For the second time in four years, Montego Bay United Soccer Academy has won a Robbie International soccer title.
The Under-18 team shut out Lakeshore Rangers of Quebec 1-0 in the final of the youth international tournament held annually for the last 48 years to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
On the way to the final, the western Jamaican side beat Whitby Iroquois 2-0, Brampton East Stallions 3-0 and Oshawa Turul Rage 1-0 to finish at the top of its group before disposing of North York Cosmos 2-1 in the semifinal.
St. James High School goalkeeper Omar Mazelin was outstanding, conceding just one goal in the 16-team Under-18 category.
He and his teammates earned technical director Lawrence Beckford’s praise.
“This is a wonderful group of players who came here and did their jobs admirably,” he said. “We try to keep it simple and play basic soccer which is what we did very successfully.”
The majority of the players were part of the Under-15 team that captured the Robbie’s crown in 2011. The academy’s Under 13 and 15 teams participated the following year.
“We didn’t come in 2013, but we are happy to be back and just thrilled to be victorious,” said Beckford. “This is a great tournament for our players who are always looking for international exposure. As the tournament progressed, the level of competition intensified and our players showed we were ready for the challenge.”
The Jamaicans were introduced to the Robbie tournament through Paul Jackson, who is the Pickering Soccer Club’s business manager. He and the academy’s former director George Evans have been close friends for over 40 years.
A team representing Trinidad & Tobago also took part in this year’s competition.
Crown Trace Soccer Club Boys Under-16 team won one of their three group matches and failed to advance to the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Jamaica will clash with Canada in a friendly international on September 9 at BMO Field.
It will be Canada’s first home match under new coach, Benito Floro, who was hired in July 2013.
“Canada Soccer is looking forward to introducing our men’s national team head coach to the Canadian fans for this match against a fierce Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) opponent in Jamaica,” said Canada Soccer president, Victor Montagliani. “We know our Canadian soccer community will welcome him and proudly show that we can be a leading soccer nation, on and off the pitch.”
Canada has won seven of its 16 meetings with Jamaica which is ranked ninth in CONCACAF.
The two teams last met four years ago.
Fans can purchase tickets online at ticketmaster.ca, by phone at 1-855-985-5000 or in person at Ticketmaster outlets.