2 MDCVSA Challenge Cup Championships
1 USASA National Amateur Cup, State Championship
1 City Championship
9 CVSA Major Championships
2 CVSA Cup Championships
5 CVSA First Division Championships
5 CVSA Second Division Championships
2 CVSA Third Division Championships
2 CVSA Masters Division Championships
The Fan Rats Soccer Club was founded in August, 1989 by noted local restaurateur Johnny X. Giavos. The club currently competes in the Central Virginia Soccer Association (CVSA). For the Spring '16 season, the Rats will have at least one team, maybe two; we'll see . . . :
For the 2003-'04 season, the Fan Rats won the Fall '03 CVSA Premier Division Championship, the Spring '04 CVSA Premier Division Championship, the 2003-'04 CVSA Cup, and the 2003-'04 MDCVSA State Cup. The Fan Rats also represented the MDCVSA in the USASA National Amateur Cup. Sidewalk Café won the Fall '03 CVSA Second Division Championship. The Rat Masters finished 4th in the 2003-'04 MDCVSA Challenge Cup.
The Fan Rats have regularly competed in the USASA National Amateur Cup, and MDCVSA State & Challenge Cup tournaments, and have tallied a record of 38-18-1 in these competitions, reaching the MDCVSA State Cup Semifinals twice, the MDCVSA Challenge Cup Semifinals twice; and hold the 2001-'02 & 2004-'05 MDCVSA Challenge Cup title, the 2003-'04 MDCVSA State Cup title, and the 2003-'04 USASA National Amateur Cup State-level title.
Locally, the club is the holder of nine CVSA Major Championships [Premier & CVSA Cup], five CVSA First Division Championships, five CVSA Second Division Championships, two CVSA Third Division Championships, and two CVSA Masters Division Championships.
1989-'90: A Rough Start
The Fan Rats began not with a bang but with a groan, losing each of their first five games - the maiden voyage being a 1:3 loss to the Pink Panthers at Oakwood on September 21. Back in those days when many on the team were single and Oakwood was the venue of choice, Johnny Giavos's pony kegs kept us all warm on those crisp fall afternoons in the far corners of Church Hill, before wives and cell phones could interrupt our Sunday fun.
Standing (L-R): Daniel Sullivan, Daniel Cruger, Pat Sims, Fred Thorbahn, Nick Kipreos, Daniel Salomonsky.
Kneeling (L-R): Johnny X. Giavos, Colin Rawn, Derek McCown, Kilian Garvey, Stu Norris, Paul Prousalis.
The team began to gel as the season progressed, realizing that they had more than the sauce in common. In January the Rats traveled to Washington, D. C. to compete in the first round of the MDCVSA State Cup. Although the game ended with a 1:0 loss for the Rats, it began a string of appearances in the USASA National Amateur Cup and MDCVSA State Cup unparalled in the CVSA during the 1990's & 2000's.
Later that season the Rats returned to D. C., winning 2:1 versus A. C. Hellas in early USASA National Amateur Cup Qualifying. The season ended with elimination from the CVSA Cup Semifinals, and a finish in the middle of the Premier Division. Original team members Johnny X. Giavos, Daniel Salomonsky, and Derek McCown are still with the club today.
1990-'91: CVSA Cup Finalists
The second season brought increased success in the CVSA. The team fared better in Premier Division play, but didn't come together until second half of the season.
Memorable was a comeback from a 0:3 second half score to tie 3:3 the eventual Premier Division Champions Pink Panthers - when trailing 0:3, a neigborhood drunk decided to squat Indian-style in the middle of Oakwood, halting the game. After yelling some choice racial slurs at the honkies assembled for some Sunday futbol, he finally left. The mood changed and the Rats came to life, inspired by their inebriated comrade-in-arms.
The CVSA Cup Final at Oakwood (where else?) on May 11 was just as exciting, with the Rats falling to the Pinks 3:2 in overtime in a game attended by over 500 fans. Future CVSA President Derek McCown scored the first goal for the Rats, but the Pinks crawled back into it, prevailing after 120 minutes. Future Rats Jimmy Gill, Sir Paul Marsh, Wes Ward, and Martin Dell starred for the Pinks on that day.
As for statewide competitions, the Rats made it to the second round of the MDCVSA State Cup, losing to the British Bulldogs in D. C. 5:2. Johnny X. Giavos and Maty Burton distinguished themselves by destroying a two-goal comeback (came back to 2:3 after trailing 0:3) by getting red cards for foul play.
Team captain Johnny X. Giavos opened Sidewalk Café in March, giving an instant boost to his ABC business courtesy of the team.
2101 W. Main Street
The spiritual watering hole of the Fan Rats
1991-'92: Red Cards and Bad Attitudes
This season was one to forget. The team started 4-0-0 and was ready to make a bid for the Premier Division Championship. However Week 5 brought the defending champion Pink Panthers and a 6:0 whitewash.
