Long-time islanders who know I’ve spent many years and logged hundreds of hours coaching young soccer players at the community center in Anna Maria, whether recreational leagues or for the once 400-member strong Island Futball Club.
I’m still coaching, although I’m now putting my energy into the Bradenton G.T. Bray Park-based Manatee Magic soccer club.
I recently had the pleasure of leading a new team of 10 and 11 year old boys, a group that includes former Anna Maria Elementary student Gregory Jordan, to its first competitive soccer matches. The team played the Tampa Bay Labor Day tourney at Premier Sports Campus in east Bradenton.
I entered the team to help them cut their competitive teeth, so to speak, and prepare for the upcoming United Soccer Association season, which kicks off in October. I cautioned the parents to be patient and not to judge the boys on wins and losses.
All the boys did was go out and win every game on their tourney schedule and a first-place trophy.
Their first game Sept. 1 against Heartland Soccer Club was a bit shaky. The boys fell behind 1-0, but that deficit was erased by a beautiful strike from Jordan, who intercepted a goal kick and fired a looping shot over the goalie’s head to tie the score at 1-1. Ethan Yurkovich notched the game winner when he hit a hard-angle shot from the right side that found the back of the net to give the Magic a 2-1 victory.
The boys went on to record a 5-2 victory in their Sept. 2 match over the West Florida Flames and followed with a 4-1 victory over Oldsmar in the afternoon. The boys put an exclamation point on their weekend when they rolled to a 4-0 victory over the host Lakewood Ranch Chargers in their final tournament match, completing the weekend with a 4-0 record.
The boys played stronger as the tournament progressed, also learning their positional responsibilites on the team. They were led by central midfielder Fabian Ramirez, who paced the Magic with seven goals in the tourney. Owen Jones scored three goals, Jordan finished with two and Ethan Yurkovich, DeJongh and Frankie Vitori each chipped in goals.
The Magic 10-11 boys are looking forward to their regular season on the pitch, though their expectations may have improved a bit.
There was no need for playoffs during last week’s horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits as both days produced outright winners during pool play.
The Sept. 5 games saw Gary Howcroft overcome three 10-point deficits to win every match and record the only 3-0 pool-play record, winning the day’s proceedings.
The Sept. 8 games saw the team of Hank Huyghe and Dom Livedoti earn the day’s bragging rights with the lone 3-0 record during pool play.
Play gets underway at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection.
There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.
Key Royale golf news
Heavy afternoon rains shut down all golf activities at the Key Royale Club last week. Regular action will resume when the course dries out.