Fragmented Soldiers stand down

The Calabash Soldiers had a great season last year, coming up one win short of a finals appearance and a chance at a championship. But last season’s success didn’t translate over into 2012. 

Last year’s player/sponsor Sean Moyle, who has been a wide receiver/cornerback for the last two years, commented on last year’s disappointing finish.  

“The team last year was a really good team. We started to pull together at the end of the season,” Moyle said. “We gave West Bay a run for their money for a little while in our playoff game. Once again, West Bay pulled it off at the end. It was a good team and we were gelling at the end.”  

But things haven’t seemed to pan out as he had hoped over the course of the offseason. Former head coach of the Soldiers, Johann Moxam, left the team to go coach the Hammerheads Pirates (now named the Dart Hurricanes); bringing with him six Soldier players, leaving the Calabash squad depleted.  

When asked about the change of scenery, Moxam said this: “I wanted a fresh start, we had sponsorship issues over the course of the offseason and I decided to take the Pirates opportunity when it presented itself.” 

Sean Moyle had an interesting perspective on the matter, “I was planning to sponsor the Calabash team again. I’m not playing this year, I’m retired, I’m too old for flag football.”  

There appears to be a lack of communication between the sponsor and coaches of the former Soldiers and their players. In any matter Moyle sounded like he was still willing to sponsor a Calabash team if he can put one together. 

There is no denying, however, that the Soldiers might have broken up, the team has been depleted and players have moved on. The Calabash Soldiers have had their fair share of off-field drama, however, Moyle doesn’t seem to have been informed on the current Soldier situation, “I had one practice with Johann, with the Pirates team. Other than practicing with the Hammerheads team, I’m not sure what’s going on. I’m told the core Soldiers guys like Leslie Harvey, Will Peguero and Edison Jackson have moved to Maples.” Moyle practiced with the Pirates on one occasion for a little bit of fun, not knowing, perhaps, that the team had actually absorbed the players he had known as his own. 

Star player Will Peguero (tight end/linebacker) is one of the former Calabash players who has moved to Maples. He had this to say about his old team: “Me and a couple other guys wanted to start something new. A couple other of the guys had already moved on to different teams and we didn’t want to start recruiting more players.”  

Peguero went on to say that there are no hard-feelings or animosity between any of the former Calabash players and coaches.  

“We’re all still friends, and it wasn’t anything to do with a disagreement or any controversy. A couple guys had even left the island so the team was depleted. But, to as far as my knowledge, there isn’t going to be a Calabash team this season.” 

Last week, the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association removed Calabash from the list of squads playing in its men’s league, which is being called the 2012 Digicel Summer League. Moyle later confirmed the move.  

“Calabash does not have a team this year. I was willing to sponsor but not to play, I’m retiring from the game.”  

The Calabash squad, it seems, was unable to overcome the lack of players and sudden departure of its stars and its former head coach. Moyle states there are no hard feelings.  

“I don’t despise anyone. Johann has been in this league a long time. He’s one of the best coaches we have and coaches are a necessary part of any team. I have no problems with him.”  

After having a successful season last year, the Soldiers have fallen off the map. Unfortunately, as Moyle states, there’s no timetable for their return and at this point it remains unclear whether they will ever return.  

“The Calabash Soldiers are not going to be a part of the flag football association.”