Hard work and months of training paid off for the YWAM Under-16 football team from Belize, as they returned to Belize from Mexico with the 3rd place trophy for the Copa Nacional Gladiadores Merida 2013 tournament.
The team was initially invited to take part in the regional tournament as a result of their performance in another friendly tournament that was held late last month in Merida, Mexico. They only lost one match in five days of games in that tournament and, in so doing, captured the attention of the organizers, who invited them back for the Copa Nacional Gladiadores Merida 2013.
In order to make the trip, the talented footballers, led by their coach/trainer Santi Valencia, who is also the Director of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Belize, which is an international, denominational, non-profit Christian organization, sought the help of the media to garner financial sponsorship to travel back to Merida for the competition.
Fortunately, they got the support and ended up doing exceptionally well once again, claiming an impressive third place after playing three games.
Upon their return, Coach Valencia and the team re-visited the media to express their gratitude for the sponsorship and said that he must applaud [the] “Belize business people”, namely the team’s sponsors, because “they came aboard, they got behind the team and gave us the financial support to go, [therefore] we had a good trip and we were able to cover much of our expenses.”
The players mentioned that although the competition was tough, they enjoyed the experience and learned a lot in the process.
The team hopes to continue playing in tournaments outside of Belize in an effort to continue gaining exposure for the players which, according to the coach, “undoubtedly plays a critical role in their development.”