A different year but same result. That was the message etched on the faces of the management and players of the Jamaica national schoolboy football team as they streamed out of the Lauderhill Sports Complex, South Florida, on Sunday evening.
Coach Miguel Coley did not have his best weapons on this trip but the team, a selection of the better players from the ISSA/Manning and daCosta Cup competitions, played well in stages, to get to the finals of the annual youth tournament, organized by the Caribbean American Soccer Association (CASA).
After a hard fought game, CASA U20 defeated Jamaica U20 by a score of 3 to 2 goals. CASA scored the go ahead goal in the closing moments, which proved to be a heartbreaking loss for Jamaica, as they watched the game whistled to a close once the ball was spotted after CASA scored the third and final goal.
The CASA selection shocked the park, scoring twice before the Jamaican ‘schoolers’ could settle in on the Astroturf, getting both goals from the tricky Warwick Sterling. The Jamaican juveniles would make a game of it, clawing their way back into contention with two unanswered goals of their own thru’ Jahwani Hinds (Wolmers), and Shaun Genius (STETHS).
In pressing for the tie-breaker, Zachary Atkinson found himself with just enough room to slip one past goalie Jamali Waite (JC), for the heart breaker, instead. CASA 3, Jamaica 2.
According to Ed Barnes who covered the five day tournament, “credit to the schoolboys from Jamaica,
missed a number of clear cut chances and in pressing for the win, they were left open at the back and Zachary Atkinson punished them in the 90th minute with a right foot strike”.
Miami defeated Albion Plantation 2 goals to 0 to secure third place. Horacho Turner of CASA was named the Tournament MVP. Barbados ended the tournament without a point from three matches.
By Aubrey Campbell