By Katy Rutter
This year Denmark Junior Soccer Club entered teams into the Albany competition’s Under-7s (Year Ones) and U8s (Year Twos) for the first time. Usually these kids train and play only in Denmark on an afternoon during the week, but this year there was a bunch who desperately wanted to play in Albany like they watch their older siblings do, week in, week out.
One very brave man was talked into coaching the U7s, and what usually looks like herding cats has been transformed into a serious lot of learning and fun, as the little ones train alongside the bigger kids. Roberto Prieto is that brave man, supported by a hoard of enthusiastic parents mostly glad they are not the ones in charge.
The sportsmanship in this team is immense as they line up and shake hands before and after each game. They often help out other teams short of players, and all take their turn willingly on the bench as they’re rotated on and off the pitch.
One thing they are yet to experience is defeat.
Unstoppable on the field, these kids have had a couple of one nil scores and even a three-all draw with Albany Glory, but most of the results have been many goals to nil in the favour of our little U7 Miniroos.
River Duggan has an engine that never runs out, as he gives his all to chasing down the opposition and tackles them.
Padma Harris has Jedi-like reflexes – when she’s on, she’s on, and there’s no stopping her.
Alaric Karaman is a fantastic team player, always making the perfect pass and backing up his team mates. He also has the best celebratory moves when he scores.
Inoke Lebbing works hard and has great skills, and coming along in leaps and bounds. He’s as tough as they come, out there on the pitch.
Sari Malski has a super kick, which will shine as they progress onto bigger pitches next year. Sari came in as a favour to a friend but has found herself a whole lot of team mates.
Rory Pierce is lightning fast and covers the pitch front to back in an instant, scoring multitudes of goals and getting back to defend to prevent the opposition scoring.
Sophia Prieto-Edwards is coming into her own after a tentative start to the season, with a new-found tenacity and enthusiasm which has already been noticed at the weekend games.
Ryder Smith is an absolute striking machine, scoring multiple hat-tricks and always hunting the ball down.
William Turnor is an unassuming quiet achiever who is always in the right place at the right time, and can even skip as he plays.
Keep an eye out for these champions in years to come – they’ve developed a love for the game already, and have solidified this with great team mates and friendships.
Their skill development throughout the year has been sensational, and their sportsmanship second to none.