USS Stethem Plays Soccer in Timor-Leste 
Story by Lt. Nicole Schwegman Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs  
DILI, Timor Leste (Nov. 28, 2011) – Sailors from the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) joined members from the Timor-Leste Defense Force in a game of soccer Nov. 27.

The game was one of several professional and social events Stethem Sailors participated in with their Timor Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) counterparts.

"This is all a part of the partnership that we are strengthening," said Cmdr. Brent DeVore, commanding officer of Stethem. "It was a great game played in an affable environment."

The game was held on Democracy Field for nearly two hours, with the Timor-Leste Defense Force team winning the game. Lt. j.g. Jhon Alcide, Stethem’s team captain, said that the although the team played well, it was difficult to prevail against the Timor-Leste offense strategy.

“We put up a good friendly fight, but we couldn’t overcome the team as they played very well,” said Alcide. “However, despite the fact that we didn’t win, it was a fun game and I think it paved the way for future events like this.”

Players from both teams exchanged hats, small mementos and spent some time getting to know more about each other.

I was excited because it was an opportunity to meet people and to get off the ship a little bit”, said Sonar Technician Surface Seaman Madeline Marshall. “I think it’s good for the ship and it’s good for them as well. I didn’t know much about Timor-Leste before I got here but I was happy for the opportunity to learn more from the other team’s soccer players.

In addition to the soccer game, Stethem offered tours of the ship, hosted an evening reception, and conducted repairs and training on engineering and combat systems aboard several Timor-Leste Navy vessels.

The Essex Expeditionary Strike Group consists of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, USS Essex (LHD 2) and Stethem, which report to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.
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