbour issued a statement thanking Helms for the opportunity to work with him for two AOLCs and two WLCs, adding that he thought Helms did "an admirable job" stepping in for Whitlock, who is still highly revered in Sarzonian lacrosse.

"I have tremendous respect for Jordan and everything he's been able to accomplish," Harbour said. "I leave my tenure with Sarzonia with my head held high and with tremendous pride in the me-- uh, people who played for this team." Harbour did not answer any questions, opting to leave the podium after reading his prepared statement.
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
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Postby Sarzonia » Sun May 02, 2021 10:31 am

If you win one championship, you're known as a championship-winning manager. It could be a fluke run with Margaret having fun at a favourite's expense. It could be the stars aligning just perfectly on any given night or any given time.

When you win two titles from three attempts as Katie Sampson did with the Sarzonian national Aussie Rules Football team, the prospect of a fluke result no longer applies. Not when Sampson guided a team of essentially amateur players to a 20-3 record in three World Cups at the helm.

Vinny Roberts, identified by The Daily Boing as Baggieland's number one fan, praised Sampson's "tactical nous" in an interview about speculation that the Throstles might offer her an opportunity to replace the fired James Kennedy.

"We have world class players, stadiums, and training facilities," Roberts said of Baggieland's dedication to the code, "whereas Aussie Rules is a minority sport inside Sarzonia. She is a tactical genius."

Sampson for her part praised the players for being "receptive" and for bonding together as a cohesive unit.

"A manager is only as good as the players who suit up," she said. "I'm very proud of the players for being receptive when either [Stars assistant manager Corey Sands] or I offered feedback. "This wouldn't be possible without them."

Meanwhile, right halfback Dani Sayers was equally quick to heap praise on Sampson.

"She's great at putting us in the best position to win," Sayers said.

Even in a country that takes pride in providing equal opportunity to its citizens regardless of gender, the fact that Sampson is the first female manager of a predominantly male team still is a history making occasion. Sampson said she really hasn't thought about her place in history or the legacy her success creates.

"My focus is to win matches and bring a championship to Sarzonia," she said. "If a little girl sees me and is inspired, that's great, but I don't go thinking about it. Maybe after my career is over, I can look back. Right now, I'm focusing on the present and the future of the sport and our role in it.

Sampson said she was aware of the Incorporated Aussie Rules Federation Board of Governors' announcement of a planned contract extension with a massive salary increase in the works, but said that was up to her agent.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence in me," she said. "I don't like thinking about salary negotiations and that sort of thing." She said she was pleased to aid the Board of Governors in their efforts to establish a full professional league in Sarzonia. She planned to push for a meeting with the leadership of Baggieland's league to discuss the possibility.

Investment in the prospective new league is also a topic the Board is set to explore, but with the Sarzonian team winning the second title from three competitions, that prospect shouldn't be too difficult.

"Sarzonia loves a winner," said Aussie Rules football fan Joseph Lee. "If you win, we celebrate."

That's seemingly all Sampson has done during her tenure. And that success will likely leave a powerful legacy.
Last edited by Sarzonia on Sun May 02, 2021 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
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Postby Sarzonia » Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:49 pm

Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   Pts 
1 Rypien Riders 36 21 9 6 62 31 72
2 Tacoma Tigers 36 18 10 8 68 49 64
3 Portland Timbers 36 18 7 11 67 45 61
4 Woodstock Wild 36 16 6 14 62 55 54
5 Wilmington Whalers 36 15 6 15 47 44 51
6 Saugerties Snakes 36 15 6 15 32 30 51
7 Nicksia Knights 36 13 10 13 65 72 49
8 Portsmouth Spartans 36 12 9 15 39 55 45
9 Woodstock Justice 36 6 10 20 30 50 28
10 Portland Force 36 6 7 23 54 95 25
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
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Postby Sarzonia » Sat Dec 11, 2021 2:30 pm

The Incorporated States of Sarzonia have had a long, rich history outlined in various media of winning championships in a variety of sporting competitions, both niche sports and major tournaments.

Athletes representing Sarzonia have made podium appearances and at least qualified for the knockout rounds in a variety of sporting competitions, even beyond the trophy case at the Dave Wilson Athletic Complex in Woodstock. The following accounts for some of the other honours Sarzonia have won in the sporting sphere. (OOC: I'm running out of space in my signature so I'm creating this post and linking to it, lmao.)

