June 17, 2012, the day the girls won their first tournament!
June 17 dawned very early (5am) so we could all get up and get ready. At 5.30 one of the girls came knocking at the door of the drop-in centre all ready and waiting to go, they weren’t meant to be there till 6am so that shows how excited they were! At 6.15ish the girls from Payatas were all in the drop-in centre and the girls from Mango (the children’s home run by our sister foundation ASCF where we also coach football for the local community many of whom were originally from Payatas) arrived and then it was a mad 30mins of sorting out everyone’s football boots, socks and kits. At about 6.45 we headed to the tournament and arrived just on time at 8am.
The tournament was held in the grounds of a school so it was on grass which was lovely and
the girls really loved playing on it. As soon as we arrived the girls were kicking the ball about and raring to go. At 9am exactly the first game kicked off which our girls won 3-2, the first time they had ever won a game. It was such a great game to watch though tiring for the girls as each game was 30 mins (15 mins a half) but they did great anyway. About 10 mins after the end of the first game it was time for the second. This time the girls drew 1-1 and so it was taken to penalties which our girls won yet again. This was the first time any of our teams had ever won a penalty shootout. After that game the girls had some brunch and then it was time for their next game. Having just eaten they didn’t play as well and lost this game 3-1, the only game they lost that day! The next game was the semi finals which we won and then it was through the finals. It was so exciting to watch as this was the first time any of our teams had been in the finals of a tournament. This time the game was only 15 mins instead of 30 mins which was good as all the players were getting tired. This game ended in a draw of 1-1 and so it
was again a penalty shoot out. It was a nerve-wracking few moments and each of the girls lined up and took their shots alternatively with the other team. In the end our girls won again 3-0. It was an unbelievable moment as it we all suddenly realised we had won and the air was just suddenly filled with incredibly happy girls screams, hugs flying everywhere and shouts of ‘girls shake the other teams hands’. It was such a moment of complete pride and joy in the team. They have come so far, from loosing every game to winning a tournament! They won with grace too because they didn’t just shake the other girls hands but hugged them and I heard some of them apologising to the other team for
It was then time for pictures, with everyone, Roy, myself, Ate Jo (head house parent at Mango), Kuya Ed (who very kindly drove us to and from the tournament), Craig (who directs ASCF) and the girls, then just the girls, then jump shots, then pictures of all the teams together, then more screams and jumping around by our girls and them clutching their trophy. It was just such an amazing moment that words struggle to describe it fully.
During the whole tournament the girls had been asking for Jolliebee (a fast food place here in the Philippines) so we told them, if you win, we will get you Jolliebee. So upon them winning, after the pictures, hugs, cleaning up and everything else was finished it was treat time and we took them all to Jolliebee. Tiredness was evident but the excitement of winning kept them all going and they ate with smiles on their faces and chatted none stop. On the way home, sleepiness overcame some of them and they dozed on and off but upon arrival at Payatas, once again it was congratulating each other before the Payatas girls headed home and the Mango girls carried on their way the rest of the way home.
The win was unexpected and penalties have always proved a challenge to our teams but it just goes to show that if you work hard, practice, put in the effort and really just try, that you can succeed, the girls were inspiring yesterday and we are all so proud. Thanks so much to the people who organised the tournament and well-played to the other teams!