Guam – The Southern Heat’s Joseph Mansapit and Dathen Sanchez were among close to a thousand children who participated in the Chevrolet Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League season-ending event, the Guam Football Association Grassroots Program at the GFA National Training Center.
“I liked the activities (during the Grassroots Program) – they were so much fun,” said Mansapit, an eight-year-old student at Merizo Martyrs Memorial School. “I liked the games too because I get to play with my teammates and I can score goals with them. I like to score goals.”
Among the activities slated for the youth league’s under-8 and under-10 division teams were quick, 15-minute games against different teams and activities at different stations, where team members engaged in different soccer drills disguised as fun activities. Teams began at designated areas of the lower turf pitch and rotated every 15 minutes to the next designated area where they were either met with a new team to play against, or they in participated in soccer-related activities.
[In the battle of the two southern teams – the Southern Cobras and the Southern Heat – in the U8 division of the Guam Football Association Grassroots Program, the season-ending activity for younger age divisions of the Chevrolet Robbie Webber Youth League, the final outcome was a fun-filled match among friends at the GFA National Training Center. The teams rotated every 15 minutes to play against other teams and at one point during the day, participated in soccer drills disguised as fun activities for the kids.]
“I liked the games and I also liked the activities,” said Sanchez, a seven-year-old student, also from Merizo Martyrs Memorial School. “My favorite activity was the goal-scoring activity. We had to jump, go under, run zig-zag (around the cones) and then shoot the ball.
“Soccer is my favorite sport,” added Sanchez, who has been playing soccer for three years.
In addition to the goal-scoring activity, other activities included target-shooting, where one set of participants each had a ball and kicked it towards another set of participants duck walking across a line, aiming to stop the moving targets. The participants constantly switched roles in the 15-minute activity. The kids also participated in other passing activities and speed activities through the afternoon.
On the mini turf pitch, under-6 division teams participated in games consisting of two, 10-minute halves. The teams then moved to an adjacent U6 field to play another game against another team.
“On the last day of the season for the younger age divisions, we set up a format where the kids could let their hair down and relax while playing the sport,” said GFA Youth Administrator Robby De Guzman. “Their competitive spirit still stays intact, but it turns into fun. Whether the teams had a good season or one that wasn’t so good, they end the season on a positive note in a fulfilling way.”
[Some Sidekicks U8 team members laugh when they find out what the objective of the target shooting activity is during the Guam Football Association Grassroots Program, the season-ending activity for younger age divisions of the Chevrolet Robbie Webber Youth League at the GFA National Training Center. Each participant kicked one soccer ball toward other participants in the activity who were duck-walking across a line acting as moving targets.]
The different youth clubs also continued the youth league Jamboree spirit, setting up canopies next to the lower turf pitch with food and drinks for players, parents, coaches and fans. Individual clubs also handed out awards for players at their designated booths.
After the Grassroots Program ended, the kids were treated to gifts from GFA, from T-shirts – including 100 special AFC Grassroots Year 2013 T-shirts, to drawstring bags to pins among other items. Chevrolet representatives were present promoting AC Delco’s $5 cash back for car batteries promotion at the event and Choco Milk representatives handed out free chocolate or strawberry milk drinks for the kids.
Additionally, the Choco Milk representatives held a mini raffle with cans of Choco Milk milk supplements as prizes.
The Grassroots Program is one of several around Asia, celebrating Asian Football Confederation’s Grassroots Year 2013 and Grassroots Day. This year’s theme is “Let’s Play!” encouraging Member Associations to organize activities to promote and emphasize the accessibility of the sport and its social benefits, developing a strong foundation that will allow players to progress to the elite level, the AFC Web site states.
The under-12, under-14 and under-17 divisions played their league matches as scheduled. The under-12 teams completed their 10-week season, while the under- 14 teams continue play Saturday, with the silver-bracket finals and third-place match. The gold-bracket teams play their last round-robin matches on that day to determine which teams will be competing for the division championship or for the division’s third place spot May 4.