Honour Roll:
First nation to win the NSWC Grand Slam (Baptism of Fire Cup, Cup of Harmony, World Cup, regional title)
Baptism of Fire Cup 3
Cup of Harmony 10
World Cup 22
AOCAF 12 and 29

NSWC (Nations) Hall of Fame (following World Cup 25). At the time of induction, Sarzonia became just the third nation after Rejistania and Eauz to advance to four consecutive World Cup semifinals. The Stars advanced to the proper in their fourth World Cup after their debut. They won the World Cup in their seventh cycle, defeating Oaker 4-0 in the final. Sarzonia's Brian Wilson became just the second player to score a hat trick in a World Cup final after Sani Luvo of Rejistania in their 4-3 defeat to Kaze Progressa. Wilson's hat trick was the first for a player on the winning side.
NSCF Coach of the Year: James Arthur, Woodstock City College (after NSCF 25)

Championships:
Football (Soccer)
Baptism of Fire Cup 3 (World Cup 16 cycle)
Cup of Harmony 10 (World Cup 18 cycle)
World Cup 22
Atlantian Oceania Cup of Association Football (XII and XXIX)
DiBradini Cup 8 (Under 21 World Cup 29)
World Indoor Soccer Championships I
NS World Cup of Masters I (35+ football)
Wonder Cup III (Return Of The Stars)* won by Sarzonian women's football
Three-time The Draggonnii Inviyatii champions

Gridball (American football)
World Bowl XI and XIV

College gridball
Sequoia Conference Champions (Woodstock University Mountain Climbers), NSCF 26

Aussie Rules Football
Aussie Rules World Cups I, III and IV (first repeat champion; first team to win multiple World Cups; Sarzonia have won three of four World Cups contested_

Basketball Four-time IBC champions (III, VII, VIII and IX)
Gold Coast Basketball Tournament

College basketball
Joe Gibbs University - NSCAA 1 Champions

Baseball
World Baseball Classic XVIII

Softball
World Softball Classic I

Field Hockey
Field Hockey World Championship/World Cup (XV, XVIII and XIX)

Lacrosse
Nine-time World Lacrosse Champions (III, V, VIII, XI, XVI, XXXVII, XXXVIII, IXL, XL), First successful fourpeat in WLC history. Currently the most championships in the sport's history
Champions Challenge Cup champions (2nd edition)
Atlantian Oceania Lacrosse Champions (III)

Quidditch
Two-time Quidditch World Cup champions (IX and XI), only nation to win multiple World Cups

Team Handball
Handball World Cup champions (XXIII)

Tennis
Five-time Scott Cup champions (II, III, VI, VII, and VIII); first repeat champions; first threepeat champions; most championships in Scott Cup history

We now take on the list of times when Sarzonia came up one match short of glory, the times when the Stars lost a championship final.

Runners-Up
Football (Soccer)
World Cup (24)
DiBradini Cup (XI)
AOCAF (V, XI, XXXI, XXXII)
Svoboda Cup II

Gridball (American Football)
World Bowl (X, XV)

Baseball
Keisler Cup (I)

Basketball
International Basketball Championships (IV, IV, VI, XI)

Ice Hockey
World Cup of Hockey (X)

Lacrosse
World Lacrosse Championships (IX)
Atlantian Oceania Lacrosse Championships (IV)

Tennis
Scott Cup (IV, V, IX)
World Team Tennis Championships (II)

Ultimate
Ultimate Cup II

Third Place Finishes (does not include tournaments where a third place playoff was not contested)

Football (Soccer)
World Cup (23, 49)
Cup of Harmony (76, World Cup 84 cycle)
AOCAF (I, III, IV)
Draggonnii Inviyatii (V)

Gridball (American football}
World Bowl (VIII)
Arena Bowl (Indoor Gridball) (0*, VI, VII)
*Tournament was called Sarzonian Indoor Gridball Cup and was retroactively referred to as Arena Bowl 0)

Baseball
World Baseball Classic (XIV, LI)
Senior Baseball World Series (I)

Aussie Rules Football
Aussie Rules World Cup (II)

Lacrosse
World Lacrosse Championships (IV, VII, XXXIII)
Atlantian Oceania Lacrosse Classic (I, II)

Tennis
Scott Cup (V & VI Sarzonia B)
World Tennis Championships (III)

Quidditch
Quidditch World Cup (II, III)

Gridball (American football)
World Bowl (VIII)

Ice Hockey
World Cup of Hockey (XI)
Atlantian Oceania Hockey Championships (VII)
XVI Winter Olympics (Liventia)

Handball
Handball World Cup (VII)

Chess
Elephant Chess Cup (II)

Fourth Place Finishes
Football (Soccer)
World Cup (XXV)

Gridball (American football)
Arena Bowl (indoor gridball) (VIII)

Volleyball
Volleyball World Expo (IX, XIII)

Lacrosse
World Lacrosse Championships (XXXV)

Handball
Handball World Cup (24)
Last edited by Sarzonia on Wed May 25, 2022 10:25 am, edited 10 times in total.
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
Our trophy case and other honours; Our hosting history

