STATE BOUND: The Troy Parks and Recreation 9-U team wins district tournament, heading to State Tourney
Published 3:30 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015
The Troy Parks and Recreation 9-under soccer team competed in the District Soccer Tournament over the weekend in Andalusia and walked away champions.
The team’s goal going into the tournament was to play at least three games, having lost in the first game to Dothan during last year’s tournament. They found redemption, winning the championship after defeating Dothan 3-1 in the title game.
With Troy leading a tight 2-1 match with Dothan, they had an opportunity to extend that lead when they were rewarded with a corner kick.
Kevin Wang kicked the ball to Nikolas Peerson who directed it into the top corner of the net, giving Troy the cushion needed to win the match and the championship.
“The defense won this tournament for us,” said head coach Rick Braisted. “We only gave up two goals the entire tournament. Our defense really stepped up for us. It’s really hard to win if you can’t score.”
Troy was able to defeat Andalusia 3-1, Eufaula 2-0 and Dothan 3-1 in the tournament.
Troy’s strong play defensively is credited to how the team prepares and the excitement and athleticism they bring to every game.
“We are aggressive, we communicate well and we are smart,” Braisted said. “We never get out of position. We do a nice job staying in our spot and we don’t chase the ball around. It’s hard to get an 8- or a 9-year-old to stop chasing the ball around.”
All the players on the team were picked from teams throughout the regular season at the Sportsplex and once preparations were under way for the district tournament they had to work hard to get to where they wanted to be.
“Our first practice we had out here I would say we had zero fun, because it was pouring down rain,” Braisted said. “We had to run a lot but all of them came back and they all wanted to keep playing. I have been hard on them and I have been pushing them. If you would have seen their faces after they won those games, that is the joy of coaching.”
Troy’s soccer team consists of 10 9-year olds and five 8-year-olds and Braisted really didn’t know what to expect out of his team until they played in the district tournament.
“I really didn’t know until we got down there,” Braisted said. “We looked pretty good, but we didn’t know how good the other teams were going to be. We are really talented and really skilled. I told them if we listen and follow directions than we can go ahead and win district.”
Troy relies on playing strong at all three levels and it is something that they rely on if they want to compete for a state championship.
“We try and play in three different levels,” Braisted said. “Forward, midfielders and defenders that way if anybody beats us to score a goal they are going to have to go through three different levels, which is hard to do.”
The soccer players know they are learning the game of soccer and they take every opportunity to learn more by listening and watching their coach.
“We learn to try our best,” said William Reeves. “If you lose a game just put it behind you and try harder next time.”
Troy will enter a pool play format on Saturday, Nov. 21 where they are guaranteed to play at least three games. Their first match will be on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Athens at Brewton field in Dothan.
Players on the Troy Parks and Recreation 9-under ARPA district tournament champions are: Brodee Asher, Wes Braisted, Ryder Brown, Johao De La Rossa Rosas, Noah Dunn, Seantarius Foster, Layne Galimore, Tyresse Jean, Siwoo Kim, Nathaniel McCrary, Junwoo Park, Nikolas Peerson, William Reeves, Christian Sutherland and Kevin Wang.