PRESS RELEASE – Hundreds of youth soccer players in the U8 and U10 age divisions took a break from league matches and instead participated in a day full of fun at the 2014 FIFA Grassroots Festival at the Guam Football Association National Training Center Saturday.
For seven-year-old Mahkayla Manibusan, the festival, which featured several activity stations managed by coaches from the FIFA Grassroots Coaching Course, was a fun event and truly represented the spirit of grassroots football.
“Trying your best is better than being the best,” said Manibusan, who plays for the Paintco Strykers in the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth League. “It’s not about winning, it’s about doing your best.
“I liked the festival. I liked when we learned how to kick the ball to the goal and to teammates and when to say ‘pass the ball’ (when you’re open),” Manibusan added.
After finishing all activity stations at the festival, youth athletes were treated to frozen treats and gifts from FIFA.
“(The festival) was a lot of fun,” said eight-year-old Kayanah Kamminga, who plays for the ASC Trust Islanders. “I liked the activity where we had to kick the ball to the goal the most.”
For six-year-old Kylee Kamminga, also from the Islanders, her favorite part of the festival was team play. “I like to play soccer because I like to kick the ball. (At the festival) I liked when we were kicking the ball to each other (as a team).”
The festival was the culmination of a weeklong FIFA Grassroots Coaching Course, attended by close to 30 coaches from different youth clubs. For first-season Sidekick SC coach Tony Rapadas, he got more out of the course than what he had expected.
“When I was offered the opportunity to participate in the course, I was thinking the course was for new coaches like me to receive coaching tips and examples of training sessions for the kids,” Rapadas said. “During the course, however, we also did a lot of group work and we learned how to organize and manage a festival.
“Seeing all the smiles on the kids’ faces during the festival, I know they all were having a lot of fun. I liked working with the other coaches and watching the kids have fun with soccer,” added Rapadas, who has two children in the youth league, Tony, Jr. and Victoria.
Like Rapadas, first-season coach Vanessa Losongco also benefitted from attending the course.
“It was my first-ever coaching course, but I know it won’t be my last,” said Losongco, a U6 coach with Quality Distributors. “When I was registering my daughter at GFA, I saw a flyer about the course and I thought it might help me be more creative when coaching.
“We were given coaching material from FIFA, and the first thing I did was flip through the pages looking for illustrated diagrams of coaching sessions, which I found. I look forward to incorporating what I learned during practices and sharing the reference materials with other coaches,” Losongco added.
Losongco’s daughter, five-year-old Kaleah Olkeriil, volunteered her mother to coach her team after last season’s coach, Jennifer Johnson, moved from Guam. Losongco said she hadn’t coached before, but had assisted Johnson in practices by setting up cones and markers and helping to manage the players. She agreed to take the position this season, and looks forward to more education courses for new coaches.
In U12A youth league matches played on Saturday, the Wings Red defeated the Sidekick SC, the Islanders battled to a 1-1 draw with the Guam Shipyard Wolverines, and the Tigers defeated the Wings Black 5-1.
In U14 matches, Strykers White defeated the Wings 6-0, Strykers White defeated the Southern Cobras 6-0, the Tigers defeated Community First Dededo Soccer Club 8-2, Quality defeated the Sidekick SC 7-1, and the Wolverines defeated the Islanders Asut 5-0.
Youth league action continues Saturday. Updated schedules are available online at http://www.guamfa.com/all-leagues-youth-fall-results
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