Guam – Not a rain cloud was seen overhead Saturday as over 1,000 youth soccer players from about 140 different teams in six age divisions made their way to the Guam Football Association National Training Center for the opening day of the 2012 Chevrolet Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League.
The addition of the Chevrolet vehicle display and games, along with emcee Kyle Mandapat, added to the festive atmosphere welcoming the island’s youth back to soccer.
For the first time, all teams from every age division, including the U6 division, played their matches on turf. Specifically for the youth league, GFA’s lower turf pitch is divided into eight mini-fields for the U8 and U10 divisions and four even smaller fields for the U6 division. The older soccer players from the U12, U14 and U18 division all played on the mini-turf pitch, which is subdivided into three smaller fields.
The league’s new small-sided format also features a U18 division, which replaces the usual U16 division. While most of last season’s U16 soccer players came back to play in the U18 division, some teams also recruited 16- and 17-year-olds who weren’t eligible to play in the youth league last season.
[The Wings FC team played against the Orange Crushers team in a match of the U6 division of the 2012 Chevrolet Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League Saturday at the Guam Football Association National Training Center. For the first time, the league’s younger age divisions played matches on the new turf pitch.]
In the 18A division, the ASC Islanders started off on the right foot by defeating their arch rivals from last season, the Wolverines, 4-2. The win didn’t come easy as the Islanders gave up its slim 1-0 lead minutes into the second half.
The Wolverines’ Nathan Camacho came through for his team scoring the equalizer early in the deciding half and moments later, Napu Mesa put his team up 2-1, forcing the Islanders to re-think their game strategy.
“After I scored the first goal in the first half, we relaxed a bit and thought we could just hold them down in the second half,” said the Islanders’ Ryan Quitugua after the game. “When they came back and took the lead, we had to push hard to score more goals. When we retained the lead, we played hard defense to stop their attack.
“Late last season, we wanted to get second place at least since the Wings Black team already took first, but the Wolverines always were one or two goals ahead of us. I know a lot of the guys on that team. It feels good to beat them this time since they beat us in the rankings last season,” the George Washington High School freshman added.
Francesca Pangelinan, Joshua Mendiola and Jared Collado each scored second-half goals for the Islanders for Saturday’s victory.
In other U18 games, the Southern Cobras defeated the Paintco Strykers 5-1 behind a pair of goals from Eddie Lorenzo and Mitchell Torre. Nick Roberto scored the Cobras’ other goal. Kent Ono logged in the lone goal for the Strykers.
Quality Distributors defeated Wings 2 4-0, Samurai Heat beat Cobras 2 3-2, Wings B downed Community First 3-2, Strykers B defeated Islanders B 6-3 and the Sidekicks B defeated Quality B 2-0.
In U14A games, the Wings blanked Community First 5-0 and Quality defeated the Sidekicks 5-2. In U14B games, the Wings clipped Community First 2-1, the Crushers shut out Tumon 3-0, the Cobras beat the Islanders 3-2 and Quality defeated the Wolverines 2-1.
In U12A games, Quality Red stopped the Strykers 3-0, the Wings blanked the Crushers 6-0, the Islanders defeated the Tigers 3-0, the Sidekicks shut out Quality Blue 2-0 and Community First edged the Wolverines 3-2.
In U12B games, Quality defeated Tumon 5-2, Community First shut out the Wolverines 2-0, the Wings blanked the Islanders 6-0, the Strykers beat the Cobras 4-2 and Samurai Heat kept the Sidekicks scoreless with a 4-0 win.
Youth league games continue Saturday. A schedule will be posted on GuamFootball.com.