The sun was shining and the wind just barely blowing as students and their Site Coaches made their way to the Lake Hills Elementary soccer field for the 1st Annual Jubilee REACH Elementary School Soccer Tournament. Sherwood Forest, Phantom Lake, Stevenson, and Ardmore Elementary formed this tournament that was sparked by a Jubilee REACH Jamboree two years ago. A hope for students at these schools was being realized: An opportunity to not only practice, but also compete against students from other schools.
For one student in particular, who longed to play again against other players, this was a wish come true. Jonathan, now a 5th grader at Sherwood Forest Elementary, remembers playing in the Jamboree, representing his school and was determined to play his best. Two years ago, Jonathan was in 3rd grade when he heard Jubilee REACH was hosting an elementary soccer Jamboree.
“I feel good about playing again,” Jonathan expressed as he warmed up and prepared to play his first match against Phantom Lake Elementary last Wednesday, May 9th. Jonathan and his teammates were ready and felt more than excited to play in this tournament. “It feels like the World Cup for us,” said one of Jonathan’s teammates as they heard cheers from parents and fellow classmates before the first match.
Go Ardmore! Go Phantom Lake!
Go Sherwood Forest! Go Stevenson!
Stevenson vs. Ardmore, Phantom Lake vs. Sherwood Forest. Team captains from each school met the referee at midfield to discuss expectations and determine which team would start with possession. Nine students from each of the four schools took their positions to the field, anticipating the blow of the whistle.
As the first half began, shouts and cheers were all around as the players began passing the ball, aiming to score a goal. Stevenson Elementary scored the first goal from a free-kick. A beautiful curler just out of the reach of the goalie’s fingertips into the upper left of the goal. At the end of the two games, Site Coaches and students all came together afterwards to congratulate each other.
“We played well and I am happy to have won our first match”, expressed Jonathan. Although Jonathan’s team pulled out a win, each and every student on the field was delighted to have played in this tournament, already looking forward to the games ahead.
The teams play 60-minute games, with 30-minute halves, with the goal of giving all players the opportunity to play and cheer for their teammates. Each Site Coach is teaching all the players how to care for one another and have strong sportsmanship. Students are learning to encourage others who make mistakes, celebrate a scored goal, playing together, and offering the best for the good of the team. For this season at Jubilee REACH, soccer is the outlet for teaching our young members of our community on how to “love our neighbor”.