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Doxa Italia post Second Consecutive Shutout en Route to a 2-nil Victory over LA Misioneros in CSL Play

Doxa Italia vs LA Misioneros – 10/05/13

Purtell Stud-scratch copy

On a warm October evening at the Village field in Manhattan Beach, Doxa Italia played host to CSL debutants LA Misioneros.

As the youth game finished just prior to Doxa and Misioneros taking the field, many families decided to stick around and catch the action between the two top-level amateur clubs.

The pregame chatter filled the sidelines and warm-up about the comfort and sleek look of the new Adidas F50 socks supplied by

The Doxa starting line-up welcomed back Ryan Purtell to anchor the center of defense along side Nas Koubouras. Joe Cartlidge and Justin Valashinas secured the flanks in front of Justin Commins in goal to complete the solid defensive quintet.

The match started with a bang, the pace was frenetic and Doxa enjoyed several smooth series of possession. Spectators were rarely allowed a glance away from the action as one-touch passes strung together throughout the Doxa squad created some fantastic opportunities for the home side.

The show the fans stuck around to watch certainly didn’t disappoint.

With chippy play infecting the match from the opening whistle, Doxa opted to play quickly to avoid getting caught in possession and negate the physical challenges early on.

However, Doxa never really developed a comfortable rhythm, as there were several incidents that came into question behind the play that lit the fuse to ignite the match into a chippy foul-fest that detracted from the quality of what could have been a very technical and tactical chess match of football by both sides.

Nearing the 25th minute of the match, a misplayed long ball by the Misioneros defense was cut out and collected by Doxa midfielder, Diego Turoldo who took the ball out of the air on his chest. With a couple of touches toward goal, Turoldo found himself in a pocket of space around 25 yards out, he peeked up at the goal keeper, refocused on the ball and struck a screamer that dipped just under the crossbar for the opening goal of the match. Surely the finish will collect votes as a candidate for goal of the season.

Doxa went straight back to work after going ahead 1-0 with more broken periods of possession, as everyone was eager to get a touch on the ball in attempt to keep the Misioneros chasing the game.

Doxa’s defensive organization from the front lines to the back has seen improvement under the recent guidance of coach Corey Prost, and Misioneros worked tirelessly to carve out a clear cut opportunity in the first half but failed to give Doxa goalkeeper, Justin Commins any work to do in the opening 45 minutes of play.

Doxa came out of halftime energized to build on their 1-0 lead.

The only change in the side from the first half line-up was Doxa’s creative attacking-midfielder, Steve Chirgwin exited the match with abdominal pain.

Mike Piechota slotted into the right side of midfield, pushing Turoldo further inside the center midfield.

Doxa began the second half positively and continued to press forward against the young Misioneros side.

Doxa’s brace came through around the 56th minute when some quick and precise build up found the ball at midfielder, Devin Toohey’s feet. Toohey threaded a brilliant ball forward to front-runner, Matt Upton. Upton’s touch got caught under his feet and he instinctively back heeled the ball into the path of midfielder Ricardo Figueroa who tucked in his second goal in as many games.

Much of Misioneros quality and success had come through the right side of midfield in the first half. Misioneros made some adjustments and got the ball in more advanced positions throughout the second half.

After whipping in some dangerous crosses and making Doxa’s backline work hard to keep the clean sheet intact, Nas Koubouras was forced into a sliding challenge to tackle away the ball from a Misioneros forward who found himself open on the back post, ball at his feet with Doxa goalkeeper, Justin Commins stranded on the near post.

Koubouras slid and cleared the ball off the Misioneros forward but possession was awarded back to Misioneros for a corner kick and Doxa’s focus was tested as they were forced to clear the corner from the back post while protesting to the referee.

Around the 65th minute, the fireworks lit off as the center referee failed to diffuse the bomb that had a burning fuse from early in the first half, despite instruction from his assistant referee on the near side.

