The Green Bombers, Great Neck Soccer Club’s U-14 boys’ travel soccer team, won a tournament in Disney World in Orlando, FL, on Memorial Day weekend. What makes the achievement especially impressive is that this is the first boys’ team from Great Neck to ever win this tournament in more than 10 years of competing; the girls’ team won in 2015.
The Disney Memorial Weekend Soccer Tournament is one of the biggest youth soccer tournaments in the nation. In 2017, the tournament attracted more than 660 teams for boys and girls in divisions U-9 to U-19. The Green Bombers’ division, boys’ U-14, featured 26 teams.
The Green Bombers actually lost its first two games but, rather than giving up, the boys learned from their errors in each game, maturing and becoming more cohesive as a group. In a huge turning point for the 18 male representatives from Great Neck, the boys won their third game, thereby qualifying for the semifinal. As the first match that the Green Bombers have won in this tournament since 2010, this triumph was a huge confidence booster. The team went on to beat the odds once again by fighting for a gritty win in the semifinal, qualifying for the final.
The team approached the final with the mindset that anybody is beatable. The opposing team scored the first goal, but the boys remained determined. By halftime, Great Neck’s boys were ahead, but due to severe rain and lightning the game was delayed for one hour. The kids were soaked from head to toe. Once they arrived under shelter, they wrung out their sneakers but did not let the downpour distract them from their goal of winning. They stretched again and finally went back out there and won the match, claiming victory in the tournament.
To give the kids a special experience before they go off to high school, the Great Neck Soccer Club annually sends its U-14 girls and boys to the Disney World tournament. Funds came from local businesses, including Chipotle and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. In addition, the boys raised $1,200 by selling socks.
Each year, the players train from mid-August to the end of the school term. Most of the Green Bombers have been together since the age of 8. The teammates’ memorable accomplishment ushers them into the world of high school soccer, where they are bound to continue to work hard and have fun.