Laventille United walked away with two trophies at the end of the fourth edition of the AJI 3v3 Kids Soccer Tournament held at the Hasely Crawford Training Field on Saturday. And, despite reaching the finals in three divisions, Cox Coaching School came away empty-handed.
Cox went down in sudden-death penalties to Elite FC in the Boys Under-8 and Eastern United in the Under-10 divisions and also lost to National Pinks in the Girls Under-17 final. Marabella Family Crisis Centre defeated the Malabar Young Stars 1-0 in the Boys Under-14 Division.
Winning teams received a trophy and medals along with AJI jerseys for each registered player. In addition, the outstanding player in each age group was presented with a trophy and special vouchers from tournament sponsors.
But there is more in the mortar, one might say, than just the medals. National Women’s Team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson—whose brainchild the tournament is—says that, during the July-August vacation period, she will be staging a full-fledged six-week 3v3 league.
If things go well, this will eventually become the official Trinidad and Tobago qualifying tournament for participation in the Disney Tournament, at which top teams from the USA, Canada, Europe inter alia are represented.
Well known for her leadership of the national team during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign as well as for her candid comments on footballing issues in the country in general and those affecting women in sport in particular, Attin-Johnson has lost none of her passion. For some time now, she has been insisting that the benefits of 3v3 football are very real.
She remains convinced that the existence of any number of youth football academies and teams across the country has not fundamentally improved either the understanding of the game or the skill levels among the young football-playing population.
The 3v3 format, she argues, represents a tool for developing a better handle on key facets of the game at an early age. Because it features no goalkeepers, it facilitates and encourages the scoring of goals and the positive psychology and joyful conditioning that comes from so doing.
At the same time, it embeds in young players greater confidence in their mastery of the skills that are needed for success in 11 versus 11 full-field games.
She is confident that the future will prove her right.
2017 3v3 Kids Soccer Tournament Results
Elite FC 1 vs Cox Coaching School 1 (Elite FC won 3-2 in sudden-death penalties)
Eastern United 1 vs Cox Coaching School 1 (Eastern won in sudden-death penalties)
Laventille United 1 vs Santa Cruz FC 0
Marabella Family Crisis Centre 1 vs Malabar Young Stars 0
Laventille United 1 vs Dunross Past and Present 0
Nationals Pink 2 vs Cox Coaching School 0