November 18, 2011 > Graduation Cup
Submitted By Roddy Lopez
Photos By Silvia Ochoa
Newark Soccer Club held its Graduation Cup, on Nov.5-6 at MacGregor Field, in Newark. The annual tournament is held at the end of the year for the boys and girls Under 8 division. Though scores do not count, and no standings are kept, during the regular league season, the tournament does have a scoring system. It gives the teams and players a chance to play in a tournament as well as display their talents in team play.
This year's boys division had 10 teams. Wolf Pack coached by Junior Terra, Thundersharks coached by Jonathan Martell, Copperheads coached by Manny Balcitas, Tsunami coached by Tom and Cheryl Collett, America coached by Emilio Sanchez, Pumas coached by Mario Ochoa, Knuckleheads coached by Robert Fernandez, Cheetahs coached by Freddy Cartagena, Earthquakes coached by Marcello Piotti, and Fireballs coached by David Duffield.
The girls division included five teams. Strikers coached by Ann Lombana, Joe Ulloa, and David Rosa, Lady Bugs coached by Paul Lambert, Cheetahs coached by Matthew Huerta, Thundergirls coached by Kenia Gutierrez, Corina Pena, and Fireflys coached by Julia Martinez.
The boys' final featured the Knuckleheads vs. Pumas. In a tightly contested match that featured both excellent attacking and defensive displays, the Pumas were able to stop a comeback bid by the Knuckleheads, with a 3-2 championship victory. Copperheads were the 3rd place winners over Cheetahs.
The girls' final came down to the wire and had parents and spectators satisfied that this was not just a game, but a really great match. Strikers and Thundergirls battled for the 40 minutes the tournament gave them to play their championship match. With the score tied 1-1 with 3 minutes left in regulation, Thundergirl forward, Kiarra Gutierrez sent a shot from straight away distance that just went over the Strikers goalkeepers hands.
The shot, was so well placed, that it had the Thundergirls coaches, team, and parents cheering on the sidelines, amazed at the goal they had just witnessed. Gutierrez had the best goal of the entire tournament. The Thundergirls won by the score 2-1 and were awarded First Place Champions, though the Strikers put on an amazing game. The Cheetahs won the Third Place match over the Lady Bugs.
Overall, it was a great weekend for soccer in Newark. All teams gave it their best, and a great finish to a great season. Special thanks are due to Silvia Ochoa, U8 Director, and Jose Arroyo, Tournament Director, for organizing the Graduation Cup. Also, thanks to all the volunteers that stepped up to referee the games. This included coaches, parents, siblings of players, and board members.