South juniors secure the Caruana Cup
The 23rd Caruana Cup Gala Day was held on Saturday 7 July with South Melbourne FC fielding an Under 11 girls team. Hosted by East Bentleigh Soccer Club, the Cup offers one of the first opportunities for junior girls to experience competitive football.
Coach John Sugunananthan spoke to smfc.com.au saying “I am really proud of the girls for showcasing their football talent, playing attacking entertaining football and taking risks. The key theme of the tournament for the girls was to have the courage to take on players in 1v1 duels with this approach starting from the goal keeper. At training we focused on their individual skills especially their 1v1s and this was reinforced during the games. The girls football heroes such as (SMFC’s own) Lisa De Vanna, Sam Kerr, Messi and Ronaldo are stars in the girls eyes as they can run at players and take them often leading to goals. We want our girls to play like their heroes. For this age (12 and under) at training we focus on their football foundations such as first touch and 1v1.
This tournament provided an opportunity for the girls to play competitive football. It was a joy to see their smiles especially when they beat a player in a 1v1 and then go onto score a goal. One of the most memorable moment for me was a player (Lulu) telling me “I love doing 1v1s”, we as coaches of juniors must encourage this skill, the players love doing it. I never ask these girls to pass the balls. Just look at the world cup, the best have fantastic individual skills especially their 1v1 ability.
“The tournament was very well run. The parents were all great supporting and cheering on the efforts of all the girls from all the teams. I want to recognise the efforts of our Team Manager for the tournament Georgia Denisenko who was fantastic organising us for the tournament and Michelle Anthony who helped the girls manage their own rotations – we empower the girls to decide who starts, where they play/who they sub with, they need to play in different lines (back, mids, forward) during the game and even playing time to maximise their development, we also rotate our goal keeper.”
Round 1: South Melbourne FC def Hampton Junior Soccer Club 6:0
Round 2: South Melbourne FC BYE
Round 3: South Melbourne FC def Berwick City 9:2
Semi-Final : South Melbourne FC def East Bentleigh SC 4:0
Grand Final : South Melbourne FC def Westside Strikers FC 3:1