Attitudes worsened, acrimony grew, and the team back slid to the bottom of the table. Making matters worse was leading-scorer Mike Gregory's repeated red-card suspensions, leaving him with more time on the sidelines than on the field - you can take the boy out of Randolph-Macon, but you can't take the Randolph-Macon out of the boy. The summer break came none too soon.
1992-'93: Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward
The Rats seemed to get back on track this season. New recruit Rick "The Philadelphia Kid" Lyons joined up, eventually parleying his team membership into a position in one of Richmond's most successful restaurant syndicates. Again the team started 4-0-0 but ran into the defending champion Pink Panthers, who spanked the Rats 6:2. However the Rats were trendsetting on the fashion side, changing their official team colors from light blue & royal blue to black & light blue.
After getting to the second round of the USASA National Amateur Cup the team put together some impressive performances, making it to the semifinals of the MDCVSA State Cup before losing to Sgt. Pepper's of Roanoke 0:3 at Mary Munford in May.
Among the highlights of the season was a win in D. C. against A. C. Hellas in the USASA National Amateur Cup - the game was played in 10° weather. Johnny X. Giavos drove some friends Kustom Van into the urban bowels of D. C., only to just miss a local policeman with the rolling smoke-mobile (ever seen Jeff Spicoli's van in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"?). After a scoreless game the Rats prevailed on penalty kicks. After the A. C. Hellas victory, the team stormed the local Champions Sports Bar, where Mr. Giavos opened the checkbook, and the golden liquid flowed well into the night. As well as repeated chants of "J-E-T-S-Jets-Jets-Jets!!" The fact that the New Yorkers covered the spread against the Seahawks made sure all Rats drank for free - the equivalent of letting the fox in the henhouse. How in the hell we got home, I'll never know.
A victory over the waning Pink Panthers dynasty (three CVSA Championships in the last four years) 4:1 to close out the CVSA slate was a milestone.
Among the low lights was team captain Johnny X. Giavos being expelled from the Mary Munford Complex after calling the referee a @#$&*^%$ $%^*&$# and having to hitchhike home through Windsor Farms, uttering more obscenities along the way.
1993-'94: CVSA Champions, CVSA Cup Champions, City Champions, State Semifinalists
The 1993-'94 campaign was the most successful season in the team's history. The Rats won the 1993-'94 CVSA Premier Division Championship (this was the last year that the season went from September to May), and the 1994 CVSA Cup (they held that title until June 1999). In addition the Rats played a challenge match with the Richmond Kickers of the USISL and won a major upset 3:2 - present Kickers coach Leigh Cowlishaw was quoted snapping at some young boy - "why don't you bloody get THEIR autographs; THEY won!". The pieces all fell into place four years after the founding.
Some of the notable characters who passed through Rat Town were UR studs Mark Stollikimer, Kevin "Edge" Longacre, and Mario Ramos; VCU heartthrobs Wayne "Pratty Boy" Pratt & Frank Belen.
They advanced to the semifinals of the MDCVSA State Cup and the third round of the USASA National Amateur Cup, losing to Iberia of D. C. each time. Little shame in those losses, however, as Iberia went on to win the USASA National Cup in '96. At this time a fierce rivalry with longtime CVSA member Lions FC developed, with one of the two winning a vast majority of the Premier Division championships since this time. The final record for the season was 22-3-1.
Site of some great Rats victories, and endless memories, with soccer lines still visible.
"They paved paradise, and put up a youth gridiron football field"
1994-'95: Still Champions, But Not For Long . . .
The Rats followed up on their success of the previous season with a Premier Division Championship in the Fall '94 season - the CVSA moved to the split season (Fall & Spring) format that is still in use today . A loss in the first round of the USASA National Amateur Cup to Zorba's of D. C. 1:3 at Oakwood was a dissappointment, and the first signs of chinks in the armor.
In the Spring '95 there was a purge of the deadbeat Randolph-Macon ringers who were either in jail from the night before, or just couldn't drag their drunken asses out of bed to play. The team slipped in the standings, surrendering their Premier Division Championship. A victory in the first round of the MDCVSA State Cup, as well as a sweep of the arch-rival Lions FC, were the lone highlights.
The Summer '95 season went well, as the Rats reached the semifinals of the summer championships in their first concentrated summer effort. However CVSA Vice President Terance Anderson left the wrong message on the league voice mail concerning the game time (remember, this was pre-internet), and the Rats had to forfeit, preventing a possible championship game match with Lions FC. Mr. Anderson destroyed the "evidence" by immediately taping over his errant voice mail to cover his ass; he remains the epitome of the "Cowardly Lion". The animosity between the Rats and Lions seems to live on to this day.
The dark ages for the Rats were about to begin . . .
