It has been another eventful and memorable week for our Under 10 football team.
With two very tough fixtures to fulfil in one week (to determine final league positions), it was imperative that our students brought their A game to the field of play.
The first encounter was against a very strong and physical EIS Meadows team. When GCS went one nil down it was the first time that the team had been a position of coming from behind and a test which would certainly challenge their character.
Thankfully, our hard-working students picked themselves up from this early setback and once more stood up to the challenge they faced. The team started to match the physical power of their opponents and their confidence grew. They began to play the attractive football which they are capable of and after a series of promising attacks, with Nicolo beginning to dominate the centre of midfield, Lian found himself on the end of Hashem’s clinical pass and the South African showed a lot of composure in front of goal. This was soon followed up with another excellent through ball from Gabe and with Michel confusing the opponent’s defensive line, Lian took charge and powered home his and GCS’s second, to take the team into a half time lead.
After a much needed and well deserved half time break, and with fresh legs on the field, it was crucial that the team remained focused. Their opponents staged a strong comeback and thankfully Hadi T worked well with Omar to hold a strong defense line, whilst Hadi B initiated promising attacks from midfield. Our Under 10’s had stood up to the test and when Omar steered a free kick into the top corner, the stage was set for the team to take their most recent victory into their next and final league game.
The next day, the team faced Arabian Ranches to decide on their final league positions. Both teams had all to play for and the stage was set for our Under 10 champions to try and defend their crown.
Throughout the term, our students had worked hard to develop effective communication skills on the field of play; however, what stood out in this final league game was the team’s ability to utilize their non-verbal communication skills. A team is built upon trust and it was essential that the students displayed this, both whilst in possession and holding key positions on the pitch.
Gabe’s composure and trust in his own ability resulted in many promising attacks and the effervescent Valerio continued to challenge his opponent’s defense. Both teams displayed excellent passing phases and with the end of the half approaching it was becoming clear that GCS would have to dig even deeper if they were to secure a top league position. Lian huffed and puffed in front of goal, but the Arabian Ranches’ goalkeeper and post prevented GCS taking a half time lead.
For the first time ~during the half time interval~ the coach decided to inform the team that this game would determine whether they retained their league champion status and progress to the grand finals.
With so much on the line, the team’s spirit and heart beats grew, as they set about encouraging and motivating our top scorer to keep plugging away and he duly delivered with another trademark finish. The under 10s didn’t sit back on their laurels and continued to push for a second goal. Owen’s much needed involvement in the game resulted in more gaps appearing in the opponent’s defense and Valerio took full advantage by finding the net and putting GCS into a very promising lead.
With only five minutes to play, Arabian Ranches staged a late comeback and took advantage of a lapse in concentration, bringing the deficit back to one. After some warm words of encouragement and as the intensity of attacks increased, the team set about trying to hold onto victory.
The team held firm and trusted each other to carry out their roles in attempt to interrupt any late attacks. They did not panic nor get pulled out of position; even though it would mean Vladic would have to face some mid-range shots. They trusted their keeper to stand up to this onslaught of attacks and when their opponent’s striker finally managed to pierce a goal bound shot through the defense, the Russian keeper rewarded his teammates trust with an excellent save at the near post.
The final whistle blew and our Under 10’s had once more be crowned league champions. Whilst this was a sweet victory, what made it even sweeter was the team’s ability to trust in one another, in the face of adversity. On every occasion, they had responded through actions and once more learnt the true value of working as part of a team.
Contributed by: Vincent Burden
Grade 3 Teacher