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Thursday, 29 November 2012 00:00

The U-15 male football team brought home the goldOn Tuesday, November 27th, a 16-member football team returned to Belize wearing gold around their necks. The team came back from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic after winning 5 matches against teams fielded by countries such as Mexico, considered football superpowers.

It's a story of glory and dedication but most of all, of vision by the team's organizer, Pastor Santi Valencia. After the team stepped off the airplane and into the VIP room at the Phillip Goldson International Airport, Pastor Valencia explained that it had cost 40 thousand dollars for the team to participate in the tournament. But financing aside, Valencia said that it was prayers and plain old comradeship that allowed the team to participate. There was massive support from parents and private individuals to allow for the trip to be made possible.

The team was comprised by young boys from across the country, but the program had humble beginnings in Roaring Creek Village where the boys there had expressed an interest in playing football. He said that his first goal was to acquire balls, then football boots and then jerseys. Then, it was off to a selection which was camped at the Football Federation of Belize Field for three months. After training and conditioning, the team left and when they returned, it was with gold.

But more than gold, the team returned as history-makers, for the first time an under-15 national team returned to the country with a gold medal. That was not all; however, as the team also brought back individual awards  -  Randy Augustine came back having distinguished himself for scoring the most goals; Raji Salarzano also came back with the Most Valuable Player award.

Truly, this national team is testament that there is great potential in our Belizean youth. It takes guidance and no complaining for this to be achieved and much kudos must be given to Pastor Valencia for his efforts. He says the program will continue and as much as he can, he will get young people involved in positive activities.