Miami Beach, FL – The eighteen members of the U15 Miami Beach State Champion Boys Soccer team were crowned champions of the Region III President’s Cup Tournament held in Decatur, Alabama on June 12, 2011. The tournament consisted of 12 State Champion teams from 11 different Southeastern states- North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, North Texas, South Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Florida. The Miami Beach team defeated 5 different states in order to claim the Region III trophy and is now heading to Des Moines, Iowa on July 6, 2011 in their quest for the National Championship in the National President’s Cup Tournament!
In their first match, the Miami Beach U15 team, coached by Cristian Gabriel Shmith, recorded a 1-1 tie against Alabama- Fusion 96, with a goal by Miami Beach midfielder Bryan DeFreitas, assisted by Gaston Villalba. The second match of the day ended in a 2-0 victory with a rout of Oklahoma- Blitz 96, with goals from Bryan DeFreitas, assisted by Gaston Villalba, and another goal by Gaston Villalba, assisted by Alan Elizondo. The third game, which pitted Miami Beach vs. Georgia- Atlanta Fire 96, ended in a 1-1 tie, with a goal by Gaston Villalba. With a 2-way tie between Alabama and Miami Beach for the spot in the semifinal match, both teams went to a penalty shootout to decide on who advanced. Miami Beach goalkeeper and team captain, Alejandro Cardenas made 2 incredible saves to keep his team in the shootout and Ignacio Rodriguez made the final penalty goal to help Miami Beach advance to the semifinals!
The semifinal game matched Miami Beach vs. North Carolina-WCWAA Black for a spot in the championship match. Goals by Miami Beach forward Gaston Villalba, assisted by Aaron DeFreitas and another amazing goal by Sebastian Mejia, also assisted by Aaron DeFreitas kept Miami Beach in the game against a very physical North Carolina team. When the game ended in a 2-2 tie, it went directly into another penalty shootout for the Miami Beach team. Goalkeeper Alejandro Cardenas once again came up with a huge save in the penalty shootout and scored the final penalty kick to put Miami Beach in the finals!
The finals match between Miami Beach and Texas- Houston Express 96 was a defensive battle from the start, with Houston Express controlling the ball with their extremely fast wingers. But the Miami Beach defense, consisting of Erik Sierra-Fuentes, Ignacio Rodriguez, Johann Amaya, and Otto Quiroz held strong and kept the Texas team from getting a good shot on goal. In the second half, a free kick from Gaston Villalba was headed away by a Texas defender, and Anthony Garcia was able to get the rebound and put it into the net past the Texas keeper to give Miami Beach the 1-0 victory! The victory marks the first Region III Championship victory by a Miami Beach Soccer team and the first time in history that a Miami Beach team advances to the National Championship tournament!
While in Alabama, the team was able to see much of the beautiful sights that the countryside in Huntsville and Decatur has to offer. They were also treated to an amazing bar-b-q dinner to celebrate their championship victory at the World Famous Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q restaurant!
The Parks and Recreation Department, parents and players are diligently working to raise the estimated $20,000 necessary to ensure that the team is able to travel to Iowa! The City is extremely proud of its boys for their well deserved victories and wishes them luck as they advance to the National President’s Cup Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa in July!
Look for future events and other Miami Beach Parks and Recreation programming in your Recreation Review, call our offices at 305-673-7730 or visit our website at www.miamibeachparks.com.