Thanks so much to our sponsors, we were able to donate soccer balls and t-shirts overseas. Mark Michaelis and his daughter, Abigail, took the soccer gear with them as the traveled through East Africa and donated it to various schools in South Sudan, Northern Uganda and Northern Mozambique. The children were overjoyed. What was especially great was leaving the everlasting soccer balls - the same ones used in the tournament. Regular soccer balls are challenging there. They are punctured by common thorn bushes with thorns generally longer than an inch, they are played with every day for multiple hours by each grade at the school and simply wear out, and, in the unlikely event that they last long enough to need more air, there simply aren't ball pumps and needles easily available. Fortunately, the everlasting balls solve all these problems. Admittedly, they don't last forever, but they do last an order of magnitude longer than regular soccer balls.
This year we had one particularly exciting competition as we approached the finals of the U-9 division. Barefoot Babes lost their first game to Foxes sending the former immediately into the losing bracket. A determined team, however, Barefoot Babes fought back into the winning bracket, playing games back to back with only a 10 minute reprieve at least twice on Sunday.
Upon reaching the finals, Barefoot Babes played Buttered Toast who, as yet, was undefeated. And, since Barefoot3v3 requires losing twice to be eliminated, a championship win for Barefoot Babes would mean playing Buttered Toast a second time. In the first game the teams were neck and neck. Barefoot Babes scored first but Buttered Toast countered - back and forth.
By the final whistle, however, Barefoot Babes won - meaning 1 down, 1 to go. The rematch however, was even fiercer. In regular time they tied moving on to "sudden death" over time. This too, however, ended in a draw. Finally, after lots of angst (likely more on the sidelines from the parents of both teams) Barefoot Babes squeaked by, pulling ahead in penalty kicks to win. Wow!!!!
A similar comeback attempt occurred in the adult division but with a different result. Shoeless lost their first two games putting them at the bottom of the losers bracket. However, they battled back playing a total of seven games on Saturday in order to enter the finals. However, their luck didn't hold as they were squarely beaten (almost with a first-to-13 win) by the amazingly quick and superb ball handling of Latino Express in the finals.
Great job to all our champions:
Check out how Alan Croft and Isaiah Escobedo have taken "juggling" to the next level - well perhaps the next order of magnitude level.
Jeremy Nathan Mirken, John Thao, Mai Jim Moua Thao, Ker Cha are nothing short of amazing athletes. Their flexibility, their style, the raw height they get when they jump, their speed and agility - nothing but amazing. ....it isn't that you start out jumping nine feet in the air, flipping upside down, connecting with a ball the size of a grapefruit, aiming it over the net to where no player is expecting, and then landing back on your feet only to wait for the return.
Why on earth is is possible to see poker and darts on ESPN but not be able to see the seemingly miraculous simultaneous gymnastics, speed, and eye-foot coordination that takraw brings.
We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Barefoot3v3 soccer tournament this year will include a takraw exhibition. Furthermore, if you are interested in playing, we could even offer a tournament given enough interest. We would even offer prize money to the top teams.
There will be thousands of people in attendance. Train hard and come show off your skills!