Each one of the Augusta FireBall's seven wins this season has been important, but Sunday afternoon's 2-0 victory over the Raleigh Elite had special significance to it.
For two FireBall players, the Father's Day win made a perfect gift for two other members of the FireBall family. Goalkeeper Justin Papadakis and midfielder/forward Ryan Roushandel both have fathers serving as coaches on the team.
"Of course it's special," FireBall assistant coach Massoud Roushandel said of the coach/player and father/son roles he shares with his son Ryan. "I've coached his teams since U-10. Back then it was the norm, but now a situation like this is rare."
Justin, the son of head coach Alec Papadakis, said he realizes how uncommon and difficult it is for a father to serve as a coach.
"He treats me like all the other players," Justin said. "From when I was little he's been my mentor and has taught me everything I've known about soccer."
Ryan Roushandel said the same of his father, who also is the director of operations for the Atlanta Fire, the most successful soccer club team in Georgia.
"He's always going to expect perfection out of his son, but it's because he knows what I'm capable of," Ryan said.
In Sunday's win, the team improved to 7-0-1 after Justin made 13 saves in a shutout performance in goal for the FireBall.
Ryan has contributed all season long. His two goals and three assists give him the second highest point total on the team.
The FireBall stars are two of many reasons why the Professional Development League soccer team is still undefeated. Now at the halfway point of the season, the postseason picture looks positive.
The FireBall sit behind only Carolina in the South Atlantic Division. After next week's nondivision games in Florida, the FireBall will finish the season with six straight division games.
"The only game we're looking at is the next one," Alec said. "That's the one thing we're looking to do. We want to win in Florida."
The FireBall's next home game is Sunday, July 2 against the Nashville Metros at Patriots Park starting at 7 p.m.
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