By Aubrey Campbell

For the first time in six years, Jamaica had to settle for the runner up spot at the 2014 CASA Youth Soccer Classic, staged at the Lauderhill Sports Complex, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from December 18-21.

Fielding a team from the National U-17 program, the Jamaicans were considered favorites to lift the prized hardware for an unprecedented sixth year but came up short against Miramar U-19, of South Florida in Sunday’s final.

Holding what appeared to be a comfortable 2-0 lead, early in the second half, the young ‘reggae boyz’ seemingly lost their composure soon after, on a number substitutions by coach Andrew Edwards and Miramar scored twice to level the score at the end of regulation.

In the ensuing penalty kicks and with most of the starters on the bench, Jamaica scored only once from five tries, as Miramar, miraculously converted four kicks, for a 4-1 scoreline.

In the consolation match, the visiting Barbados Soccer Academy beat a surprisingly flat Boca United 2-1. Shaquille Stewart scored midway the first half to cancel out an early penalty converted by Boca’s Luke Ferreira.
CASA YSC Champs 2014 - Miramar U-19
(Photo Caption: The CASA/Dr. Fidel Goldson Memorial Trophy was presented by Anthony Goldson, Director, Goldson Spine Rehabilitation Center. – Photo credit Dreamy Riley Photo)

In the second half, Carl Hinkson scored a beauty, putting one over the head of goalie Trevor Newmann, and that would be enough to justify the trip for coach Anthony Hall, despite Stewart missing a penalty, late in the half.

“Going in, we knew it was going to be a tough game but we stuck to the game plan and we came out victorious”.

Golden Boot winner - Nicholas Nelson, Jamaica
Nicholas Nelson -of Hydel High School, who was on target for Jamaica in all four matches played, was voted joint MVP/Golden Boot winner with Luke Ferreira of Boca (Raton) United U-19, with a tournament high five goals each.