April 22-23, 2017
The St. Pete Raiders sent 5 teams to the 2017 Bradenton Cup; U11 Boys-White, U12 Boys, U13 Boys, U18 Boys & U18 Girls. The Raiders finished the tournament with a 5-5-6 record with 19 goals scored for and 19 goals scored against. While the tournament was not a great success for all of our teams we did have two teams claim the Championship trophy!
Congratulations to our U11 Boys-White and coach Zak Haddak and also to our U12 Boys and coach Kevin Dublin who's team played up to U13 and still took the title! Great job teams! Way to keep filling the clubhouse with hardware!
U11 Boys-White with head coach Zak Haddak on the right and Raiders Academy Director Gerald Morin on the left.
The U11 boys started the tournament on Saturday morning vs. a scrappy Naples Lions team. The teams were both well poised to make a run at the finals and played this first game to 0-0 draw.
Next up for the Raiders on Saturday afternoon was the Venice Falcons. Coach Zak made some adjustments between games and the boys were well prepared for this game defeating the Falcons 4-2.
The final game of group play came on Sunday morning vs. Norbrook Academy from Jamaica. Coach Zak again was ahead of his counterpart and had the boys on track for a finals appearance winning this game 3-1.
The Championship game was set to be played Sunday afternoon against the Naples Lions. Everyone figured this game to be a well played match between two teams that had played to a draw earlier in group play. However, the Naples Lions coach formed a protest before the game which was denied by the tournament director so the Naples coach refused to play the game, thus forfieting the Championship as a 4-0 win for the Raiders. Odd finish to a great event, but nonetheless the Raiders brought home the 4 foot trophy!!
The weekend of April 22-23 our U12 Boys played in the Bradenton Cup. Great competition was provided and they responded with confidence and a Championship!
We played a total of 4 games and grew with confidence with each one. Took on adversity with class and composure.
Our major competition was the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions U13 Boys team. They had size, speed and age over us. Clearly they have been playing together for a bit and they came to bring the pain as well.
Our first meeting ended with a 1-0 defeat and two players down. Dutch Lions came out immediately and showed that they were not afraid to get rough on the pitch. The referee was clearly OK with letting the players go. Even though possession was in our favor we had difficulty with keeping possession into the final third and then releasing our wingers and forward for shots.
Personnel adjustments were made and the boys responded with positive results. With the next two games we started to change the point of attack faster and that was our key with getting behind the oppositions back four.
With smooth movement and passing followed with ruthless finishing, the boys found their rhythm. We dispatched NL Rowdies U13, 3-0 and Braden River Rage Elite U12, 4-0; with such clinical display of the beautiful game.
Now the final is set for our boys to meet Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions again. Again they brought the pain with them into the final. Our boys stayed true to their task and continued to forge forward and allowed myself and Coach Wayne to deal with the referee and opposing coach in regards to their dirty play. The referee continued to allow them to be borderline dirty by not blowing his whistle and true to this game, kids started to get hurt.
Our boys picked themselves up, maintained focus and did not waiver from the ultimate prize!
Final Score: 3-1!!!
Our U12 Boys showed up this past weekend and represented what it means truly, to be a St. Pete Raider. Heart, Hustle, Determination, with Class, Style and Skills - full display for all to watch and marvel in!!!!!