1995-'96: Team Disbands, Then Regroups, Then Rolls Through The Summer
Less than a year removed from their last Premier Division Championship, the Fan Rats disbanded. Reliance the season before on Randolph-Macon ringers spelled doom, ripping the heart and soul out of a once proud team. After most members spent Fall '95 playing with the Italians in the rogue- and criminal-laden CASA, they decided that a resurrection was necessary for the spring.
With most of the old Rats returning, the team re-affiliated with the CVSA in Spring '96, joining the Premier Division once again. With nothing but home-grown talent, they compiled a respectable 7-3-1 record. An upset of ringer-stocked Dublin FC 2:1 was the highlight of the season at Oakwood in May.
Riding a wave of momentum from this success, the Rats formally entered a team in the CVSA Summer '96 season. With a core of strong players, they recaptured their glory days with a 12-2-1 record, and a matchup with Lions United in the playoff championship game. However, not without some more contreversy. Apparently the opposite semifinal to the Rats was Lions FC v. Lions United, and one of the teams got mixed up on the game times due to a - you guessed it - flawed message on the league voice mail courtesy of Mr. Anderson. Unlike the previous year's fiasco where the Rats were denied the opportunity to replay their semifinal, the Lions were able to replay their game. Well, winners never cheat and cheaters never win - Fan Rats 5, Lions United 2. Meow.
1996-1997: Back-to-Back Summer Championships
The Fall '96 season started with optimism as the Rats defeated former champion Pelada 6:2. The next week however a 2:1 loss to Lions FC proved fatal as the team came in second in the Premier Division by that one game. The team acquitted itself well with a victory over A. C. Hellas of D. C. 2:0 in the first round of the USASA National Amateur Cup at Short Pump.
The spring season was tough as the Rats, missing some key personnel, stumbled to a fourth-place finish. Most notable was the develpoment of a league website, so Terence Anderson couldn't stiff anyone via the voice mail anymore.
The Summer '97 season gave the Rats a chance to defend their Premier Division championship. After a mid-season swoon that saw losses to Tee Times and Lions FC, the Rats put together an impressive playoff run. Defeats of Pelada, Athletes for Christ and Tee Times returned them to the championship game. A narrow defeat of Roadkill at Thompson & Park 2:1 secured back-to-back summer championships. Also noteworthy was the addition of the Sidewalk Café team to the mix. This team had some early setbacks in their Second Division tilt, but recovered to bring home hardware of their own, defeating Lions Masters 1:0 to win the Second Division Championship.
1997-'98: Ringers Suck
The insatiable appetite for ringers once again bit the Rats as the Fall '97 season began. After recruiting a number of off-season players from the Richmond Kickers, the team sooned learned its lesson. The ringers rarely showed up, never paid a dime, and when they did show a very deserving Lions FC club spanked them 4:2 and went on to win the Premier Division Championship. The other half of the team was split into a "Sidewalk Café" club that played only four division games because of poor division alignment from the home office. The team was depleted and went into debt. Good thing that the Kickers have Daddy Ukrop$ paying the bills during their regular season, because those guys ain't good for . . . oh well, onward and upward.
Spring '98 sprung, and the Rats went back to their roots. The team compiled a 2-2-3 Premier Division record, good for fifth in a nine-team Premier Division, and managed a scoreless draw against arch-rival Lions FC. Ringers were banished and the team became whole once again. The final tally for 1997-1998 was 8-7-4, eeking out yet another +.500 season.
The team was the two-time defending summer champions, so thoughts turned toward the defending of that title. Defeats of Lions FC and Spiders highlighted the season. The team again reached the championship game, but came up short 4:3 to Tangiers (who later vacated the title due to past due fees, so that would mean . . ? Forget it, Runners-Up it is.). Their final tally was a respectable 10-3-3. FC Burrito made its debut in the Masters Division. A final tally of 7-6-1 made for a successful first season.
1998-'99: Almost a Return to Glory - CVSA Cup Finalists, Premier Division Title Escapes
The Fall '98 was a season of moderate expectations, but ended as one of heartbrake. The Rats tied defending Premier Division Champion Dublin FC 1:1, allowing a goal in the 86th minute. An upset over perennial power Lions FC 4:3 in November put the Fan Rats in a position to win the Premier Division Championship with a win over the X-Men in their last game. After assuming a 2:1 lead in the second half, the Rats surrendered two late goals, losing the game and the championship, 3:2. To add insult to injury, the Rats defeated the same X-Men in the CVSA Cup two weeks later, 1:0. FC Burrito had a rough time of it as well, finishing their inaugural eleven-a-side Masters Division campaign with a 2-7-0 record.
