St. Ed’s Fourth Grader Sophia Foderaro and The Little Team that Could

Indian River Soccer Association’s Under 10 Girls team wrapped up their season Memorial Day weekend with a stunning victory at the Disney Memorial Day Soccer Tournament.

The Vipers faced fierce competition playing against highly competitive teams from Chicago, Miami and Palm Beach Lakes. They entered the tournament after a highly successful season, with a 23-3-4 record. Although confident, the players knew they would come up against much larger teams, with more subs and a greater ability to rest and refresh players.

The competition originated from much larger metropolitan areas, allowing them to draw players from a bigger pool, another big advantage.

The tournament started Friday night when the Vipers faced the Chicago area Pumas. In a tough game, the Vipers won 4-2. Saturday, they were up against the Predators, comprised of only the best players from the Palm Beach Lakes area.

The Vipers fell flat and suffered a disappointing 3-1 loss. Sunday, they suffered another loss, 3-2, against West Pines Elite and realized that their chances of advancing to the finals were very slim. However, miracles do happen and the Vipers made the cut!

Monday was the final game and the Vipers were ready to strike! They faced the now undefeated Predators. The game was highly competitive with great plays and effort by both teams.

When the final whistle blew the score was tied, 1-1. Penalty kicks were used to break the tie with each team getting five kicks on their opponents’ goal.

The pressure was on! Five kickers were selected and the goalies prepped for the most important moment in their young soccer careers. The Vipers scored 3 out of their first 4 shots and the Predators, thanks to some incredible goal-keeping by Reese Dion, only scored once.

The Vipers were victorious! After almost packing their bags on Sunday and returning home deflated by defeat, they won the whole thing. This little team from Vero Beach showed up at Disney and took the whole tournament. They truly are the little team that could do big things.

The Vipers consists of twelve members, three coaches and a team manager. Team members include: Isabel (Izzy) D’Albora, Ameera Dayem, Eliza Dinenberg, Reese Dion, Madison (Maddy) Engle, Sophia Foderaro, Sofia Greto, Raielle (Ray Ray) Lynch, Rebecca Marques, Alejandra Rocha, Kalli Sellers and Aleigha Shabazz.

Coaches include Mark Marques as head coach, Ralph Lynch and John D’Albora. Jocelyn Lynch is the team manager. Although a young team overall, many team members have been together for several years and a few have played under Mark Marques since starting soccer as toddlers.

The tournament victory was something the team will never forget. They learned some valuable lessons along the way: Don’t be intimidated. Always do your best. Never give up. Keep the faith and remember that even when there appears to be no hope at all, things can change in the blink of an eye and you have to be ready to jump on the opportunity and play your heart out. And they did.


Photos provided by Bethany Burt

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