Andrew Hyres was one of only Army soccer players to join Team U.S.A. in the 2017 World Military Football Cup in Oman last month, sanctioned by the International Military Sports Council.
Hyres, a captain with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said he was happy to be selected after a rigorous camp with players from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
“It’s always an incredible honor representing the Army and, of course, the country at the highest stage of military soccer,” Hyres said.
The team struggled against the international competition, going 0-3 in pool play. In its first match Jan. 17, the U.S. was an early threat to Qatar with first half pressure that led to a few quality scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, Qatar went on a roll 10 minutes into the second half and finished the game winning 5-1.
Hyres scored the lone goal for the U.S. after his free kick was redirected by a defender. Despite the lopsided loss, Hyres said it felt good to score that goal against a good team in Qatar whose only loss was to host nation Oman in the cup final.
“I believe we were the only team to score on Qatar in the run of play in the entire tournament,” Hyres said.
The U.S. was not able to
capitalize on its opportunities, which also led to its loss to
Mali, 4-0, Jan. 19. Mali was
able to score through the
holes in the U.S. defense, which led to a change in its lineup. Hyres said the U.S. coaches shifted players to different positions — hoping to find something that would click on the field and turn the tide against Mali.
“This was a disappointing loss for all of us, since we thought we were the better team,” Hyres said. “I can say the same about the Ireland match (6-1 loss Jan. 21).”
Losing in all three matches of pool play certainly wasn’t the expectations the U.S. team had going into the 2017 CISM World Military Games. Hyres said the U.S. team always grows from its experiences in the tournament and learned a lot about execution this year.
Colonel Mark Drown, coach of the All-Army rugby program and former U.S. soccer player in the 1990s, had some positive feedback for the team, according to Hyres.
“He is a big proponent of giving us more time to train together throughout the year to give us a better shot at these international competitions,” Hyres said.
Looking ahead, Hyres has permanent change of station orders to Joplin, Mo., where he will be in charge of six recruiting stations in that region. He said he hopes to tryout and play for the Joplin Demize of the National Premier Soccer League when he gets there.
“(I will) keep my soccer training on the side,” Hyres said. “I’m happy to link up with the soccer community there in the Midwest as well as join some of my military comrades for tournaments in the Midwest, as well as Texas and Tennessee.”
He’s also got his eyes set on the seventh IMSC World Military Games in China in October 2019.
“I will be a little older by that time,” Hyres said. “But as long as I maintain my fitness, I think I can still prove (myself) as an asset and leader to our Team U.S.A.”