U16 Boys Win Nations Cup

July 26, Cocoa Beach


The Plantation Eagles boys closed out 2003-04 in the under-16 age group with their third consecutive tournament championship at the Cocoa Expo Center in Central Florida. The team finished the season with a combined record of 28 wins, nine losses and eight ties, and now moves into the under-17 group.

Coach Roberto Mercados Eagles went undefeated in five matches July 24-26 to win the 2004 Nations Cup.  Plantation won Disneys Spring Holiday Soccer Festival in April and the Second Annual Weston Invitational Soccer Tournament Memorial Day weekend, playing up in the U17 age group both times.

Plantation swept through the opening round of the Nations Cup beating the East Pasco (FL) Pirates 5-0, Pro Shottas out of the Professional Soccer School in Barbados 2-0 and the Hilliard Darby High School Junior Varsity out of Columbus, Ohio, 10-0.

That earned the Eagles the top seed in the playoff round by virtue of most total goals scored. Plantation then defeated East Pasco again in the semifinals, 7-2, setting up the championship match with Barry Athletic Club out of Cardiff in South Wales. Barry scored first but Plantation pumped in the last four goals in the final 12 minutes of the match, winning 4-1.

The Eagles scored 28 goals in the five matches and gave up only three. Twenty-two of the goals were assisted. Plantation goalkeepers Taylor Lorenz and Chris Martinez recorded three shutouts. Martinez, playing in his first tournament with the Eagles, made four superb saves, three of them in the first half of the championship match with his team trailing Wales 1-0. Lorenz recorded two saves in the semifinal against East Pasco.

Sweeper Eric Gant, stopper Leo Caldeira and fullbacks Danny Ellis (co-captain) and Barrington Quarrie put up a stout defense throughout the tournament, rarely getting any rest.

A host of Eagles provided the offensive firepower, led by Brian Velasquez, playing in his first tournament since recently returning to the Plantation team, and Matt Mobley, both boys splitting time between forward and midfield positions. Velasquez had seven goals, including a hat trick in the second half of the championship, and two assists, one of them in the semifinal. Mobley scored six goals, including a hat trick in the first half of the semifinal, and had three assists, including Velasquez go-ahead goal in the championship.

Midfielder Davide Bombonato put up five goals, two in the semifinal, and an assist, and forward J.T. Thiel (co-captain) had two goals, one in the semifinal, and four assists, one in the championship.

Fullback Ellis scored four goals, including a hat trick after being moved up to forward in the second half against Hilliard Darby, and the tying goal in the championship match.

Stopper Caldeira had two goals and two assists. Midfielder Jeremy Weber had a goal and three assists, including one each in the semifinal and final. Sweeper Gant had three assists and midfielder Andres Osorio had a goal.

Four players assisted one goal each: forward Jon Degia, fullback Quarrie and midfielders David Lee and Ikar Ibanez, playing in his first tournament with Plantation.

Midfielders Justin Wieland and Sean Conlon, also playing for the first time, logged multiple minutes for the Eagles. Midfielder Luis Alva and forward Sayan Blake were unavailable for the tournament.

Plantation has declared its intention to play the early season in the Premier Division of the South Florida United Youth Soccer League in the Florida Youth Soccer Association. The Eagles next tournament will be Labor Day weekend, in Disneys Soccer Showcase Qualifier at the Wide World of Sports.

Eight of the Plantation players are involved in the St. Thomas Aquinas High School soccer program in Ft. Lauderdale and five more play for Coach Mercado at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Pembroke Pines.

Chris Mobley served the team as manager for the just-completed season. Steve Ellis takes over for the 2004-05 season. Every parent plays a role in the administration of the Plantation team, freeing Mercado to concentrate on his coaching duties. Any player interested in the team should contact Coach Mercado at (954) 349-2699 or rmercado@aol.com or manager Ellis at (954) 963-8560 or sellis1900@bellsouth.net.