GUAM FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

Sportsmanship rewarded in youth soccer

Over 25 youth players in the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League were the first to be presented with “fair play” cards from league referees and officials after demonstrating exemplary sportsmanship in Week 5 matches at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

Beginning in Week 5 and continuing through to the league’s final week, referees and match officials will be rewarding selected players through “Fair Play with Triple J”, an initiative by the league’s sponsor. Names of athletes who are presented with the Triple J fair play cards are entered into a weekly raffle to win a limited edition hand-sewn official Kia World Cup soccer ball.

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Rankings set for U12A division playoffs

In Price Warfield’s return to soccer after a five-year hiatus, the 12-year-old is helping making waves with his Tigers team in the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

In the team’s Week 7 match, Warfield scored the lone goal in the 1-0 contest against the Guam Shipyard Wolverines, an intense match for the Tigers, playing without any available substitutes.

“Playing matches without substitutes is tough – you really got to push yourself hard playing every minute,” Warfield said after the match. “You have to take advantage of any scoring opportunity, but really play hard on defense.

“This is my first season coming back to soccer and my first with the Tigers. It’s been great – I’m part of a good team and play for a good coach. I joined to get away from (American) football for a bit and try something new in Guam,” added Warfield, a sixth-grader at Guahan Academy Charter School, who moved with his family to Guam in 2009 from Saipan.

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Players adjust to youth league changes

In the Southern Cobras’ late morning U14 match of the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League at the Guam Football Association National Training Center, 13-year-old Russell Perez incorporated some humbling lessons he learned playing up at the U17 division for two years.

“Since the Cobras didn’t have a U14 team for a while, I played up at the U17 division for four seasons,” said Perez, an eighth grader at Oceanview Middle School. “The U17 division was really hard – I hardly got the ball, and when I did get the ball, it was gone right when I touched it. It helped me, though.

“At the U14 division, there are a lot of national team players playing on the other teams, so it’s still challenging,” the Santa Rita resident added.

The Cobras, which had a U12 team last season, had enough players to move up to the U14 division this season, with players having to adjust to the regulation size field and playing with 11 players instead of nine.

Thanks to his experience playing for the Oceanview Knights’ soccer team, Perez’s teammate, Nathaniel Diaz, didn’t have many issues adjusting to the larger field size.

“It is different playing on the bigger field, but I got used to it when I played for Oceanview,” said Diaz, a seventh-grader at the middle school. “Our (club) team has been improving a lot from last season with all of us moving up to U14, even with the bigger field.”

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Officials continue to reward fair play in youth soccer

The ongoing Fair Play with Triple J initiative, which started last week, created a buzz in the youth soccer community and was again highlighted in Week 6 play of the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

In an instance when play was temporarily stopped after a Lil’ Bombers player went down, the Sidekick SC’s Andrew Unpingco kicked the ball to the Lil’ Bombers keeper in the ensuing drop kick in a U14 match. Moments later, the Lil’ Bombers’ Olivia Whitaker did the same when the situation was reversed. One of the match referees, Maria Abbey Iriarte, issued both players a Fair Play with Triple J green card to reward them.

“They didn’t have to give the ball back to the opposing team on the drop kick, but they did anyway without hesitation,” Iriarte said after the match. “I gave them both green cards for their fair play actions.”

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New players beginning to love soccer

More than half of the players on Tumon Soccer Club’s U14 team in the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth League are entirely new to the sport, but they’ve been enjoying scrimmages and league matches at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

“I like the experience a lot – it’s fun, but it’s a lot of running,” said Tumon Soccer Club’s 13-year-old Brandon Salumbides, who played his first official soccer match in Week 4 of the youth league. “My friend’s brother – Dylan Naputi – he plays on the Matao and I was inspired to try out the sport this year.

“I didn’t play for my school, but I hope with experience from the youth league, I can play for my high school next school year,” added the Agueda I. Johnston MiddleSchool eighth grader.

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