By Walter Reich

Last weekend, the Manatees/Cedar School Football Programs sent two U10 girls teams (Pink and Green) to St. Croix to play in the Summer Fest Football Tournament organized by the Lady Rovers.

“The intention had also been to also send an U15 girls team but conflicts with DanceFest and Exams made that impossible on this occasion” remarked Walter Reich. “Instead we organized to have two of the girls willing and able to compete to join forces with the Castaways FC team from St. Thomas”.

The tournament was a huge success with the Manatees/Cedar Green U10 team winning the tournament with a nail biting 1-0 victory over the host Lady Rovers U10 A team. The lone goal in the championship game proving to be the game winner came from Evie Stanton from a brilliant assist from Isabella Quezada Hernandez. Evie would also earn overall tournament MVP for her efforts. Maisy Sutherland Pilch would claim the clean sheet in the final after also recording a clean sheet in the 1-0 semifinal victory over St. Thomas that had supporters making the journey to St. Croix at the edge of their seats. Maisy would later thank her teammates, especially those playing the back line for their efforts. She singled out Haven Meyers for her solid central defending and distribution of the ball and Isabella Quezada Hernandez for her unending energy for helping achieve the clean sheets and ultimate victory.

The Manatees/Cedar Pink team lost in the Bronze Medal match in an equally tight match losing 1 nil to Castaways FC from St. Thomas to win 4th place in the 8 team tournament.

“The victory in the final was sweet revenge against the same team that Manatees/Cedar Green had lost to in the preliminary round 4-3” remarked Coach John Reilly. “The girls were understandably nervous entering the game but quietly confident as they had continued to improve throughout the three day tournament under extremely hot conditions. Their determination, fight and grit on display from the opening whistle to the final whistle when kids and supporters alike could be seen hugging each other with tears in their eyes”. “It was great to see the Manatees/Cedar Pink team run on to the pitch to celebrate with their friends”. Remarked Matt Freeman, a supporter making the long journey to St. Croix. Assistant Coach Peter McKeown Walley noted that “the girls will not soon forget this tournament. He noted that his daughter Katya Kampov-Walley had been in charge of bringing the winning trophy back to Tortola and had kept it always in sight including when going to sleep.”

Isla Meyers, captain of the 4th place team would pick up the Golden Boot award with 10 goals scored over the course of the tournament. “Unfortunately her early success meant that opposing coaches took the approach to mark her closely, sometimes with two defenders which made it hard for her to find the space in the semis and bronze medal match” noted Coach Alessandro Palladino.

In the U15s, the Castaways FC team that Eva Carey and Imogen Allen played with, came in 2nd place in a hotly contested tournament. Imogen would pick up the Golden Boot award by picking up 6 goals while Eva, playing in a defensive midfielder role would chip in 4 goals of her own to narrowly miss winning the award herself.

“The girls all had a terrific time both on and off the pitch, especially at the Sneaker Ball hosted by the Lady Rovers FC team on Sunday night” remarked Teams Organizer Sophie Stanton. They are already looking forward to next year’s tournament. “The victory by the U10s in St. Croix is a wonderful way to celebrate the Cedar Soccer Sisters After School Program and the Manatees Saturday Morning Youth Football Programs both of which are open to the whole Tortola community. Early this year, the U18 Cedar Girls Team won in an equally contested tournament in Jamaica so its nice to see success on both ends of the youth programs” noted Head Organizer Julie Reich.

U10 Girls heading to St. Croix were as follows – Livia Vass, Evelyn Freeman, Isabella Quezada Hernandez, Maisy Sutherland Pilch, Jemma Sutherland Pilch, Lily Graham, Jannah Bazzar, Haven Meyers, Ivy-Rose Butler, Piper Bailey, Mira Meyers, Isla Meyers, Dottie Whitting-Knight, Katya Kampov-Walley, Evie Stanton. U15s playing with Castaways were Eva Carey and Imogen Allen. Given the age group traveling a number of parents will also be making the journey to St. Croix to cheer on the girls and to help between matches. The teams were headed by Head Coaches John Reilly and Alessandro Palladino, Assistant Coach Peter McKeown Walley and Teams’ Coordinator Sophie Stanton.


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