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Sarzonia
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Postby Sarzonia » Sat Dec 11, 2021 3:24 pm

Hosting

Football (Soccer)
World Cup 57 (co-hosted with Cafundéu)
Cup of Harmony 45, 47 (co-hosted with Rejistania and Saugeais, respectively)
NS World Cup of Masters (I-IV)
Mike Sarzo Memorial Trophy) (two editions)

Gridball (American football)
World Bowl (XIV)
Baptism of Iron (V)
Arena Bowl (N-III)*
*The Sarzonian Indoor Gridball Cup, considered the predecessor of the modern NS Arena Bowl, was retroactively named Arena Bowl Zero.

Baseball
Senior Baseball World Series (I)

Softball
World Softball Classic (I, II)

Lacrosse
World Lacrosse Championships (VI, VIII, IX, X), first four-time host and first to host three consecutive WLCs
Atlantian Oceania Lacrosse Championships (IV)

Handball
Handball World Cup (VII)
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
Our trophy case and other honours; Our hosting history

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Sarzonia
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Postby Sarzonia » Mon Jan 24, 2022 6:36 am

Code: Select all
My opponent, if they RP first, may do the following:
Choose my Scorers: Yes.
Choose Scoring Events: Yes.
Godmod Scoring Events: Nothing outside the realm of plausible basketball events.
RP Injuries to my Players:  Yes, but I will decide the severity.
Eject my players/coaches: Yes, but no more than one or two players and one or two coaches.
Godmod Injuries to my Players: No.
Godmod Other Events: Nothing outside the realm of plausible basketball events.
If you want to discuss something, either TG me or find me on Discord.
Style: 0


Sarzonia Stars

Home court: The Palestra, Woodstock (capacity 21,730)

Coach: Joy Knight, age 41. Retired from playing for a Sarzonian women's basketball team five years ago and has become the head coach of the Wilmington team in Sarzonia's women's league after serving as the Portland team's assistant coach.
Kyle Trenton, age 47. Becomes the lead assistant after the departures of both Thomas Manningham and Mario Bengtsen.
Thomas West, age 36. Oldest son of the late Henry West and oldest brother of Mike West. This is his first assignment as an assistant coach.

ROSTER (Note: No. 10 is retired in honour of Chris Draden)
12 G Ben Thomas, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, age 24
14 G Mike West, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, age 25 (the youngest son of Sarzonian hall of fame coach Henry West)
5 F Harold Blevins, 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, age 31
13 F Trent Klatt, 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, age 24
31 C Terry Rutledge, 7-foot-1, 265 pounds, age 29

Reserves
21 G/F Kent Bradley, 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, age 26
11 G Jayne Cruz, 6-foot, 170 pounds, age 29
15 G/F Ian Ross, 6-foot-7, 215 pounds, age 28
24 F Neil Caruso, 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, age 32
25 F/C Chad Ross, 6-foot-9, 236 pounds, age 25 (Ian's younger brother)
33 F Alton Parker, 6-foot-7, 226 pounds, age 28
35 C Cliff Gamble, 6-foot-11, 235 pounds, age 29
Last edited by Sarzonia on Mon Jan 24, 2022 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
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Sarzonia
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Postby Sarzonia » Tue Jan 25, 2022 1:35 pm

Woodstock Daily Mail

Arthur declines Stars OC job
Cites 'unfinished business' with Woodstock

From Staff Reports

Woodstock University gridball manager James Arthur declined an offer to become the offensive coordinator for the Sarzonian national gridball team after learning the Incorporated Gridball Federation would require him to leave his role as the Mountain Climbers' head coach, Arthur announced in a press conference in the media room at Friedgen Stadium on campus.

Arthur said he was honoured and "absolutely flattered" at being offered the position as offensive coordinator under Stars manager Gavin Davis, but when he went to negotiate with the IGF, he was advised he would be expected to devote his full effort to the national team. That was what caused the negotiations to fall apart.

"First of all, I want to thank Coach Davis for the opportunity to interview for the role with the national team," Arthur said. "I was absolutely flattered to have been given the opportunity to not only interview for the position, but to trade offensive philosophies with Coach. I was under the impression that I could both serve as offensive coordinator with the national team and as head coach of the Climbers, but when the IGF advised me they would not permit that, I decided to turn down the role. We have unfinished business here with this team, and I want to see this through and bring a NSCF title to the fans here at Friedgen Stadium."

Davis said he was disappointed with the outcome of the negotiations and said he was willing to allow Arthur to serve as coach of the Climbers in addition to offensive coordinator duties. He didn't comment on the IGF's requirement that Arthur resign as Climbers coach. However, a source familiar with Davis's thinking said Davis was "livid" with the IGF about its decision, adding that condition was not part of the discussions of the role.

