The Futsal tournament was certainly an experience. My favorite part was hanging out with my students and staff from NELA, and getting to meet and chat with LSI faculty from the other schools.
NELA had an excellent student turnout for Game 1 with 12 players and about a dozen cheering fans. It was tricky getting them all to play time because the 30-minute games flew by so fast because we were all so into it! Good old Paul (NELA front desk staff) was so excited he made sure to take about a dozen pictures every minute.
South Bay and Downtown LA had juggernaut teams! It almost felt like their shortest guy was 6 feet tall. Not to mention they were physically tough and kicked the ball like a rocket. Our team was definitely the shortest, but also the toughest. Poor Yuta got conked right in the face by the ball point blank in game 3. Fortunately, he’s tough as iron and only came out with a swollen lip after LSI staff quickly got him an ice pack.
Game 1: NELA came out with lots of energy but got hammered by DTLA 1-10. We were looking good in our green dragon jerseys. Our starting lineup was Vincent, Yuta, Fabio, Daiki, and Shumpei in goal. All of them are incredible players so the score is a testament to how good DTLA’s team was. DTLA definitely used their size to their advantage. I was pleased by how hard our team played. Vincent, our team captain refused to give up, no matter the score. Anali did a great job motivating our players and Cesar served as an assistant coach by giving me pointers on how to improve our strategy.
Game 2: NELA played much better after getting the first game jitters out. Four of our best players scored but unfortunately, we still lost 4-8 against South Bay. Good old Paul stepped in as a goalie and did awesomely! Kit stepped in and played too on the field and a goalie. He may not have been the best player but his commitment on the field matched the best of them. It got really exciting around 10 minutes into the game when Fabio, Vincent, Daiki, and Shumpei scored back to back to back.
Game 3: Down to the grind with only three substitute players we lost 2-9 against OC. It was hard to focus because a huge crowd was going nuts on Court B for the SBLA vs. DTLA game. Despite this, ror players still continued to play hard. Peeiapat (Pete), AB, and Yuta’s younger brother, Kota, were a huge help and played just as hard as our starters. Zapho came halfway through the game and took over as goalie and did a good job.
When our game ended we all cheered for the DTLA and SBLA game. Win or lose, at the end of the day, everyone was excited to eat some hard earned pizza and reflect on the excitement of the day’s matches.
By Sam Vest,