The spring half of the season started with a 5:1 thrashing of the Rangers to earn the Rats a berth in the CVSA Cup Semifinals. After a suprising win in the first round of the CVSA Cup, FC Burrito bowed out in the second round, 4:0 to Last Call. The Spring '98 season was long, as chronic absenteeism hurt the team's chances; a fifth place finish in the Premier was all that they could muster. FC Burrito proved their manhood, finishing second in the Masters Division with a 5-3-2 Spring '99 record. The final tally for the 1998-1999 season was 7-10-2, not bad for a team that started 2-7-0. The CVSA Cup offered some chance at redemption for the Rats. Their semifinal opponent was the venerable Lions Masters in a rematch of the 1994 CVSA Cup Final. The Rats took an early lead in the first half, withstood a furious offensive flurry from the old men just before the half, then coasted to a 4:0 victory. The 1999 CVSA Cup Final against Dublin F. C. didn't turn out as well. The game was tied at the half 0:0. After Dublin scored an early 2nd half goal, the Rats came back with an equaliser, but a controversial offsides call negated it. While the Rats argued with the referee, Dublin struck again to make it 2:0. The Rats struck in the 74th minute to make it 2:1, but an 87th minute goal from Dublin while the Rats were pressing sealed their fate. The final tally was 10-6-3.
The Summer '99 season would be the last Premier Division Championship run for with the cast of original, aging charcterst. In an intensively competitive division, the Rats had a 5-4 regular season record and a fifth-place finish in a ten-team Premier Division. The playoffs saw the Rats make their usual run with victories over Warlocks, FC Chesterfield, & First-seed FC Bosnia to reach their fourth consecutive Premier Division Championship game. However Belagio FC was too much, overwhelming the Rats 6:2. A final record of 11-5-0 and a second-place finish out of 41 teams made for succesful season. FC Burrito competed in the Third Division, winning it with a 7-3-0 regular season record. They fell to Bandito's in the quarterfinals of the First Division tournament, finishing with a 10-4-0 record.
1999-'00: First Division Dominance
The Fall '99 campaign is one of transition and change for the club. The Fan Rats looked Father Time in the face, and he won; after an eleven-year run in the Premier, the Rats granted free-agency to their younger players, and stepped down to the First Division. FC Burrito ironically was promoted to the Second Division of a four-division CVSA for the Fall '99 season. The older, financially responsible members were still able to put together an impressive run finishing 8-2-0 and winning the First Division for the Fall '99 season. Fortysomething midfielder Kevin Smith, on loan from the Arsenal FC Seniors of the English Premier Division, proved to be a vital addition becoming the team's foremost playmaker. The team was unable to duplicate their '98-'99 CVSA Cup run, being knocked out in the first round by DSC München from the Second Division. FC Burrito has a much tougher time of it, finishing with a 1-8-1 record and not much memorable to speak of. The return of former Rats Jimmy Gill, Mat Burton, Steve Peple, and Paul Maaaaaasssshhhhhhaaaaahhh were welcome, but their return translated to little success as the team was 0-6-0 in one-goal games, allowing only 1.6 goals per game in that stretch.
The Spring '00 season saw even more transition. FC Burrito was abandoned, as lagging attendance and the desire of the longtime members of the club to once again play together. The task of combining two teams into one wasn't easy, as feelings were hurt and players scrambled to find other teams. The "new look" Rats debuted with a sound ass-whuppin' at the hands of Bandito's, 1:3. A 1-1 tie against last-place nine-man Arsenal put the Rats in a hole with little hopes of winning the First Division. The team rallied, and compiled a 4-0-1 record over their next five division games to set up a season ending showdown with the Rangers, both teams coming into the finale with a 4-1-2 record and the Rangers holding first place by virtue of goal differential. Jimmy Gill started the scoring with a rocket from the left side, while Steve Gregory & Rick Lyons added tallies for a 3:0 whitewash and a second consecutive First Division Championship. The Rats beat hated rival Lions United 2:0, but lost a non-division game to longtime rival Pink Panthers 2:3. The team said goodbye to 3-year veteran Chris Howard, who was dragged kicking & screaming to Michigan by family obligations - thanks for three good years, Chris. A move to the Premier seemed likely for Fall '00. In early May, a portion of the team traveled to Williamsburg for the William & Mary SoccerFest, entering teams in the Coed and Men's Open Divisions. The Fan Rats swept the competition, winning both classes, defeating arch-rival Lions FC 4:3 in the semifinals in overtime, and handling Langley FC 6:1 in the final. Celebrations were hosted by George Tsipas, as he was left with a giant restaurant tab and a huge tournament entry fee - George, thanks, you are a Rat for life. The season wrapped up with the 2000 MDCVSA Challenge Cup held at Bryan Park. The Quarterfinal opponent was Renaissance, who provided little opposition in a 4:0 Rat win. In the semifinals the opponent was Lions Masters. However, they were Masters only in name; in typical Cowardly Lion fashion, they pulled down some ringers from their Premier Division team (aren't those players supposed to be in the State Cup?). Anyway, the Rats fought hard and lost 2:3 on overtime in a very exciting game. The Third-Place game saw the Rats match up against old rival Pink Panthers. This one was never close as the Rats cruised to a 7:0 demolition.
