"This year the U12 boys entered the statewide competition, Commissioners Cup, that started back in march with over 90 teams participating from all four corners of the Sunshine State. The boys entered this tournament with high spirits and soaring confidence in themselves and each other. Prior to entering this tournament, the boys played in the Gasparilla Cup and really found their soccer!! They were able to compete and win for the Gasparilla Cup with superb soccer playing.
With this new found confidence and work rate from top to bottom, the boys entered group stage and did very well with only one loss to Bonita Springs Storm. We were able to qualify for the second round in this competition via a Wildcard spot.
The focus of the boys has grown tremendously in each player, allowing for good training sessions that lead to their great performances. We had some very tough opponents to battle against:
Venice 0 - St. Pete Raiders 1
-> This was a very tough game and needed to go all the way to Penalties to figure out the winner. The boys pushed aside their nerves and showed ice veins as they stepped up tp the penalty spot to seal their victory!
Tampa Bay United West Red 1 - St. Pete Raiders 2
-> What a performance by Jeremy Barton who had a tremendous game! First half he was facing the sun. I promise you that I would not have been able to make any saves if I was in that net. The sunshine was directly in his line of vision and was still an impenetrable wall! His goal kicks and punts were spot on every time.
East Pasco 1 - St. Pete Raiders 4
-> The boys took control of this game early and fast! Pitch was big and we took advantage of the space with our possession game. With Alex Hemsey and Giovanni Lugo patrolling the middle and finding great passes to our wingers streaking down the line!! Mr. Brayden Andringa also hit the net with a great upper 90 shot from just outside the box!!! Great performance by all in this one!!!!
GPS Florida West 0 - St. Pete Raiders 3
-> Another all around great performance by all for this decisive win by the boys. A special nod to Dylan Sisoulath he netted his first goal of the season and it was a beauty!!
Bonita Springs Storm 3 - St. Pete Raiders 0
-> We took a loss to this team in our Group Stage games and it seems that they still have our number. The boys came out in the first half ready for the challenge and fell short of putting that first goal into the net. We had great possession and opportunities that we could not put away. Just before the half Bonita was indeed able to stick one into the back of our net. Second half was the true test of mind over matter. It was very difficult for us to turn this game around with few chances not getting put away, made things that much more tough on our hearts.
The boys took us on a fantastic ride thus far. They have shown tremendous work rate coupled with great skill sets and individual brilliance. I know that this is only the tip of the iceberg for this groups of outstanding young gents!
U12 Boys after being crowned Champions of the 2017 Gasparilla Cup!