An extremely late and reckless challenge, not the first one from the Misioneros player, caught Justin Valashinas in a painful tackle to his ankle. Similarly to the shenanigans from the first half involving Joe Cartlidge and this same Misioneros player, shoves were exchanged.

When the dust settled, Misioneros were reduced down to 10 players after a second caution was issued to the Misioneros offender. And to the shock and dismay of many observers, players, and coaches; Doxa was also reduced to 10 players after the referee determined Valashinas’ reaction deserving of a red card.

The match continued, however with the game clearly out of the referee’s control, several “chippy” fouls disrupted the flow of the remaining 25 minutes.

Doxa held onto the 2-0 lead and have now posted 180 minutes without allowing a goal against two quality opponents.


25th minute – Diego Turoldo (Unassisted)

56th minute – Ricardo Figueroa (Matt Upton)

Starting Line-up:

1. Justin Commins

2. Joe Cartlidge

3. Nas Koubouras

4. Ryan Purtell

5. Justin Valashinas

6. Diego Turoldo

7. Ricardo Figueroa

8. Devin Toohey

9. Kyle Holland

10. Steve Chirgwin

11. Matt Upton


Mike Piechota, Greg Piechota, Gabe Valencia, Richie Million, Pete Hazdovac, Pinder Nijjar, Danny Helbert, Nissa Hatifie, Spencer Shortland, Noah Rothstein

Is that Henna art?Purtell Stud-scratch

No! That’s Ryan Purtell, who was wrongfully whistled for a foul on the play in which he received this lovely accent to his tattoo.




Doxa Italia Bounce Back in CSL Play to Drop PSA 2-0

September 28, 2013 –

Over the weekend, Doxa Italia hosted familiar nemesis PSA Elite on a comfortable fall evening at the Village field in Manhattan Beach.

Doxa, playing with a shortened roster on the night, got the better of PSA in this early season match-up by a scoreline of 2-0.

The result comes off a difficult loss at Artesia the previous week.

And Doxa confirms consistency throughout the squad for the remainder of the regular season will prove to be an important factor in earning results.

On a night that saw much go right for the Manhattan Beach side, one thing went terribly wrong as Doxa players and supporters watched new signing Mario Picarelli turn for a ball close to the Doxa sideline near midfield and go down in agony midway through the first half.

Well wishes, thoughts and prayers are with Mario for a positive and speedy recovery and return to the Doxa squad.

In a hard-fought game that saw some physical challenges on both sides get waived to play on, Doxa converted on two opportunities to head into halftime up 2-nil.

Both sides exchanged spells of possession and probed one another’s backlines.

The opening goal came after some intricate play from the midfield. Mike Piechota, Ricardo Figueroa and Steve Chirgwin were involved in the build up that eventually found the ball at Piechota’s feet entering the box from the left side. Having a tight angle, he challenged the keeper with a ball shot low toward the far post. The PSA keeper got a firm touch on it but spilled it in front of the goal mouth where Kyle Holland pounced to but Doxa up 1-nil to the good.

Less than 10 minutes later, Doxa’s second goal was punched in and celebrated emphatically with the home supporters in the 12th man section at the north end of the pitch.

The opportunity came from solid defensive work from Ricardo Figueroa who picked the pocket of PSA’s central defender, took a few dribbles into the top of the penalty area and smashed in a left-footed shot to beat the keeper at the near post.

Both teams continued to look threatening with opportunities exchanged at both ends.

Doxa’s defensive organization held the line and earned the team’s first clean sheet of the new season.

Leave a comment on the Doxa Facebook page to cast your vote for Doxa’s Man-of-the-Match honors for the match against PSA Elite on 9/28/13.

Check in this week for the preview to Doxa hosting LA Missioneros at Manhattan Village, Saturday, October 5th scheduled for 8:00pm kickoff.


