Face of Defense: Guardsman Helps Army Soccer Team Win
By Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry
Indiana National Guard
INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 9, 2010 An Indiana National Guard soldier who has played soccer his entire life reached the zenith of his career when he helped the All-Army team win gold at the 2010 Armed Forces Soccer Championship.
"Really, I was honored to be a part of the team,” said Capt. Timothy J. Halls, 28, of Chesterton, Ind. Halls played striker and midfielder for the team, which captured the championship Oct. 24 in Destin, Fla.
Indiana Army National Guard Capt. Timothy J. Halls poses in his All-Army Team soccer gear. Halls played striker and midfielder for the 2010 Army team that won gold in the 2010 Armed Forces Soccer Championship, Oct. 24 in Destin, Fla. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"It was a great win for the Army, and I hope to be in a place next year where I can come back to defend the gold," Halls said.
If Halls is selected next year and Army wins gold again, that will be three years in a row. The Army team also earned silver in 2008.
The Armed Forces Soccer Championship consists of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps teams. The weeklong, round-robin tournament pits the services against one another to be seeded for the finals.
"It is pretty intense with games every day," Halls said. "Actually, our week started out a little rough. Day One, we beat the Navy. Day Two, we lost to the Marines, and Day Three, we lost to the Air Force. All were close games."
With two losses, the Army team had an uphill battle to fight.
"We were seeded fourth, and had to play the Air Force again that Saturday morning," Halls said. "We beat them Saturday, and then had to play Navy on Sunday for the gold."
The final game was a low-scoring affair, he said.
"It was a battle the entire time; the finals were decided by an overtime and then went to a shoot-out," Halls said.
Navy scored first in overtime, the Army matched that, and then Army took the shoot-out for the win.
"It's cool the Army was able to bring home the gold -- and the second year in a row," said 1st Lt. Daniel Newell, a defender for the Army team.
Newell, who hails from Scottsdale, Ariz., is an active-duty soldier and a platoon leader with Company A, 508th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"T.J. is a great guy," Newell said of Halls. "Both of us being officers became our primary connection." Newell said the team was composed primarily of enlisted soldiers.
Though the team was made of soldiers of different ranks, it didn't hinder the players from bonding as a single unit, Halls said.
"There were definitely cliques, but considering it was privates to captains from all backgrounds, it really was not bad at all," he said.
Halls has worked at the National Guard Bureau for two years, and he credited his supervisors for providing him the opportunity to play.
"I just happened to be at a place in my career and with bosses that supported this chance I was given," he said.
Halls has played soccer since he was a child. He played in youth recreation leagues, on his high school team, and on intramural teams at Indiana University.
Newell also had a wealth of soccer experience. He has played since he was four, and was the captain of his team at the U.S. Military Academy.
Both players said they enjoyed representing the Army.
"It was a great experience. It was rewarding while being in the Army, and it's an honor to represent the unit," said Newell, who added that the Army's soccer uniforms were outfitted with each soldier’s unit patch.
With this year’s tournament completed, soccer All-Stars will be selected from the different services to represent the military in upcoming international sports competition in South America. If the United States qualifies there, the team could play in the World Games the following year.
Although Halls didn't make the U.S. military All-Star team, he hopes others become interested in military sports.
"I hope that more soldiers and families take an interest or get a chance to look into All-Army sports; there are many out there," he said.