• Photo by Dawna Gage
    GSA U12 Boys get ready to play.
  • Photo by Dawna Gage
    Lane Dollar blocks a shot.
  • Photo by Dawna Gage
    Cooper Wilde goes after the ball.
  • Photo by Dawna Gage
    The GSA U8 red team gets a pep talk from their coach.

Graham Soccer Association competes at Hardin-Simmons 7v7 Tournament

The Graham Soccer Association sent All-Star teams to Abilene again this past weekend. GSA All-Star’s competed in the Hardin-Simmons 7v7 Classic.

Last time, the GSA players had to learn to play 5v5 soccer. This time, it’s 7v7, another reduced version of the usual 11 versus 11 format. Graham’s teams went up against tough competition from the region and adjusted well to the level of competition.

“This tournament was different than last week,” Dawna Gage said. “Rather than 5v5 with halftime breaks, this tournament was 7v7 with 25 minute games and no halftime, no offsides or throw-ins on the side. All kicks are indirect. Kick-offs can go backwards and goalies must throw the ball or set it down to kick it (no punting).”

The differing rules from week to week can take some getting used to for young players. Graham’s soccer athletes were able to adapt.

“Our teams spent the previous week learning how to play 7v7 with these rules,” Gage said. “They worked hard, caught on quickly to the new format and played very well. The spirit in the air was strong and positive.  Graham would have been very proud of these kids.”

The U7 boys played up into the U8 League. They made it to the quarter-finals and earned sixth place in the league. They played four games.

The Blue team in U8 boys were able to have some success. They played five games, won their playoff game for second seed in the division and placed third overall.

The U8 girls Red team placed sixth in the division and played five games.

The Red U11 girls played up in the U12 division and managed to place fourth in the division, playing five games. The U11 girls Blue team placed fifth and played five games.

The U12 Girls Blue team placed fifth in the division and played five games.

The U11 boys combined team played in the U12 division and had the most success at Hardin-Simmons. They made it to the semi-finals and finished fourth in the division. They got to play six games in the tournament.

The older kids got experience at the tournament as well. The U14 Coed Blue team played in the boys league and finished third in the division. They played five games, but the last was particularly exciting. They ended up playing against the Hardin-Simmons girls soccer team because the other team they were scheduled to play didn’t show.

Finally, the U14 Coed Red team played five games and finished fifth in their division.

The GSA teams, coaches and parents represented Graham strongly at the Hardin-Simmons Tournament in Abilene.

“I talked with some parents from an opposing team in the final consolation game. They didn’t know where Graham was or how big our town was, but were so impressed with the crowd we could bring and the number of teams we entered,” Gage said. “They were especially impressed with the heart our kids played with. The players never gave up and played hard until the whistle blew.”

The teams playing in Abilene were experienced. Graham’s young athletes were up the challenge.

“When asked how long our kids had played together, I explained that their all-star teams formed 17 days ago and the kids had participated in the AU Nation 5v5 the previous weekend and spent the last week learning 7v7, since we typically play 11v11 in our older leagues,” Gage said. “It blew the parents away since their teams had played 7v7 as a club team for over three years. That was the U12 Boys team, to which I also informed them that two of our players were third graders (9yr olds). They couldn’t believe the heart, drive and determination in our kids. The longer the day went on, the better our kids got. We (GSA and Coaches) were so incredibly proud of these kids.”

The GSA will take All-Star teams to Abilene for one more tournament this weekend. The All-Star calendar finishes with the Big Country Spring Fling in Abilene. The games will be played Saturday, May 7, with the championship games being played on Sunday (Mother’s Day). 

The GSA continues to take registrations for this summer’s soccer camp. The camp will be held the last week in June. There are Junior High and High School camp opportunities available.

Fall registration for soccer will also open soon. There will be gender specific teams, as well as High School teams. 

Those interested in more information can go to www.grahamsoccer.net

The Graham Leader

GRAHAM OFFICE
620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 228-0589