Doxa Starting Line-up:

1. Brandon Avery

2. Nas Koubouras

3. Joe Cartlidge

4. Mario Picarelli

5. Justin Valashinas

6. Devin Toohey

7. Ricardo Figueroa

8. Steve Chirgwin

9. Kyle Holland

10. Mike Piechota

11. Matt Upton

Substitutes: Greg Piechota, Gabe Valencia, Pinder Nijjar, Justin Commins


Former Doxa Manager, Coach & Captain joins the Coaching Staff at Danish Club FC Nordsjaelland

Derk FC Nord

Some people have been wondering and asking, “Where in the World is Derk Droze?” So what better time than now to share with you where I am! Last March I set off on an adventure to Europe. Back to a place I called home for almost 5 years, Denmark!!

After 8 wonderful years in the Los Angeles area, I decided to take a leave of absence from my job at Fox Studios to come back to Denmark to work as a volunteer assistant with a former soccer coach of mine at the Club he is currently coaching at professionally, FC Nordsjaelland.

FCN, located in North Zealand in the small town of Farum 20 minutes northwest of Copenhagen, plays in the top league in Denmark called the Danish Superliga.

Things couldn’t have gone any better as the Team went on an amazing run to end my first season as we clinched the Club’s first ever Danish Championship and an automatic birth into the group stages of the European Champions League!!!

During this period I came to learn much about the Club, the Coaches, the Players & the Staff. It took some time for things to fall in place, but I was eventually hired on as the Club’s first ‘Guidance & Development’ Coach! I can’t begin to tell you how exciting and amazing an opportunity this is to be working with one of the best Coaching Staff’s in Denmark, and arguably Scandinavia. I’m in great company and am learning and growing everyday!

The position itself is quite unique in the football world. Essentially I work closely with the first team players on a daily basis. I serve as an extra resource for the players to come to in dealing with things that come up on and off the soccer field. I work together with the Coaching Staff & the Administration serving as a link to Player Development & Integration. I especially work with all our foreign based players as well as our younger players making their way into the first team.

What a pleasure and joy it has been to come back to Denmark to work with my former coach, Flemming Pedersen, current First Team Coach at FCN. Flemming for me was one of the best coaches I ever had while I was a player, and to now have the chance to come back to work with him 10 years later is simply amazing! I also know Head Coach Kasper Hjulmand from my former Club Lyngby BK, where he used to be a youth coach before eventually becoming the head coach. FCN has so many great Coaches, it’s impossible not to thrive and learn in that environment. I’m blessed to be in such great company where I too can share my strengths and experiences!

For those interested in checking out our squad, or just to see the club website, check out

Stay tuned for future updates:-)

Derk Droze

Doxa Fall to Seattle Sounders in US Open Cup Action

Doxa Italia vs Seattle Sounders
Having qualified for the 1st round of the US Open Cup, Doxa Itialia traveled to Seattle and fell to a 5-1 loss. For Seattle Sounders U23, this was their first competitive test before entering PDL action and they were fired up. So much so, that they actually led 5-0 at half time.

Doxa made some changes at half and actually deserved to at least pull the game back to 5-3. A major missed call from a Justin Valashinas cross at the 73th minute, stopped Doxa from gaining a PK and pulling a second goal back, while Bryan Byrne was unlucky not to add to his goal tally when the keeper made a fantastic save off a header, and the inside of the post kept out a low angled shot soon after. Veteran, Sean Lockhart, played a huge role in Doxa’s improvement in the second half.

The report via Sounders website read as follows:

“Sumner, Wash. – TACOMA, Wash. – On a beautiful Tuesday night in Sumner the Sounders U-23 cruised to a 5-1 victory over Southern California club Doxa Italia in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup. They were led by forward David Geno’s four first half goals.

A raucous crowd of nearly 500 were treated to an onslaught of Sounders U-23 first half goals as the chances came quickly and often.