The Summer '00 season saw the decline of the Rats, and the re-emergence of FC Burrito. Competing in a tough First Division, the Fan Rats finished 2-6-4, good for ninth in a twelve-team division. The Rats did advance to the second round of the playoffs, but were unable to score goals when needed. It was the first time since 1995 that the Premier Division Playoff Final would not have the Fan Rats as a participant. A good time was had by all although the record didn't necessarily reflect it. FC Burrito finished with an 8-2-1 record, winning the division by a single point over Lions Masters. The playoffs resulted in a coronation, as FC Burrito won their four playoff games by an aggregate of 24-7, beating Atlas 5:2 at Bryan Park in the Final.
2000-'01: One Last Premier Hurrah, Return to Normalcy
The Fall '00 season was to be one of great promise, but turned out to be a dud. The Rats "did the right thing" and advanced to the Premier Division after winning two successive First Division Championships. The season started with a 1:2 loss to Dublin; the score was tied 1:1 until the 85th minute, but a questionable handball call gave Dublin a direct kick outside the box on which they scored. The next game against Deutscher Sportclub ended 1:2, with the Germans scoring the winner in the 80th minute. With a 0-2-0 record the Rats took on Lions Express, and although dominating play lost 0:1, the highlight being a sissy Lions Express player, after putting a Rat player in a headlock, complains that he was wronged and wants to take legal action. Whatever. The season limped to a finish with a 2-7-0 record with a close loss to BlackWatch FC 0:2 as the Lions exiles scored twice after the 82nd minute. A CVSA Cup victory over DSC Berlin 6:3 ended the Fall '00 half at 4-7-0. However rumors abounded that the draw was tainted, started by "you know who", although the draw was announced ahead of time. Meow.
Spring '01 brought a welcome respite from the rigors of the Premier Division. Two wins started the campaign, only to be followed by a heartbreaking loss to FC Tormenta and their loudmouth goalie (which ended up costing the Rats the division title), a 5:0 wipeout at the hands of Virginia Beach International in the USASA Over-30 Cup, and finally a 7:0 shellacking at the hands of Dublin FC in the CVSA Cup. Three weeks, 0 goals for, 14 against. April and May brought more success with a 9-2-0 regular season finish and a second place finish in the Spring '01 First Division. Highlights of the season included a 5:3 thumping of the perpetual crybabies Lions Express, and last minute 4:3 victories over both Atlas and Athletes for Christ. June brought the MDCVSA Challenge Cup to Bryan Park. The Rats faced Total Fitness of the NVSL in the first round. A very tough contest saw the Rats come up 3:1 on the short end. In the consolation bracket, the Pink Panthers forfeitted, which left a Lions-hybrid team in the 5th place game. The Rats prevailed 4:2 in an extremely contentious match, as everything from player eligibility, kicking balls too far out of bounds (although the fourth referee had five other game balls at his feet), and why the ladies in blue didn't get every call their way was questioned incessantly. It was a small measure of revenge for the bitter semifinal loss in the 2000 Challenge Cup.
Summer '01 saw the advent of its first Coed squad. After starting the season with two losses, the Fan Rats Coed squad reeled off seven consecutive victories to win the CVSA Summer '01 Coed Division Regular Season Championship. However the team went down to eventual tournament champion Star-lite on penalties in the semifinals. John Roach distinguished by missing vital penalties in both men's and coed division matches - a man for all sexes. Sidewalk Café finished third in the regular season, and after some big guns were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, they were poised to make a run. A semifinal match against the usually weak Rangers proved their undoing - Matt Borgard and George Tsipas got in a slapfight the game before and refused to show up. Jimmy Gill came in directly from Penny Lane and an England WC Qualifier - the recipe was bad, as a 3:1 loss sent them packing.
2001-'02: The Drinking Man's Treble - MDCVSA Challenge Cup Champions, Summer Fun
After Spring '01's narrow miss in the CVSA First, the Rats started their Fall '01 campaign with three straight victories to shoot to the top of the table. The end of September brought Capital One FC, and trouble. Suspect back line play led to a 1:3 loss. The next two weeks against Lions, Inc. brought more humility - 3:3 with Express by allowing an 85th minute goal, and 4:4 against United after blowing a three-goal lead and allowing a PK in the 88th minute. Matters only got worse as the Rats limped home to finish 3-4-2 after a 3-0-0 start. A highlight was a November drubbing of Rosario Central, and their loudmouth suck-ass race card-playing goalie 3:2 in the first round of the CVSA Cup - oh, that's right Stone, never has an hispanic team lost a game because someone was actually better than them; it's ALWAYS racist referees and the broad conspiracy against non-WASPs. Whatever, Kojak. Kang Lee finished his enlistment in the People's Democratic Liberation Army of North Korea and returned after a five-year hiatus. And just as quickly as he sailed in with his loin cloth and spinner, Ko "I'm proud to be from Birmingham" Das was shipped to Arizona after a two-year Rat career.
