USVI rallies to beat Turks and Caicos Islands in CONCACAF Beach Soccer tournament

The U.S. Virgin Islands men’s national team overcame an early deficit to win its final group-play match at the 2019 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, downing Turks and Caicos Islands 8-6 on Thursday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Emiliano Aranes had a hat trick for the USVI (1-2-0 Group B), scoring three goals, two coming during a crucial six-goal run that stretched from the closing minute of the first period to the opening minutes of the third period.

Five other players — Esais Charles, Rakeem Joseph, Carlos Labrada, Vincent Schultz and Michael Vollmer — had one goal each for the U.S. Virgin Islands, which had been outscored 15-3 in its first two group-play matches.

Alex Bryan also had a hat trick with three goals, Jess Beljour added two goals and Lenford Singh had a goal for Turks and Caicos Islands (0-3-0 Group B), which also put up its best showing after being outscored 14-1 in its first two games.

At the beginning, it appeared that Turks and Caicos Islands would come out on top in Thursday’s finale, scoring four unanswered goals — two each by Bryan and Beljour — over a six-minute span in the first period.

However, Aranes woke the USVI squad up with his goal in the final minute of the first period. That ignited a six-goal run, with Charles, Joseph, Schultz and Vollmer all scoring in the second period, and Aranes ending the run with his second goal at the nine-minute mark of the third period.

Turks and Caicos Islands fought back, with Singh and Bryan both scoring within a two-minute span midway through the third period to tie the match at 6-all. But Labrada scored in the third minute of the final period to put the U.S. Virgin Islands back in the lead, and Aranes put home an insurance goal in the final minute.

Both the USVI and Turks and Caicos Islands failed to advance in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, with Panama and Trinidad and Tobago both moving on to today’s quarterfinal round. Also advancing out of group play were Mexico and Guatemala from Group A, the United States and Bahamas from Group C and El Salvador and Guadeloupe from Group D.

The top two teams from the CONCACAF Championships qualify for the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, scheduled for later this year in Paraguay.

Zero Tolerance league signups underway

Registration for teams wishing to play in the Zero Tolerance summer basketball leagues is underway, with plans to begin play on May 31.

Coaches wishing to enter teams in the 9-12, 13-15 or 16-18 age group leagues should call 340-774-2640 or 340-626-4420 to register both their teams and players.

USVISA to hold elementary all-star game

The U.S. Virgin Islands Soccer Association will hold an elementary boys all-star game on Saturday, with the top players from each of the territory’s elementary schools taking part.

The all-star game will be played at the USVISA field at 23-1 Estate Bethlehem on St. Croix, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

There is no admission charge for the game, and refreshments will be on sale.

For more information, call 340-719-9707 or email usvisoccerassociation@gmail.com.

Dolphin Derby rescheduled for Sunday

The Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s annual Dolphin Derby has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 19.

Registration for the tournament will now be held Friday at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s headquarters in Red Hook on the east end of St. Thomas beginning at 6:30 p.m. The captain’s meeting will be held immediately afterwards.

The registration fee remains the same — $300 for four rods, with additional rods $50 each.

The tournament will begin with lines in the water at 6 a.m. Saturday, with all boats must return to American Yacht Harbor’s “P” dock by 4 p.m. that day for weigh in.

The awards ceremony will now be held Monday, May 20 at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

The top prize for the tournament is a $25,000 payout to the angler that lands the largest dolphin (mahi-mahi) weighing more than 55 pounds.

Cash prizes will also be awarded to the anglers catching the next four largest dolphin, by weight, with tied broken by the dolphin’s length. The boat with the largest 10 dolphins caught, again by weight, will receive the “best boat” award.

For more information, call 340-775-9144 or email usvigfc@gmail.com.

Beach-to-Beach Power Swim set for May 26

Registration is underway for the 2019 Beach-to-Beach Power Swim, scheduled for May 26 on St. John.

The open-water swim race will be held on three different courses, with all races beginning at Maho Beach at 8 a.m.

The Short Course races will swim a one-mile route from Maho Beach to Cinnamon Beach, the Intermediate Course races will covere a 2.25-mile route from Maho Beach to Trunk Beach, and the Long Course races will have a 3.5-mile route from Maho Beach to Hawksnest Beach.

In each division, swimmers may compete using snorkels, fins and/or exposure suits in a separate “assisted swimmers” category.

Registration will be limited to 350 swimmers, with the signup deadline 11:59 p.m. May 24 or when the limit is reached. Participants can register online at www.webscorer.com.

Participants can also enter in person at the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park stores at Mongoose Junction and the National Park Visitors Center in Cruz Bay, at Connections in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay, at the Caribbean Surf Co. stores in Havensight and Red Hook on St. Thomas, and at SCUBA in Christiansted, St. Croix.

A pre-race meeting will be held at 3 p.m. May 25 in the Pavilion at Trunk Bay, with all rules covered in detail. A short briefing will also be held the day of the race at 7:30 a.m.

For more information, visit www.friendsvinp.org/swim, call 340-779-4940 or email info@friendsvinp.org.

USVISA recruiting players for U-15 boys national team

The U.S. Virgin Islands Soccer Association has begun a recruitment drive for players for its under-15 boys national team, which will compete in the CONCACAF Under-15 Championships this summer.

Prospective players must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 2004, must have a valid United States passport, and must attend the weekly training sessions that will be held on both St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Training sessions will be held on St. Croix at the USVISA field at 23-1 Bethlehem in Kingshill on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning at 5 p.m.; and on St. Thomas at the Antilles School field on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 5 p.m.

For more information, call 340-643-5837 or 340-719-9707, or email usvisoccer@gmail.com.

USVISA to hold CONCACAF ‘D’ license course

The U.S. Virgin Islands Soccer Association will play host to a Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) D-level coaching license course in the near future.

The D-level license is the lowest level coaching license available in CONCACAF, intended for coaches working at the lower levels in soccer, such as with youth programs and school teams.

The CONCACAF course is open to all clubs, physical education teachers and soccer enthusiasts in the territories.

Space for the coaching license course is limited, so register early. The date and location of the course will be announced at a later date.

To register or for more information, call 340-719-9707 or email usvisoccerassociation@gmail.com.

USVISA to hold camp for women’s national team

The U.S. Virgin Islands Soccer Association will hold its camp for the women’s national team next month on St. Croix.

The camp will be held May 25-26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the USVISA complex in Bethlehem.

Players ages 14 and up (and with a valid United States passport) are eligible to take part in the training camp, from which players will be selected to take part in two upcoming CONCACAF tournaments.

Teams are being formed for the USVI’s participation in the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship, which will be played in August; and the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers, set for October and November.

Interested participants in the training camp must call 515-302-1208 and register by Saturday.

Training sessions have been scheduled on both St. Croix and St. Thomas. On St. Croix, the sessions are held Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Free Will Baptist School field, while on St. Thomas, sessions are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Virgin Islands Montessori School field.

For more information, call 515-302-1208, 682-560-1346 or 340-719-9707, or email usvisoccer@gmail.com.

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