Head Coach and GM, Darren Sawatzky said, “Soccer’s a player’s game. A young guy from Tennessee (Geno) came out and said ‘This is why I want to be in Seattle.’ At the end of the day I think a lot of kids want an opportunity to showcase themselves in front of MLS coaches, and with Sigi and some of the staff here tonight it’s always good for them to get seen.”

In the 13th minute the Sounders U-23 got on the board first. Darwin Jones connected with a through ball into the box, took a look up at the goal, and sent a perfectly placed left footed shot toward the far post. The ball hit off the inside of the post and in for the early 1-0 lead.

Sounders U-23 goal keeper Zac Lubin was tested shortly after with a nice looking shot with power from Doxa midfielder Kyle Holland. Lubin was up for the challenge and sent the shot away, which was then cleared away from danger by the Sounders U-23 defense.

In the 19th minute Aodhan Quinn calmly walked a ball into the left side of the box. He sent a low driving ball toward the back post where a sprinting Mauricio DeLeon had timed his run perfectly. Doxa Italia goal keeper Justin Commins came up with a huge save considering the point blank range of DeLeon’s shot, but Geno was there to follow up. With the ball bouncing up into his body, Geno got himself into position, and side-volleyed it into the top of the net for his first goal and a 2-0 Sounders U-23 lead.

The Sounders U-23 got on the board for a third goal when Jones broke free in the box again in the 36th minute. He spotted his man Geno making a run in front of the goal and sent a precise pass toward the forward’s feet. Geno calmly placed his shot past the Doxa Italia keeper for the 3-0 lead.

Then the Sounders U-23 started to pour on the offense as Geno stuck another one in the net for his hat trick. This time, right-midfielder DeLeon sent a seeking ball into the box. With his back to the goal and on the run, Geno flicked the ball up and over his defender. The ball continued to sail and found its way over the keeper, just under the bar to extend the lead to 4-0.

By halftime the Sounders U-23 had extended their lead to 5-0 thanks to yet another Geno goal. Geno got onto the end of a through ball just outside the top of the box, beat the last Doxa Italia defender, and then slid his shot into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the half.

It was clear in the second half that the Sounders U-23 were focused on keeping possession of the ball as the pace slowed. They managed five shots on goal as opposed to the blistering 11 of the first half.

Then, the Doxa Italia side got on the board in the 68th minute off of a free kick just outside the Sounders U-23 box. Doxa took the free kick quickly catching the Sounders U-23 defense off guard. Doxa leading scorer Bryan Byrne snuck behind the defense and stuck his shot into the net, eliminating the shut out. However, despite a few more chances down the stretch, Doxa Italia could not overcome the deficit.

Sounders U-23 return to the action for a busy week on May 16 and May 19 in Premier Development League play. The Sounders head on the road to face the Portland Timbers U-23 on Thursday for an 11am match and then head up to Victoria for a Sunday afternoon contest.

In addition, with the victory on Tuesday, the Sounders U-23 advance for their first ever appearance in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. They will travel across the country to take on the Charlotte Eagles of the USL Pro league on May 21st.

Darren Sawatzky, said following the win, “The Open Cup is an exciting competition for these players. It gives them a chance to showcase their ability against professional players and we are looking forward to Tuesday’s game in Charlotte.”

For more news and all things Sounders U-23, visit, follow us on Twitter: @SoundersU23, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Scoring Summary:
SEA – Darwin Jones 13’
SEA – David Geno 19’
SEA – David Geno (Darwin Jones) 36’
SEA – David Geno (Mauricio DeLeon) 38’
SEA – David Geno 45’
DOX – Bryan Byrne 68’

Doxa Italia – Justin Commins, Justin Valashinas, Ryan Purtell, Joe Cartlidge, Nissa Hatifie (Eddie Pinto 45), Devin Toohey, Steve Chirgwin (Sean Lockhart 64), Greg Piechota, Kyle Holland, Bryan Byrne, Ryan Taylor (Ilia Nazarov 64).