Spring '02 brought a streak of success reminicent of the early 90's. The CVSA Spring '02 reular season brought a First Division Championship. The Rats went 7-1-1, winning six of those games by a goal, and dropping a match the Athletes for Christ after the division was clinched. A February 0:8 CVSA Cup Quarterfinal spanking at the hands of Lions FC brought the lads back to earth and the Copa Bruce. The Rats went to work with a 2:1 win over Galaxy FÜ, and a 6:1 win over Capital One FC. The final at Sports Backers Stadium was against Lions Express. Unfortunately half the team was drunk due to an early World Cup tilt between England and Sweden, and the result showed - 3:0 Lions Express. Redemption lay in the MDCVSA Challenge Cup. First up was Jerome's pesky Renaissance team from CASA. The Rats played a good match and prevailed 3:1. Next up was Sporting FC of the NVSL. The Rats put together a complete game, scored at will, and won 6:1. Next was the finals. Our old friends from CASA, Metro Sting, were awarded a contraversial forfeit win over Virginia Beach International, who used an illegal player. The Rats opened the scoring with a Jimmy Gill blast to go up 1:0, but the Sting equalized. Ko Das, fresh from Arizona, headed home a cross in the 65th minute to put the Rats up 2:1. Again Metro Sting equalized in the 88th. On to overtime where Kevin Smith rocked home the winner and gave the Rats the Challenge Cup championship. The "Drinking Man's Treble" was complete, as at last the Rats had a state championship to call their own.
As Fan Rat football went for the summer, there were two teams in the summer league: FC Burrito and Sidewalk Café. As in the spring, a "Double" was completed (albeit not the "Drinking Man's Treble" that was thrusted upon us courtesy England v. Sweden). The Sidewalk Café squad was a Giavosesque creation of old Rats, Lions, Mascots, Italians, Rams, & Ravens as the motley crew used that synergy the win the Third Division Championship, taking PK shootouts in the semifinals against Daredevils, and in the finals against Tyrants. In the finals, the shootout went to the 7th Round, meaning the goalies squared off. The young, strapping Tyrants goalie, weighing in at ~170lbs, was stuffed by Kickeroo®. In the bottom of the round, it was time for Kickeroo® to take the spot. He and his 225+ girth put their weight behind it, and crackled the nets for the championship - thanks to all of the cast of characters who made up Sidewalk Café Summer '02. FC Burrito took a more conventional route, coming back from 0-2-0 to finish 9-2-0 and win the Second Division Championship, as the Sopranos used an illegal player (immigrant?) and Rundi Aadme forfeited the championship.
2002-'03: The Asterisk & CVSA Bylaw II.A.1, the Two More Division Titles
Fall '02 brought another First Division campaign. The second game of the season brought bitter rival Lions Express. In a contentious match, the teams drew 1:1, setting the stage for a "roll up the score" race for the division championship. The Rats got off to a good start with an 8:0 thumping of hackmeisters Big Nasty. The teams traded blows throughout the season, but the telling opponent was Central de Richmond. The fun-loving "Centralés" sent five men to their late-October matchup with the Rats, and the Rats were "awarded" with a 2:0 victory. A few weeks later Lions Express got their chance and routed a seven-man Central squad 11:0. Never mind that CVSA Bylaw II.A.1 reads:
The Border Chops made their debut, led by Kickeroo® and his ban of merry men of the RCD Footlongs. They were merry until the team decided to be called the Border Patrol. The forces of PC reared their whiny heads, and the kinder, softer, gentler Border Chops were born. In their debut they finished a close second in the Fifth Division, losing the pivotal head-to-head match against eventual champion Internationals 2:4 in October at Bryan Park. A beautiful Mikeyratt strike in a match against First Health made for some fine highlights. Ricki LoPresti made his return to the fold with little "hasshole". The final tally was 6-1-1 with a disappointing loss to Galaxy FÜ in the First Round of the CVSA Cup.
The spring brought renewal and two more division titles for the club. The Fan Rats, after being denied entry to the Premier, made the best of matters by sweeping the CVSA First Division with a 9-0-0 record. The CVSA Cup run was more impressive, with victories over Premier Division heavyweights FC Bosnia and Capital One FC. The Rats trailed the Bosnians 1:3, and fought level with a late PK in regulation. An overtime strike by Rob "Guido" McCourt sealed the victory and a trip to the Quarterfinals. After a power outage at Dorey Park for the Semifinals, the Rats had to wait until late July to play their CVSA Cup Final against longtime rival Lions FC. The Rats put up a valiant effort, falling 2:3 to the Lions in a respectable and gutsy performance in their fourth trip to the CVSA Cup Finals. The MDCVSA Challenge Cup cup was a letdown, with the Rats falling in the Quarterfinals 0:1 to Virginia Beach FC, and earning a fifth place finish overall. The Border Chops won the renewed Masters Division, clinching the title on the final day with a 1:1 draw against Lions Masters. It was the first time the Masters Division had been contested since 1998.
