Starting with the quarterfinals, I asked thirty soccer coaches/directors/fans to pick every game.  We had a range of expertise, ranging from my seven year old son Ely to youth, high school, college and professional coaches and directors who have been involved in the game for over forty years.

To keep everyone involved until the final whistle, they could continue to pick even if the teams they picked lost.  They scored a point for each game they picked correctly.

We had eight people coming into todays game with six of seven points possible, meaning the final would decide who won.  Three of those picked Croatia and five others picked France to win so we ended up with a five way tie at the top.  I list our co-winners alphabetically:

Kevin Christensen

Kai Edwards

Jeremy Gunn

Mike Friesen

Ian Mork

I considered a few tiebreakers, but as I didn’t list these at the start, it didn’t feel right to introduce them at the start of the tournament.

A few possible tie-breakers, which made them unique…

I never played soccer – edge, Kevin Christensen.  Our resident basketball expert showed his soccer IQ with masterful picks.  His one downfall – England vs Croatia.  He felt if Wayne Rooney had been there, maybe things would have turned out differently for the Three Lions.  Good news is Croatia ordered some of his “Bench Rules” books after having a player refuse to enter the game off the bench.

I am English – edge, Jeremy Gunn.  The only Englishmen of the five.  He had to pick England (at least once) and that was his only loss so it hurt double.  It was a quick reminder what losing felt like as that doesn’t happen often – Jeremy has won the last three NCAA Championships with Stanford University mens soccer team.  He compared the English loss to when our SSU team beat him in the NCAA’s…sorry, couldn’t resist.

 

I coached against the US National Team in the Gold Cup, edge Ian Mork.  This is not to be confused with Jeremy who also coached Stanford University in a friendly against the US.  Ian is the former coach of Belize National team, who coached against Herr Klinsmann (remember him) and the US in 2013.  His only blemish was he picked Belgium to beat France.  You can’t really knock him for that, can you?

I have travelled to and lived in more places than you, edge Kai Edwards.  So Cal, Nor Cal, Washington, Arizona, Michigan, Canada, Spain, Germany, Holland, Croatia and many more…Kai has been everywhere – he makes friends and an impact at every stop.  He is a Manchester United fan, so no surprise he slipped up on England, which was a familiar theme with our panel.

    

I wanted to pick Holland and if that’s not sad enough, I am an Arsenal fan too, edge Mike Friesen.  With his San Diego State University women’s soccer team, Mike likes to play quality attacking soccer and win, but unlike Arsenal and Holland, he has found a way to do that consistently…in the new millennium. Ironic that England let him down…maybe too many Tottenham players and not enough Gooners?  Hopefully Holland will be back in 2022.

Congratulations to our TOP 5!

And now, the rest of us…

Just off the pace with 6 points…
Chris Ziemer
Sally Ziemer
Andy Farrant
Joe Hunter
Margi Osmundson
Matt Bernard

The 5 point club…

Ely Ziemer
Andrew Ziemer
Benjamin Ziemer
Chris Daly
Dwayne Shaffer
Emiria Salzmann
Gabe Rood
Lee Summerscales
Marcus Ziemer
Tim Maycock

The Peaking in Qatar 2022 club…4 points or less
Antonio Garcia, Crystal Chaidez, Don Shaffer, Kelcey Chaidez, Marty Kinahan, Renee Ziemer, Vinnie Cortezzo, Gabby Ziemer, Roy Vega

Thanks again to everyone who participated!