Two Caribbean countries will be represented in this weekend’s 46th annual Robbie International Soccer tournament in Scarborough.
Montego Bay United Soccer Academy Under-15 side is returning to defend its age-group title. After losing its first match 3-2 to Cumberland Cobras last year, the Jamaicans bounced back with impressive wins in their next two group games to advance to the semi-finals and shut out Erin Mills 2-0. The Jamaicans defeated East York Pythons 1-0 in the championship game.
The Jamaican team begins its defence against Brampton Blast at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday. They meet Ajax FC later in the day at 3:15 p.m. and Brampton East Red Devils at 9.a.m. on Sunday in their final group game.
The matches will be played at McCowan Park, 431 McCowan Rd.
The academy side arrives today for the world’s largest international tournament organized to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The squad is without key defenders Kyle Anderson and Stephen Malcolm who are in the Jamaican Under-17 squad preparing for the first stage of the Caribbean Soccer Union qualifying tournament in Kingston from July 9-16.
Malcolm is the son of former Jamaican international Stephen “Shorty” Malcolm who died in a car accident in his homeland in January 2001.
“We are in a tough position with the loss of these players and we will have to dig deep,” said academy coach Lawrence Beckford. “I am however confident that other players will fill in admirably.”
Four members from last year’s championship team are returning this year. They are Venton Evans, Tahjay Kelly, Alrick Ottey and Clifton Russell. The rest of the squad comprises Tavon Barnes, Peter Campbell, Akeem Coates, Witcliffe Cunningham, Michael Heaven, Stephaun Hylton, Abdu Jackson, Dontia Madourie, Leonardo Murray, Odane Randall, Giovanni Reid, Peter-Lee Vassell, Tevin Kerr and Kamar Whyte.
The academy will also field an Under-13 side in the Robbie tournament. They oppose Orangeville Storm at 11:30 a.m. and Erin Mills at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Kitchener Spirit on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Their games will be played at L’Amoreaux Sports Field, 100 Silver Springs Blvd.
The Under-13 squad comprises Dewjuan Ambersley, Dondre Bennett, Rasheed Brown, Nicholas Clarke, Andrew Daley, Matthew Fong, Raheim Heaven, Emajah Houze, Garnet Hudson, Travis Kerr, Okeffe Lewis, Yushann Malcolm, Shavon McDonald, Shemar Scott, Hakeem Swaby, Akeem Smith, Richard Thompson, Tevin Thompson, Trevaughn Walker, Denri Williams, Matthew Williams and nine-year-old Kashiev Rodriques.
Beckford said he doesn’t know what to expect from the Under-13 side.
“The program started about six weeks ago and this is the first time the boys will be exposed in an international setting,” he added. “The experience will be good for them.”
Barbados will be represented by Mavericks Sports Club which will compete in the Under-15 division. The Bajans play on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. against West Rouge Power and Raiders respectively. They meet North Scarborough Soccer Club on Sunday at 10.15 a.m. The matches take place at Highview Park.
A total of 256 teams are taking part in this year’s tournament that ends on Monday with the championship games in the various age categories.
Pickering Soccer Club is hosting the Montego Bay Academy which will play two friendly matches next Tuesday at Kinsmen Park, 695 Sandy Beach Rd. in Pickering. The first game starts at 7:00 p.m.
In addition to Beckford, the other members of the visiting academy support team are Sandra Christie (manager), Shannon Chin, Sacha Cousins, Tyrone Gordon, Dwaine Humphrey, Leacroft Lettman, Keith Rodriques and Clifton Russell.
Christie said the academy squads are ready for the Robbie tournament.
“Both teams have been training hard for the past six weeks and they want to do well,” she said. “We are set to go.”
By RON FANFAIR