The summer brought little worth mentioning. The Fan Rats entered a high school team in the Premier that got beaten like a drum, although the boys did sport some real cool hairdoo's. The Border Chops had a run-of-the-mill season in the Second Division, and were knocked out of the playoffs by a run-of-the-mill Big Nasty team in the first round of the playoffs.
2003-'04: Setting the Standard
Fall '03 rolled around with the defending CVSA First Division Champion Fan Rats making a return to the Premier Division. With much of the Spring '03 cast returning, along with some new additions, the Rats embarked on their campaign. The season opener at Oakwood saw old-timers Rick Lyons (goal) and Franchesco "Ricki" LoPresti (assist) contribute in a 6:2 dismantling of those pesky Soviets known as Dynamo. After Hurricane Isabel rolled through the Rats did as well, steamrolling the remainder of the CVSA Premier Division to finish at 8-0-0 and their first CVSA Premier Division Championship since 1997. A final game against longtime rival Lions FC was unnecessary as the Rats clinched the title with one game to go. After the holiday break, the Rats picked up where they left off. Things got off to a good start with a 10:1 thrashing of BlackWatch United in the CVSA Cup. The Rats continued their march through the Premier. The climax being a 5:4 victory over archrival Lions FC to clinch the championship in April. The Rats finished the 2003-'04 CVSA Regular Season campaign with a spotless 16-0-0 record.
In the CVSA Cup, after some early-round warm-ups things got a bit tighter. In the Quarterfinals Metro Sting provided a tough test as Donkey's 87th-minute header clinched a 2:1 victory. The Semifinals brought Lions FC again, however the Rats could do no wrong in a 9:1 rout for the most lobsided victory in this long series. The Championship brought Lions Express. In a rematch of the 2002 Copa Bruce Final, the Rats turned the tables with a 5:2 victory and their second CVSA Cup Championship.
The USASA National Amateur Cup brought some unfamiliar opponents from far destinations, but the results were the same. In November the Rats opened with FC Beserkers of the NVSL at Dorey Park and applied a 5:0 shellacking. The semifinal round brought Sharks FC of the NVSL - a complete dismantling was accomplished with a 12:1 whipping. After a four month layoff the final was against Dynamos FC of the WPL, the defending State Cup Champions. Erwan LeCrom belted a direct kick from 30 yards out to clinch a 2:0 victory at the Maryland Soccerplex. It was the first time a Richmond team would represent the MDCVSA in the regional stages of the USASA National Amateur Cup. The Region I Quarterfinals brought Lighthouse SC of Philadelphia to town. Twice falling behind by a goal, the Rats fought back with Donkey, José (Chello) Umańa-Romero putting home headers to knot the score at 2:2. Overtime brought some tense moments, but Joey Farrell's header in the 115th minute gave the Rats a 3:2 victory. The run ended in the Region I semifinals in Baltimore. In a reversal of the earlier rounds, the Rats lost two one-goal leads and lost 2:3 in overtime to Jerry D's for their only loss of the season.
The MDCVSA State Cup provided another chance at a first for Richmond. Pitted in Group "B" the Rats started with a 4:0 whitewash of Lions FC, and then a 3:1 defeat of FC Beserkers of the NVSL. A forfeit over no-show RBIS Rampage of the NVSL won the group, and set a meeting with defending State Cup Champions Dynamos FC of the WPL. Andy McIntosh brought the Rats back from a 0:1 deficit as the Rats prevailed 2:1. The last obstacle - their oldest of rivals, Lions FC. After a number of rainouts the final was set. The final match started on Tuesday June 15th at Dorey Park in Richmond. The Lions struck first as Bret Meyers - the leading scorer of the 2001 MDCVSA State Cup - rocked one home in the 3rd minute for a 1:0 lead. Soon after, the rains came followed by lightning and the match was suspended in the 23rd minute. Weather problems and date conflicts - as well as a healthy longstanding local rivalry - brought the rescheduling of this Richmond derby to a standstill. Finally, third-party mediators were brought in and a date of August 1 was decreed. Action resumed at Dorey Park in the 23rd minute with the Lions FC up 1:0. Play was back-and-forth for most of the remainder of the 1st half until Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi won a scramble in the box, slotting the ball home for the equalizer and a 1:1 stalemate at the break. The first twenty minutes of the 2nd half were hard fought, with both of these local rivals at each other's throats. The Rats' relentless pressure on the Lions' box was finally "rewarded" with a penalty call when Charlie Fonville handled a cross. Andy McIntosh went side netting on the spot kick to put the Rats up 2:1. However, the floodgates were only starting to open. McIntosh's penalty kick would be the first of four goals in a ten-minute span that would turn this match into a classic. Trailing 1:2 and looking rather tired, the Lions FC fought back with the form that had placed them in three consecutive MDCVSA State Cup Finals. Don Hughes took a cross from the right side and let his momentum carry him through the Rat defense for a 15-yd. strike low and hard to knot the match at 2:2 in the 74th minute. McIntosh struck again with a nifty move at the left edge of the Lions box, pushed the ball toward the end line and let loose of a left-footed laser from a tight angle to once again go side-netting and lift the Rats to a 3:2 advantage in the 76th minute. With matters seemingly settled, the Lions started a break up the right flank, lofted a cross that was set to land at the edge of the arc. Rat keeper Safi Barekzi gambled and lost as he came out to challenge the drifter, and Scott Annett pounced on the lob and headed home the third equalizer of the match from 23 yds. out into an open net. All square at 3:3 in the 79th minute. The last ten minutes featured two-way traffic, with neither team able to convert. Golden goal overtime commenced with the Rats getting the better of the play, pounding the Lions' goal to no avail. The Rats hit two posts, the Lions one, as tension mounted. The first extra period came to an end with no winner. Nine minutes into the second extra stanza, the Rats's dominance of the box finally paid off as the 6'4" (193cm) Kirkpatrick nodded home a McIntosh cross for the game winner in the 114th minute.
