Nov. 6, 2003 – Peacemakers U14 team travels to Tortola Saturday, Nov. 8, for games with Tortola and Virgin Gorda teams.
Peacemakers Youth Soccer Club — formerly the St. Thomas Youth Soccer Association, Inc. — Under 14 team players are strapping on their shin guards and lacing up their cleats for games in Tortola against the BVI Football Association (affiliated with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)) U14 team from Tortola and from Virgin Gorda.
This is the first soccer trip to Tortola since February 2000, when more than 50 players in the U10, U12 and U14 age groups traveled there for games. Later that year the Tortola teams participated in the St. Thomas Youth Soccer Association Thanksgiving Soccer Tournament.
So this is the first time the U14 team — who were U10 then — has connected with Tortola in more than 3 years. It is understandable that Peacemakers and the BVI teams are apprehensive, not knowing what the competition is, but excited to get the opportunity to play some high-level competitive soccer.
In 2000, the Tortola team had several strong players and recently youth players have benefited from trained coaches and renewed efforts to expand youth soccer development in the BVI.
Most of the Peacemakers U14 players having been playing and practicing together since January 1999, when the team traveled to their first major tournament in Coco Beach, Fla. The U10 team was coached exclusively by Robert "Trip" Dunville until he left the island in 2002. The team has several strong players and, because they have played together for so many years, they are cohesive and communicate well on the field. Most of these U14 players have benefited from several travel games and tournaments to Antigua, Anguilla, St. Croix, and Orlando, Fla. (2001 for the Disney Soccer Festival).
FIFA certified coach Clifton Williams has been conducting high-level practices with these players from September. Coach Williams has been working through a "curriculum" to increase the U14 players' knowledge of the game, stamina and skills in preparation for the Disney Tournament in Orlando at Easter 2004. These players are expected to be the ones to represent the Virgin Islands at the U15 and U17 competitions in the future.
Peacemakers will schedule games with the BVI teams on St. Thomas before year's end.
Several parent chaperones will travel with the players. Most are looking forward to seeing competitive youth games and traveling under the three Peacemakers' ships sportsmanship, friendship and scholarship.
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