Cavaliers Make New Traditions with Student-Run Soccer Tournament


Grifin Byrd

The 5 versus 5 soccer tournament was an important fundraiser for the Lady Cavaliers soccer team.

As Cavaliers return from their winter break, new traditions are in the making. The weekend of Jan. 14 marked the first-ever Cavalier 5 vs. 5 Tournament, a planned fundraiser for the Lady Cavaliers soccer team. With a $200 prize on the line, students from every grade level formulated teams to compete against each other and share good laughs and plenty of goals.

The idea to host a fundraiser began with senior soccer player Maria Fernandez, who articulated her plans for the tournament shortly after the World Cup final. For the majority of students, an in-house soccer tournament was deemed the perfect opportunity to compete for bragging rights while generating funds for the Coral Gables Senior High varsity soccer team.

Senior Jake Borras perfectly executed his job and defended the ball from landing in the goal. (Griffin Byrd)

After weeks of planning, Lady Cavalier soccer received approval from Student Activities Director Ms. Suarez and Athletic Director Mr. Romero. Soon after, an interest form was published on social media to raise awareness for the event. Up to ten teams were allowed to participate, with participating students required to pay a $5 entrance fee and form rosters.

“I was extremely satisfied. I heard a lot of good feedback, so in terms of people having fun and coming out to support I would say it was successful,” senior Carla Nuñez said.

During the finals, the game intensified as both teams knew victory was on the line. (Griffin Byrd)

Alongside a few volunteers, Lady Cavaliers soccer woke up early to prepare four reduced-size fields for a series of matchups. At 9 a.m., players and spectators arrived for the fun-guaranteed event. Once every contestant checked in, the tournament commenced.

Games occurred simultaneously. The group stage was played between sixteen teams, to determine who would advance into the elimination bracket. Following a couple hours of play, the semifinals arrived: the Royal Monkeys versus the Bench Warmers as well as the Corn Stars versus Brexit, with each time hoping to clear a path to the final.

I never expected to participate in a school soccer tournament, let alone win. I had an amazing time and would definitely participate again,

— junior Guillermo Martinez

“The team I was in was made up very last minute and I never expected to reach the final, it was a very fun event. You are able to meet new people and bond with your friends,” sophomore Ruben Sanchez said.

Moments of suspense carried over into the final, which featured the Bench Warmers versus the Corn Stars. From the opening kickoff, the match was extremely intense but resulted in no goals. It was not until freshman Juan Audisio scored for the Bench Warmers, breaking the clean sheet.

The group stage matches had the crowd hyped as the anticipated who would move forward. (Griffin Byrd)

Halftime was more than enough time to refuel each participant. Right into the second half, junior Stefano Fernandini blasted a goal for the Corn Stars and suddenly the momentum shifted to their hands. Members of the boys soccer team even participated, with freshman Gabriel Carrizo and sophomore Sky Carrizo securing two scores for the Corn Stars back-to-back.

With more than five minutes on the clock, junior Guillermo Martinez hit the back of the net for the Corn Stars, yet again, resulting in a 4 to 1 victory for the group of Cavaliers.

“The fact that we were supporting the girls soccer team while going out and doing what we love is super cool. I was pretty confident going into the tournament, but when we won I was still ecstatic,” sophomore Sky Carrizo said.

In all regards, the fundraisers turned into a success for the Lady Cavaliers. Garnering support from across Gables, the tournament will presumably return in 2024 and bring Cavaliers to the soccer field once more.