"He was given the distinct impression that Arthur could handle both roles, and that like everyone else on his coaching staff, he would continue his domestic duties," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the discussion. "Gavin is livid. He considers it a bait and switch by the IGF."

Arthur said he would have been excited to assume offensive coordinator duties with the Stars in addition to maintaining his role with the Climbers, saying he felt there was a chance for the Climbers to "make serious hay" in NSCF 26 after a debut season in which the Climbers finished 10-5 overall. The then-Woodstock City College went 7-3 in Sequoia Conference play, finishing as the runners up behind conference champion Silverleaf University out of United Adaikes. The Goblins went 9-1 in conference play with their only loss being a 40-23 defeat to the Climbers at Friedgen Stadium. Silverleaf went 0-4 out of conference, finishing their season 9-5 with a 20-0 defeat to Trent State University in the playoff round.

The Climbers went 3-2 out of conference with a 57-27 rout of Crown's College out of Schima Bas and a 19-16 win away to Banija's Northern Moravica in non-conference regular season play. The Climbers upset Banijan school Loyola-Istria 20-17 in the first round before falling to eventual champion Raynor University out of Valanora 26-13. Arthur also fielded offers from SGL teams to serve as offensive coordinator or head coach, but Arthur turned down interviews, expecting to be offered the job as Stars offensive coordinator.

The Stars have announced they would resume their search for offensive coordinator, with Davis saying he's spoken to former Climbers offensive coordinator Dave Meyers, among others. Davis said he hopes to have a new offensive coordinator in place before the national team convenes a minicamp in two months.
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
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Sarzonia
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Postby Sarzonia » Mon Feb 28, 2022 3:01 pm

The final whistle had blown in the World Cup 90 final several days prior.

The Holy Empire had come out victorious against Permecutan, capturing the fifth title in that ancient nation's vast history. Permecutan may have fallen short of a Cinderfella run to a title, but they had certainly shown they belonged on the world stage.

Sarzonia manager Nathan Hanifer, now assured that he would, indeed, remain the team's field boss through at least the next edition of AOCAF, and he was aware the tea leaves were hinting at his return to World Cup 91 qualifying, was reflecting on that match even though the Stars had long since been eliminated from any contention for the sport's top prize. They'd also been booted out of the running for the sport's consolation prize, the Cup of Harmony, by an implacable foe, one who had long since been a thorn in Sarzonia's side. Starblaydia weren't just a footballing foe. Relations between Woodstock and Jhanna were famously frosty, and there was little to no movement toward warming them.

President Haffner and Senior Vice President and External Affairs Officer Tam Carter had long since decided that if there was to be some kind of rapprochement between Sarzonia and Starblaydia, it would have to be Jhanna making the first move. The limited indications from the Starblaydi interest section were that Jhanna also felt that Woodstock needed to make the first move, as the prevailing feeling there was that Sarzonia were the far more provocative of the two. Either way, bills proposing that Woodstock offer an olive branch to the Starblaydis died in House and Senate committees without any realistic chance of passing.

The latest defeat by Sarzonia, by a thrilling 4-3 final in the Round of 32 at the Cup of Harmony, certainly showed Hanifer the best of his more aggressive offensive system, but it also betrayed the worst aspects of the team's lighter emphasis on defence. Unfortunately for Starblaydia, they weren't able to parlay their top-10 world ranking into a Cup of Harmony title, as they fell one victory short of advancing to the final, getting small consolation with a third place finish.

More to the point, however, Hanifer was thinking about the champions. He was thinking about the fact that The Holy Empire ran through the entirety of the abbreviated qualifying stage, the three-match group stage and the World Cup proper knockout rounds with only one defeat. He knew the team that dealt The Holy Empire their lone defeat, as it was him who accepted the congratulatory handshake following Sarzonia's 2-1 triumph in The Dreamed Realm. The maxim was that a team that fell short of winning a championship hoped they would fall to the eventual champions. Sarzonia did just that in the opening match of World Cup qualifying in front of a sold out Dave Wilson Stadium in Woodstock. They also beat the eventual champions, giving them the "1" in an overall mark of 17-3-1. The fact that the victory came in The Dreamed Realm, and, in fact left Sarzonia with an overall mark of 1-2-2 against The Holy Empire lent credence to the work Hanifer was striving to accomplish with his team.

The Stars may not have arrived back in the Proper just yet after Kevin Connelly's shock Cinderfella run five cycles hence. But Sarzonia were heading in the right direction, and Hanifer could point to results against the elite sides in world football as an example.
Former WLC President. Current member of the IBC and WBC Councils and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
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