BY “Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
On the seventh penalty kick of the M&M Soccer Academy inaugural U10 tournament at the A. O. Shirley Grounds on Sunday, St. Croix Adys Youth Soccer Academy’s Adrian Abraham’s legger eluded the outstretched left arm of M&M Academy’s Etan Faulker, giving the visitors a thrilling 1-0 victory on penalty kicks, after a 0-0 regulation draw
“With this game, it’s like your heartbeat was in your hands even though you’re not playing, but it went do to the very nitty gritty with penalties and it was just a joy the way it went,” Adys Youth Soccer Academy coach Darel “Max” Gussie told Island Sun Sports. “Everybody enjoyed the game—you have a winner and a loser—but it was a game well played.”
M&M Academy, founded on April 7, 2018 by Morris Mark, who coordinated the training of the players and organized the weekend tournament that also attracted St. Thomas teams, were making their tournament debut, after their U12 counterparts played in St. Thomas earlier in the year, where they were victorious.
They didn’t let their more experienced St. Croix counterparts off the hook at any time during the highly competitive match, matching them in every department.
“This is what you talk about development in the process where the kids drive themselves to the end of the game,” said Mark who had to compose himself after the loss. “My boys, they played their hearts out and everyone was so impressed at how they played as a unit. The guys came out, took the instructions and they played to the end. It ended up in penalty kicks and that’s the way the game goes sometimes. Kudos to them. They worked hard for it to be in the final but, the way the ball bounces, you don’t win every time.”
As it was their tournament debut, Mark said he thinks they’ll learn you have to work really hard and even when you work really hard, you have to go past whatever it is. “They’ll know they have to train hard and come back next year to defend what they have to defend,” he said.
Gussie thanked Mark for organizing the tournament and said they want to do more for the children in different island. His organization has been involved in developing young soccer players for the last 20 years.
“The youths need this exposure so they can go to the next extent,” he said.
Mark said there was a high level and high qualify understanding of the game.
“It wasn’t just about playing, but understanding how the game should be played, in the true essence of the word understanding and playing at a very high level,” he noted. “These guys are just out there working their butts off.”
The tournament began with St. Thomas Montessori taking a 1-0 win over M&M U12s B Team. St. Thomas’ Massey Academy U12s trimmed M&M, 3-2. St. Croix Adys U10 were 7-0 winners over M&M U10 B Team. Massey Academy got past M&M U12 B Team, 6-1. In the U17s, Massey trimmed M&M, 1-0. Massey also tamed Old Madrid, 1-0 in another U17 encounter and M&M and Montessori U12, played to a draw.