Games Galore at Youth Soccer Tournament

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A member of the L.A. Hawks (1) brings the ball up the field against the Dragon Balls. (Photo by Hisae Miki)

A member of the L.A. Hawks (1) brings the ball up the field against the Dragon Balls. (Photo by Hisae Miki)

By MIHO KURATA-ANTHONY, Special to the Rafu

Sometimes, young soccer players go home feeling still energetic after playing a game or two in a tourna­ment.

But that was not the case for many of the roughly 200 members of three Southland Japanese football clubs who participated in the second an­nual L.A. River Cup at Arcadia High School on Jan. 26.

Kindergarteners to teenagers from 20 teams in four different age divisions played a total of 43 games at the group tournament, hosted by the Arcadia-based L.A. Hawks with the participation of the Dragon Balls Soccer Club and Lezele F.C.

Unlike an elimination tournament, each team in a group tournament plays against all the others in the same age division. Most children played four to five matches at the River Cup 2014.

“My legs are so sore,” said Eric Wilds, a 10-year-old Hawks club member at the end of the day. “But it was a lot of fun and I want to do it again.”

“We wanted a group tournament rather than a knockout tournament to give young athletes as many opportunities to play games as possible in one day,” said Gen Hasegawa, president of the L.A. Hawks, explaining the arrangement of the matches.

The event also provided cul­tural exposure to the players and spectators. They were treated to a performance by Verdugo Woodlands Kinome Daiko, a kids’ taiko group.

Aside from the competition tak­ing place on five fields, snack and beverage booths kept the more than 300 spectators satisfied.

The champions in each age divi­sion are as follows:

U7: L.A. Hawks

U9: Lezele FC

U12: Dragon Balls

U15: Dragon United

For more information on the soc­cer organizations mentioned in the story, check the following websites:

www.dragonballs.us/

www.lezelefc.net/

https://sites.google.com/site/la­hawksfc/

Teams and supporters gather at the start of the 2014 L.A. River Cup soccer tournament, held Jan. 26 at Arcadia High School. (Photo by David Tom)

Teams and supporters gather at the start of the 2014 L.A. River Cup soccer tournament, held Jan. 26 at Arcadia High School. (Photo by David Tom)

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