The Fan Rats were State Champions. They became the first CVSA team to win the State Cup, and the first CVSA team to represent the MDCVSA on the Regional level. Simply an incredible season.
1990 - USASA National Amateur Cup, State Semifinalists
1991 - CVSA Cup Runners-Up
1991 - MDCVSA State Cup, Quarterfinalists
1992 - USASA National Amateur Cup, State Semifinalists
1992 - MDCVSA State Cup, Quarterfinalists
1993 - USASA National Amateur Cup, State Semifinalists
1993 - MDCVSA State Cup, Semifinalists
1993 - CVSA Premier Division Fall Champions
1994 - USASA National Amateur Cup, State Semifinalists
1994 - MDCVSA State Cup, Semifinalists
1994 - CVSA Premier Division Spring Champions
1994 - CVSA Cup Champions
1994 - City Cup Champions (Fan Rats 3, Richmond Kickers 2 - 3/4/94)
1994 - CVSA Premier Division Fall Champions
1995 - MDCVSA State Cup, Quarterfinalists
1996 - CVSA First Division Spring Champions
1996 - CVSA Premier Division Summer Tournament Champions
1997 - USASA National Amateur Cup, State Semifinalists
1997 - CVSA Premier Division Summer Tournament Champions
1997 - CVSA Second Division Summer Tournament Champions (Sidewalk Café)
1998 - CVSA Premier Division Summer Tournament Runners-Up (El Diablo)
1999 - CVSA Cup Runners-Up
1999 - CVSA Premier Division Summer Tournament Runners-Up
1999 - CVSA Third Division Summer Champions (FC Burrito)
1999 - CVSA First Division Fall Champions
2000 - MDCVSA Challenge Cup, Third Place
2000 - CVSA First Division Spring Champions
2000 - W&M SoccerFest, Men's Open Champions
2000 - W&M SoccerFest, Coed Open Champions
2000 - CVSA Second Division Summer Regular Season Champions (FC Burrito)
2000 - CVSA Summer Tournament Champions - Lower Bracket (FC Burrito)
2001 - MDCVSA Challenge Cup, Fifth Place
2001 - CVSA Coed Division Summer Regular Season Champions
2002 - MDCVSA Challenge Cup Champions
2002 - CVSA First Division Spring Champions
2002 - Copa Bruce Runners-Up
2002 - CVSA Second Division Summer Tournament Champions (FC Burrito)
2002 - CVSA Third Division Summer Tournament Champions (Sidewalk Café)
2003 - MDCVSA Challenge Cup, Fifth Place
2003 - CVSA First Division Spring Champions
2003 - CVSA Cup Runners-Up
2003 - CVSA Masters Division Spring Champions (Border Chops)
2003 - CVSA Premier Division Fall Champions
2003 - CVSA Second Division Fall Champions (Sidewalk Café)
2004 - USASA National Amateur Cup, State Champions
2004 - USASA National Amateur Cup, Region I Semifinalists
2004 - MDCVSA State Cup Champions
2004 - CVSA Premier Division Spring Champions
2004 - CVSA Cup Champions
2004 - MDCVSA Challenge Cup, Fourth Place (Rat Masters)
2004 - CVSA Second Division Summer Tournament Champions (Rat Masters)
2004 - CVSA Masters Division Fall Champions (Rat Masters)
2005 - MDCVSA Challenge Cup Champions (Sidewalk Café)
2005 - USASA National Amateur Cup, State Runners-Up
2005 - Copa Bruce Runners-Up (Sidewalk Café)
2005 - CVSA Second Division Summer Tournament Runners-Up (3 Monkeys)