Substitutes Not Used: Devin Skrade, Ricky Figueroa, Richie Million, Matt Upton.”

Doxa Head to Seattle for US Open Cup 1st Round Game

Regionals Squad Pic

Tomorrow is the day. Another date with destiny.

After two weeks of solid preparation, Doxa head to Seattle to play the Sounders U23 team in round #1 of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. It has been a year of highs for this Doxa team, who went into Regional qualifiers on a 12 month unbeaten streak. An unbeaten CSL season coupled with a run to the final of the CSL cup had an air of confidence in the squad. Thanks to a solid 2-1 win over Cal FC and a dominating 7-0 win over San Fransisco FC, Doxa secured a spot in the prestigious tournament.

Of the starting squad that played in Doxa’s only previous US Open cup game (in 2011 vs Ventura County Fusion),  9 players are still involved in the current 22 man squad. Bryan Byrne was the goal scorer on that day, and he currently leads the team in goals for the 2013 season with 28 in 17 games and got both goals in the vital win vs Cal FC.

“What separates us from other amateur teams is our ability to play as a unit. We don’t have a stand out player, it is simply a combination that sticks together and works for each other.” said Byrne. “We have been given the unique opportunity to again play in the US Open Cup and you really don’t if you will ever get that again – it is win or go home time!” Byrne is the one player currently on the squad with US Open Cup experience, having been part of the New England Revolution that won the tournament in 2007.

Sounders FC U-23 (PDL) vs Doxa Italia (USASA) 7pm at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium. Those interested in updates, we will have them on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Doxa Take Epic Semi-Final, 3-2

Doxa Celebrate

It turned out to be a game to remember on Saturday night, as Doxa battled to a 3-2 win over So-Cal Real in CSL Cup action.

The game actually went to extra-time before a winner was found, both teams had decent opportunities before the eventual game winner was scored by Bryan Byrne in the 6 minutes before the game was set to go to penalties.

Things started pretty poorly for Doxa and they went 1-0 down early on when a through ball beat the offside trap. It wasn’t until the final 5 minutes of the first half that the equalizer was found, even though Doxa had several excellent opportunities before that. Ryan Taylor was dragged down in the box as he tried to meet an incoming cross and Steve Chirgwin stepped up to take the penalty. His resultant spot kick was saved, but he managed to drill in the rebound.

It was much the same in the second half with both teams carving out opportunities. Again So-Cal Real took the lead and it was former Doxa player Andrew Villalobos who got it with a fine strike from 30 yards out. Doxa continued to battle and eventually got the equalizer. Devin Skrade made a tantalizing run down the right before putting an excellent cross into the box. Somehow it evaded everyone but found Mike Piechota on the back post. He knocked it back into the box where it met the head of Bryan Byrne before striking the post and going in.

Extra-time was needed to find a winner and eventually it was Byrne who stuck it away. Justin Valashinas was the provided, after he cut in from the left before sliding a through ball to Byrne, who turned and stroked the ball past the keeper. There was still time for So-Cal Real to graft out an equalizer, but the Doxa backline help firm and kept things at bay.

The CSL cup final line-up is set, with Doxa set to take on PSA Elite in the final. Date TBD.

#1 – Steve Chirgwin (Ryan Taylor)
#2 – Bryan Byrne (Devin Skrade, Mike Piechota)
#3 – Bryan Byrne (Justin Valashinas)

1. Justin Commins
2. Nas Koubourus
3. Devin Skrade
4. Steve Chirgwin
5. Eddie Pinto
6. Greg Piechota
7. Nissa Hatifie
8. Devin Toohey
9. Bryan Byrne
10. Ryan Taylor
11. Kyle Holland

12. Ilia Nazarov
13. Pinder Nijjar
14. Miguel Alvarez
15. Mike Piechota
16. Richie Million
17. Diego Turoldo
18. Justin Valashinas

6-1 Win Seals Unbeaten Season

Doxa vs OC Crew

Doxa wrapped up an extremely impressive CSL season by winning 6-1 away to OC Crew on Sunday.

