SYAA Interleague creates champsPublished 8:00pm Saturday, June 1, 2013
The Suffolk Youth Athletic Association saw three of its soccer teams win championships in the unusual Interleague, which pitted teams against each other in a variety of styles on smaller fields, including five-on-five and seven-on-seven.
The Suffolk teams, the U-15 Hurricanes, U-15 girls’ Aftershock and U-10 United, brought home championships after going 4-0 in their respective season-ending round-robin tournaments.
SYAA soccer commissioner and Hurricanes coach Stacy Pauley explained that the interleague “was started for teams that didn’t have enough to play full-sided games.”
Some players may not have made their school teams that were playing at the same time, but the interleague gave them an outlet. Participating clubs were from Chesapeake, Churchland, Western Branch, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Suffolk.
The Hurricanes fielded a 16-player roster for the Tidewater Advanced Soccer League, but scaled it back to between eight and 10 to play on the U-10 sized fields of the interleague in five-on-five matchups. The goals also shrank to the U-12 size.
“It’s also very fast-paced, a lot like 3v3, other than in 3v3, you don’t have a keeper,” Pauley said. “And so there were some games that (there) were high scores… and then there were some (games) that they didn’t even get but maybe one shot on us at all.”
Every member of the team scored at least once, as the team went undefeated in the regular season and won its tournament games by the scores of 10-3, 8-5, 7-4 and 5-2.
Stars for the Hurricanes included forwards Daniel Tallarico and Zachary Pauley, who was the top scorer.
Cody Faust was an important force on defense, and Pauley cited Jacob Littlefield as the top defender.
“Jacob doesn’t let anything get past him,” she said. “We always call him the Roadrunner, because he is so fast.”
One game where an opposing coach did not have enough players highlighted the good-naturedness sportsmanship of the teams. To allow the game to be played, Pauley’s husband and fellow coach, Chris Pauley, decided to help the other team.
“So he gave them Zach and Daniel, and they played for the other team against our team, and they helped the other team with passing,” Pauley said.
“It was fun to help out another team that was not very skilled,” Zachary Pauley said. “We definitely helped them out a lot, brought the score back up. It was a very close game.”
Chris Pauley treated the five-on-five games as a chance to field players who lacked playing time on the TASL team and for training, anticipating five-on-five sand soccer tournaments, which began this weekend.
The U-15 girls Aftershock went 4-2-2 in the regular interleague season but swept the tournament after acclimating to the different style of play and coach George Telles’ formation.
“I played a 1-2-1, which is more of one forward, two midfielders and then one defender and then the goalie,” Telles said. “It was really hard for the girls to get used to.”
With a roster of 14, Telles said, “They all did a really good job. Almost everybody on the team scored this season.”
He put a spotlight on Abigail Bilby, a defender, who took charge along with forwards Courtney Telles, Emily Parsons and midfielder Natalie Phillips.
Coach Vito Basile’s U-10 Suffolk United team of 14 players had four 7-year olds and only one 10-year old, but had a 9-1 regular interleague seven-on-seven season.
He taught his players a selfless style of play and noted that of the skills that can lead to a championship, “the passing is the one that got us there.”
He also conveyed a culturally-informed style of play.
“I’m Italian, I’m from Italy, and the way Italy plays soccer, they play defense, defense, defense. Defense wins championships,” he said.
The style took hold as the United won the tourney games 7-2, 10-0, 2-1 and 2-1, outscoring opponents 21-4.
“Arielle (Alston) was my main defender that controlled the defense for me,” Basile said. “Cameron (Delosreyes) and David (Brinkman) and Jacob (Day) were the three offensive weapons that I had that really made it all happen.”
The Hurricanes, Aftershock and members of the United will be featured in sand soccer tournaments this summer.