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Sanibel Youth Soccer kicks off fall season

By Staff | Sep 30, 2010

Sanibel Youth Soccer’s 2010 season kicked off under the lights on Friday, Sept. 24 at the city fields on Sanibel-Captiva Road. Close to 200 players, ages 4 through 14, are registered this year.

The league consists of 18 teams in four age divisions: U6 (Under Six) is four and five year olds; U8 consists of six and seven year olds, U10 is eights and nines; and U13 is players ages 10-12. Each division is co-ed. In celebration of last summer’s 2010 World Cup, teams are named after traditional soccer powers.

The U6 and U8 divisions do not keep score but the action was fast and furious. In keeping with U.S. Soccer’s recommendations, these ages play short-sided games on small fields to maximize the touches that each player has on the ball.

On the U8 field, the Australian side had clearly benefited from Coach Mark Macalka’s cross country scouting trip in which he recently visited every U8 field from Phoenix to Florida. Not to be outdone though, Greek coach Leilani Sivsov would not disclose the secret ingredients in the Holy Smoke barbecue sauce, which was clearly fueling her fired-up squad.

The U10 opener was a rematch of the World Cup finals between Holland and Spain. Coach Tim Drobnyk’s Dutch side traded in their physical tactics of last summer’s final in favor of an attack that balanced speed and skill. The result was a 5-3 upset of the world champions. Spain coach John Costa, who led Portugal to the U10 championship last year, was unphased and vowed that his mid-field magicians would soon retake their position at the top.

In the U10 nightcap, France rebounded from its embarrassing performance of last summer with a dazzling display of teamwork as they persevered in a hard-fought 5-3 victory over host nation South Africa.

The U13 division was highlighted by two close games, each of which was decided by just one goal. Traditional powers Brazil and England battled in the first game. Brazil took advantage of two well-converted penalty kicks to take the victory. England coach Todd Roberts was pleased with the improved performance of his goal keepers but was still at a loss to explain Wayne Rooney’s inability to score more than just one goal.

The second game was also extremely close as Cameroon and Italy battled to the final whistle. Cameroon jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Italian striker Vincent Cianciolo cut the lead in half with just minutes to go. Late defensive heroics by Cameroon’s Kyle Cemel and Anna Hayes preserved the victory and honor of the African continent.

The action continues through mid-November. Come out and enjoy a relaxing evening watching the youth of Sanibel in action.