GSA youth soccer travels to Abilene
The Graham Soccer Association sent all-star teams to compete in Abilene on Saturday in the AU Nation 5v5 Cup two day tournament. The GSA sent 10 teams to Abilene to compete at the tournament. This is the first time the GSA has sent teams to this tournament.
The GSA entered two U7 girls teams, one U7 boys team, one U8 boys team, two U12 girls teams, two U11 boys teams and two coed U14 teams.
The young players didn’t have very much time to get ready for the tournament. The GSA all-star teams formed and learned how to play 5v5 (five versus five) in less than 12 days. Most of the teams in the tournament had played 5v5 together for three years or longer. That experience put Graham at a large disadvantage.
“Most of the teams in the tournament had played 5v5 together for three-plus years,” Dawna Gage said. “It was a little intimidating at first, but once the graham athletes found their footing, it was game on.”
5v5 is a simplified version of the 11 on 11 typical game format. With less players and more ground to cover the game has quite a different feel. For younger players, the 5v5 form of soccer can be an easier environment to develop skills and get more touches on the pitch.
Graham’s different youth teams competed against an assortment of youth athletes. Teams at the tournament came from Lubbock, Midland, Abilene and the surrounding Big Country area.
This tournament was a first for Graham and unventured territory.
“The GSA athletes represented Graham well and left everything on the field,” Gage said.
The different age divisions had different levels of success at the tournament. The U11 boys Red team placed second in their bracket. They went 1-1-1 at the tournament.
The U11 boys Blue team went 2-1 and made it to the semi-finals.
The U14 coed Blue team tied for second in their bracket. They finished with a record of 1-2.
For the younger athletes, success was achieved on the pitch that will serve them in their future soccer endeavors. The U8 boys made it to the semi-finals with a record of 1-2. The U8 girls Red team finished in a tie for second with a record of 0-2. The U8 girls scored in both games enabling them to place in that tie for second.
The U7 boys finished 1-2 and fourth in their bracket. The U12 girls Red team went 0-2-1 and finished tied for third in the bracket, thanks to their points scored.
The U12 girls Blue team also finished tied third with a record of 0-3 in their bracket.
The U14 Red team placed fourth in their division with a record of 1-2 at the tournament.
There was no shortage of coach involvement at the tournament. The GSA had a number of all-star coaches that worked with the young athletes. The coaches that participated in Abilene are: Pete Clark, Abel Bueno, Luis Simental Jr., Aaron Walker, Guy Gage, Olga Gonzalez, Tish Jacoba, Jordan James and Brendan Locker.
The GSA all-star teams will compete two more weekends in Abilene. Saturday, April 30, the GSA all-star teams will compete in the Hardin-Simmons 7v7 tournament. Games are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.
For those interested in joining the Graham Soccer Association there are different opportunities to get involved. Fall registration will include divisions for ages 3-U19. High school teams and gender-specific teams will be formed this fall.
The GSA is also hosting a summer camp with Challenger Sport’s British Soccer this summer, June 27 through July 1. Different age groups are available and separate pricing exists for the different summer camps.
To register go to www.challengersports.com. Those that register by May 13 will get a replica jersey.