Jan. 18, 2004 – Four teams from the St. Croix American Youth Soccer Organization are in Florida this weekend to represent the Virgin Islands at the annual Florida State Games in Weston, Fla.
A total of 90 soccer teams from across the United States will compete.
The St. Croix teams are participating for their third time, according to Tracy Bingham, AYSO regional commissioner and area director of the Caribbean. "We have consistently placed in the top five of each division in which we have participated at the Florida State Games. I am expecting a great showing from our teams this year," she said.
Traveling to Florida on Friday were the Boys Under-12 and Under-14 teams and the Girls Under-14 and Under-19 teams. Some of the members of the under-19 girls' team, led by St. Croix coach Yohannes Woerede, returned victorious from Tortola last weekend with a big win in the opening games of the Caribbean Football Association Women's Soccer matches.
The V.I. contingent to Florida includes Bingham, Woerede, technical director Francisco Ramirez of the V.I. Soccer Coaches Association, and St. Croix AYSO coaches, referees and parent chaperones. Fund-raising for the trip included raffle ticket sales, bake sales, and holiday gift wrapping services.
The state-of-the-art facility includes eight soccer fields, for maximum playing time. In support of player development, AYSO rules mandate that every team member must play at least half of every game. The total development of the soccer player, including good sportsmanship, is considered very important.
Bingham said the St. Croix organization is working on attaining and developing its own soccer fields, and will sponsor a golf tournament on Feb. 22 at the Carambola Golf Club to raise funds.
There are more than 150 St. Croix AYSO players from ages four to 19.
The second half of St. Croix's youth soccer season will begin on Jan. 24 on the fields at St. Croix Renaissance Park. More information about AYSO for both St. Thomas and St. Croix activities is available on the organization's Web site.
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