In the same fashion as 2003, the Salem Kickers won a penalty kick shootout to claim the over-30 3rd division league championship this afternoon in the bitter cold at Gresham Union High School.

The wind was a huge factor, and after going against it in the first half and emerging with a 0-0 score, we liked our chances. Despite several good opportunities—including a penalty kick miss in the final minutes—we couldn’t put one in during the second half.

So onto the shootout. I’m happy to report that kicking penalties is something I do rather well, have done for years, and God willing will continue to do. So I was quick to volunteer to be one of the five players who shot.

(For those unaware, in a shootout each team fields five players and they take turns shooting penalty kicks. The best of five wins, so if a team misses their first three and the other team makes their first three, it’s over because even with two more shooters, you can’t top three goals. If it’s tied at the end of five, you go to the rest of the players on the field, one by one, with one make and one miss winning it for somebody.)

We did not get past five shooters. Here’s how it went down: They scored, Sean scored, they scored, I scored (on a nice, powerful shot that the keeper—who guessed correctly—couldn’t save), our keeper Wade saved their shot, Roy had his shot save, they scored on one that Wade almost got, Sal scored a terrifically placed kick in the upper right corner—redemption for having missed the PK in regulation, Wade made a huge save, and Vinny put in the winner.

Salem Kickers 4-3 in PKs, and league champions once again! Who’d a thunk it?

[Props to our fans—including Dennis, Matt McKenna, and Dave’s folks—for coming out and cheering us on in painfully cold conditions. Ya’ll rock!]