With the win, Doxa finish the league season with a 16-0-0 season!

On the day, Doxa had the opportunity to play with the line-up and get some guys extra playing time. In the first 10 minutes, the team didn’t gel as expected and Doxa went down a goal. It is not the first time it has happened this season and sadly the OC Crew celebrations were a little early. Before half time, Doxa were in the lead. The first goal came compliments of a Devin Skrade long-throw. Bryan Byrne flicked the ball to Greg Piechota on the back post and he volleyed home. The second was a piece of art to watch. Several players played a series of neat passes in a tight area before Steve Chirgwin dished the ball to an open Ilia Nazarov. The Russian did what he does best, sliding the ball under the keeper.

Doxa increased the pressure in the second half and added several impressive goals. Next on the scoresheet was Bryan Byrne, as he scored a diving header off a Devin Skrade cross. Five minutes later and Byrne had his second headed goal of the game, this one from a Sean Lockhart cross. Soon after Nazarov had his second of the game and it was a real beauty. Ryan Taylor played a ball over the top and Nazarov took on took before dinking the ball over the keeper from 35 yards out and into an empty net. The final goal of the game came via Ricky Figueroa. Pinder Nijjar did the hard work and beat 2 players before sliding the ball to Figueroa who slid the ball under the keeper.

Overall, a pretty ideal way to finish up an extremely successful season!

#1 – Mike Piechota (Bryan Byrne, Devin Skrade)
#2 – Ilia Nazarov (Steve Chirgwin)
#3 – Bryan Byrne (Devin Skrade)
#4 – Bryan Byrne (Sean Lockhart)
#5 – Ilia Nazarov (Ryan Taylor)
#6 – Ricky Figueroa (Pinder Nijjar)

1. Brandon Avery
2. Richie Million
3. Devin Skrade
4. Steve Chirgwin
5. Ricky Figueroa
6. Greg Piechota
7. Ilia Nazarov
8. Matt Upton
9. Bryan Byrne
10. Ryan Taylor
11. Eric Meister

12. Sean Lockhart
13. Pinder Nijjar
14. Miguel Alvarez
15. Mike Piechota

Doxa Win CSL Cup Quarters 5-1


Doxa marched on in CSL cup action with a 5-1 win at home to Mirauders FC on Saturday.

It turned out to be a pretty routine win for Doxa in the end, but they did have a scare when Mirauders scored early on. It was a pretty spectacular goal that really shook the team into gear. A neat one-two between Eric Meister and Bryan Byrne lead to the equalizing goal. That was followed up by a rasping Steve Chirgwin free kick another Byrne goal to leave the home team 3-1 at half.

In the second half, Doxa rang the changes at it didn’t slow the team down. Chirgy got his second of the game from the penalty spot and then the Russian Rocket, Ilia Nazorov, sealed things up with a neat turn and finish near the end of the game.

Doxa are set to play Real So-Cal in the semi final, which is slated to take place at Manhattan Beach on March 10th.

#1 – Bryan Byrne (Eric Meister)
#2 – Steve Chirgwin
#3 – Bryan Byrne (Steve Chirgwin)
#4 – Steve Chirgwin (Sean Lockhart)
#5 – Ilia Nazarov

1. Justin Commins
2. Nas Koubourus
3. Joe Cartlidge
4. Steve Chirgwin
5. Ricky Figueroa
6. Mike Piechota
7. Ryan Purtell
8. Sean Lockhart
9. Bryan Byrne
10. Ryan Taylor
11. Eric Meister

12. Kyle Holland
13. Nissa Hatiffie
14. Miguel Alvarez
15. Richie Million
16. Greg Piechota
17. Diego Turroldo
18. Ilia Nazarov
19. Justin Valashinas
20. Pinder Nijjar
21. Aaron Perez

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