August 2002 – The Budweiser 6 v 6 tournament started with over 400 teams in 4 zones throughout Southern California. Games ran over the course of 4 weekends, with the final match being played inside the Rose Bowl before the LA Galaxy v New England Revolution match. The winning team would take home a grand prize of $15,000!
Doxa Italia Roster:
Brian Burdue – GK
Steve Chrigwin – MF
John Borra – FW
Raul Haro – FW
Brendan Dempsey– DF
Paul Rottenberg – DF
Sean Lockhart – MF
Steve Boyle – DF
Luis Berbari – MF
Nas Koubouras – DF
Doxa made light work of their preliminary games and were not not really challenged until the quarter final match against a side that was determined to make it to the final too! The hard fought contest saw the scoring go back and forth with both keepers making big saves to keep the score 3-3 at the half. In a fortunate(for Doxa) turn of events the opposing goalkeeper committed a foul that produced a yellow card. It happened to be his 2nd yellow card and thus the red was shown. After the other team finally calmed down from confronting the ref, the game proceeded with Doxa scoring their next 6 shots to easily finish off the match. After the final whistle, the opposing team promptly chased the ref across the rose bowl grounds and over the horizon.
On a side note, during one of the preliminary round matches, there was an announcement that Shelly Borra, representing Doxa Italia, had won The”Seniorita Budwesier” along with $500. All eyes went to hubby John Borra who was on the pitch at the time and had no idea what was going on. Shelly was wandering the grounds and saw the contest going on and entered on the spot. Good play SB.
The semi-final saw Doxa Italia face Cassal. Doxa and Cassal have had many tournament and league matches over the years and were fierce rivals. The match saw some great soccer, with Doxa taking a 2-1 lead at half. The 2nd half saw Doxa controlling the match and going up 3-1. But it doesn’t take much to turn the tide in a 6 v 6 competition, and Cassal scored 2 quick goals to even the match at 3. Doxa had a chance to finish the match off when Luis Berbari was given a PK in the final moments. The Cassal keeper came up huge and made the save to keep the score level at the final whistle. There would be no extra time, as the game would be decided with penalties. Penalties were conducted a bit different as the striker could only hit with the swing of the leg. No steps could be taken, and the shot was taken only 5 yards out. It was the best of 3 and the winner would go to the final inside the Rose Bowl the following weekend. Doxa GK Brian Burdue had success facing this style of penalty earlier in the tournament against Santa Barbara side San Nicolas during round-robin play and knew what to expect. He saved the opening PK to put Doxa in a strong position. Paul Rottenberg calmly buried the 3rd and winning shot to put Doxa in the final.
The final would be Doxa Italia v Estrella Roja. It didn’t take long for Doxa to get on the score board, when at about the 5 min mark, Nas Koubouras smashed a shot from around 25 yds out. Estrella came back hard and evened the match scoring almost immediately with a low shot to the far post from close range. Luis Berbari would strike next followed by John Borra who made it 3-1 at the half. The 2nd half saw Estrella pushing the pace of the match and succeeded in scoring a 2nd goal. Early in the 2nd half, Nas Koubouras was shown a red card after receiving his 2nd yellow and Doxa would have to play a man down. Nevertheless, Steve Boyle took a ball off a midfielder and streaked up the left side, hammering a shot home making the score 4-2. Estrella started to pushed players forward to create scoring chances. Doxa defenders Paul Rottenberg and Brendan Dempsey were under siege and GK Brian Burdue had to make several saves to keep the 2 goal cushion. The pressure put on the defenders had taken its toll as Brendan Dempsey was also shown a red card (a very questionable 2nd yellow) for a challenge that seemed to be all ball. This left Doxa with 3 field players and a goalkeeper. Estrella desperately fought for a goal, and finally put one past the the Doxa keeper making it 4-3 with maybe 5 min to go. It would be a VERY long 5 min as Doxa players bunkered down to fend off attack after attack. A John Borra challenge in the box was ruled to be a take down and Estrella were awarded a PK with very little time left. Brian Burdue baited the Estrella striker with a lean to his right while diving hard to the left making the big time save in front of the early arriving Galaxy fans. Play resumed and after what seemed like an eternity the ref blew the final whistle ending the the month long tournament and crowning Doxa Italia champions! Along with the $15,000 purse, the Doxa players also were given a free keg of beer and a taco platter to enjoy during the Galaxy match. After enjoying said feast for a half, most of the squad had to scurry up to Santa Barbara for the UCSB Fiesta tournament already under way, leaving Sean Lockhart with a mostly full keg of beer to enjoy on his own. BTW – Doxa won the SB tournament too.
PS – Doxa Italia played this same side in the final of the CSAS All Star Cup in November 2002. Down 3 men due to red cards – Doxa Italia won on a golden goal by Joe Flanagan taking the $5000 prize.
*Thanks to Brian Burdue for his research, and also for the pics.