STETHS tops Fort Lauderdale alumni tournament
NEW champions were crowned on Monday night following the seventh staging of the Jamaica High School Alumni Football Competition at the Lauderdale Sports Complex in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) turned back defending champion, the Manning's School 1-0 in the final.
The two-day tournament, which was held over the Labour Day weekend, saw 15 teams participating, with Vere Technical the only team that failed to show up for their matches.
Competition was very fierce from Sunday's opening day, where last year's finalists, Manning's and Kingston College (KC), went down to 1-0 defeats to Meadowbrook and Old Harbour High, respectively.
STETHS sent an early warning with the biggest win on the opening day, hammering St Mary's College 4-0. They followed up with a 1-0 win over Herbert Morrison, then a 0-0 stalemate with Dinthill.
Manning's bounced back to win their other matches, but KC lost 1-0 to Dinthill in their wild card play-off.
Only one Corporate Area school made the quarter-finals, Excelsior.
That, however, was as far as they got, as four teams from western Jamaica STETHS, Manning's, Cornwall College and Rusea's advanced to the semi-finals. Manning's stopped Cornwall 1-0, while STETHS profited from two penalties for a 2-0 win over Rusea's.
Tournament MVP and Golden Boot winner Michael Binns, along with former Arnett Gardens player, Jonathan Williams and Akeil Marshall, enabled STETHS to dominate. However, goalkeeper Kevin Williams was brilliant and denied Marshall from the penalty spot, as the half ended goalless.
It was all STETHS in the second half as Binns was unstoppable, creating the goal from a solo run as he dribbled by four players before passing to Williams, who fired past the keeper to give his team the winner.
Winning coach O'Neil Bloomfield was an elated man.
"We are happy for the win as after reaching the quarter-finals and semi-finals over the years, we were determined to go all the way this time around," said Bloomfield.
Losing manager Dirk Brown said: "Congrats to STETHS, they were the better team today.
"But missing some key members for the final, due to injuries, cost us," added Brown.
STETHS' Damian Harriott was voted the best goalkeeper, while Garfade Johnson of Manning's was voted the best defender.
Tournament coordinator Lavern Deer is looking forward to next year's eighth staging.
"I am very impressed with the organisation this time around as this has being the biggest so far in terms of teams and attendance, and this has taken off big time, locally and internationally. We will be starting our plans for next year very early ... so that more teams can be involved," she said.
Meanwhile, Dinthill retained the netball title, defeating Mt Alvernia High 21-14 in the final.