The Inaugural UCG Cup
THE INAUGURAL UCG CUP
Class of ‘23 vs. Class of ‘24
Last month the final match of the season for Frascati FC and Mamio 6 was played. Instead of the usual weekly match, the highly anticipated "UCG Cup" took place. The teams of the first-years and second-years met on a lovely Sunday evening to establish the winner of the first ever in the history of UCG.
"History is written by the victors." Therefore, this article will predominantly focus on the meteoric rise of Frascati FC. However, for the purpose of journalistic integrity, I must state that before you continue reading this article.
The memorable day arrived 19th of June 2022 after weeks of training, both on the pitch and in bars. The teams arrived well on time, well aware of the importance of the match. Black was the colour chosen by the second years. The first years were asked to wear white, a struggle for most who mainly ended up opting for the t-shirt they wore to the bar the night prior. However, no matter what, they were ready to step out onto that pitch and show that no one should ever underestimate this team.
While these teams were founded for the pursuit of happiness, this was not the case on this night in Paddepoel. This was different. This was serious. This meant more than anytime before.
The game started with a delay, which only continued to build anticipation and made the ultras on each side even more enthralled by the event. Beers were provided by the SOC committee of Caerus, which thankfully, without fail, made sure that everyone was well hydrated…what would we do without you… thank you from the bottom of our hearts, or shall I say our empty bottles.
A guard of honour was created by the union of the hands of the opponents, a gesture of sportsmanship, something that hung in the balance. If only we knew then. Pretending to be mascots and walking on their knees, how creative our teams are. This is when the fun truly stopped. Game faces were on, and then. The whistle blew. The inaugural UCG Cup final had begun.
The referee, who had his phone number written on his yellow shirt, just in case someone would have wanted to ask him out, whistled to signal the beginning of the match. Now to describe the sound from the sidelines would be impossible. Actually, you know what I'll try to describe it. Basically, it was only coming from one side, and we all know which one that was.
The fans were screaming their lungs out, showing their teams the support they needed. UCG is a very small community, in which everyone knows each other, but during this summer evening, friendships were forgotten: you either were for your year mates, or you were going to face some trouble (trust me, I know from personal experience).
A lot of action followed, to say the least. Some got injured. Some stretchered off. There was verbal abuse. Sometimes nearly physical. There was arguing. There was screaming. There was shouting. How else do I put it? It meant everything.
FFC were down 3-0 in the second half. People thought there was no hope left for the first year's team. But after a long season together, they showed just how much resilience and fight they can truly bring to the table when needed. 3-1. 3-2. 3-3. Poetry in motion. 90 minutes had come and gone. We still needed a conclusion.
The players of both teams are young and undoubtedly healthy, but they needed a break to recover from the exhausting 90 minutes that had just been played to get ready for the extra 20' that were waiting for them. Now how to replenish their energy? Why not smoke a cigarette and drink a beer? New positions and tactics were discussed by the teams and new chants were made by the fans, who were more enthusiastic than ever.
The referee whistled once again: extra time had begun. Every single person there was full of energy, despite the endlessness of the game. The sunset was also beautiful that evening, the sky turned orange, and the clouds had a pinkish hue which made the night even more memorable.
If those 90 minutes weren't enough for the match to be deemed a classic, extra time only continued to astound. This time FFC took the lead. 4-3. LA REMONTADA. The first year boys fought with everything they could possibly muster to hold onto that much-deserved lead. But because of a Serbian wonderkid and a dodgy ref, the second years equalised in the dying embers of the match, forcing each player and fan supporting them into a chaotic celebration. The boys of FFC watched on, gutted, of course, but they knew what was to come. They allowed them to have their time. It was cute.
Penalties. Unparalleled stress. The first and second years lined up on that dreaded halfway line. Brothers in arms. That walk to that spot. If only words could suffice the emotions. The first penalty was taken by the boys in white. Some went in, some missed, some were saved, some went to space. Now, reading this, you couldn't possibly believe that the first years had to endure even more, but they did. Three sudden death penalties were missed. Three chances for the second years to seal it, as if the three goal lead wasn't enough. But that man in goal stood tall. Ice in his veins. The 10th penalty arrived. A man in white walked up, placed the ball down. Stepped back. Shot. And scored. Now, it was all down to the last man in black. Once again, the third keeper of the night for the first years had to do the unthinkable. The ball was shot. IT WAS SAVED. THE CLASS OF ‘24 HAD WON THE INAUGURAL UCG CUP. PHENOMENAL. BEYOND REASON, BEYOND REALITY. WHO FELL? THE MEN IN BLACK FELL. HOW DID IT HAPPEN? THE FIRST YEARS MADE IT HAPPEN.
The first ever year to win the UCG cup. The class of 2024.
Truly the words I have put down on this blank document do not truly suffice the spectacle we were subjected to on that magical night. When I close my eyes, I am there again. I think I speak for everyone when I say this. It was the best football match we’ve ever been a part of. Let this be the first of many for the UCG cup; personally, I can't wait for the next one.