BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 29, 2015–The last regular season games in Week 11 of the 2015 Smart 13 & Under Football Tournament took place on Saturday, June 27, at the MCC Grounds, and the stage is now set for the playoffs this coming Saturday, in which the top 4 teams will square off – #1 seed vs #4 seed, and #2 seed vs #3 seed in one-game knockout semifinals.
Before our report, a correction from last week’s report on Week 10, where we erroneously allocated the Ladyville Jaguars goal to D’Jon Canelo in their important 1-nil win over rivals Hattieville Youths. Actually, D’Jon assisted on the goal, which was actually scored by Alex Croft.
In the Week 11 schedule opener on Saturday, Face of Belize won by default over Third World. In game 2, Ladyville Jaguars strengthened their playoff hopes with an exciting 1-1 draw against Rising Stars, also based in Ladyville. Emilio Salazar put Rising Stars in front, but D’Jon Canelo equalized for the Jaguars. Game 3 saw Collet Strikers and Young Warriors, #2 and #3 ranked, respectively, playing to a nil-nil stalemate. These same two teams will clash in the semifinals, where a winner must be produced. In game 4 on Saturday, it was London Strikers, 1-0, over Heights FC, on a goal by Keffer Perteau. In game 5, City Boys got a goal apiece from Dwayne Tillett and Rasheed Lord, to register the 2-nil victory over Charlston FC.
And in the highly anticipated game 6, where Hattieville Youth FC needed a victory over undefeated Brown Bombers to wrench the playoff spot from Ladyville Jaguars, Hattieville’s hopes were quickly put to rest, as the Bombers immediately got on the scoreboard, and proceeded to bomb Hattieville by a 5-nil score. Nigel Matus struck twice, and Justin Menzies, Michael Bradley and Eldon Byrd scored a goal apiece for the victorious Brown Bombers, who not only ended the regular season undefeated, but also did not concede a single goal in the tournament. (See final regular season standings below.)
Also of note, history was made in the Smart 13 & Under in Week 11 on Saturday, where for the first time a team with two female players made it to the playoffs. According to coach Michael “Wataplat” Flowers, one of his female players, Lea Croft came off the bench in second half, with the game tied at 1-1, and made a critical “take down” tackle outside the eighteen, conceding a direct kick, but preventing what could have been an almost certain goal for Rising Stars. The #4 seeded Ladyville Jaguars are not given much of a chance against the #1 seed Brown Bombers in the semifinals on Saturday, but they have nevertheless made history, and of that they can be proud.