Eagle i: Marco teams going to Nationals

Three teams from the newly-formed Marco Island Soccer Club competed in the Naples Summer 3v3 Challenge last weekend at the North Collier Sports Park.

The facilities were fantastic and the setting was the envy of everyone from Marco who dreams of such a sports facility for Marco Island. The teams played well overall, but it was a tale of two days with the Flaming Geckos and Sandheels having their best performances on Saturday while FC Marco excelled on Sunday.


Marco Island’s newest 3v3 soccer team, FC Marco, showed steady improvement in its first tournament, making them the third team from Marco Island to qualify for Nationals in Orlando. The team was formed just a month ago.

FC Marco’s roster includes Island residents Blake Barrett, Dylan Gwin, Devin Noel, Jose Olalde, Edgar Perez, and Nick Ruiz. FC Marco competes in the Under 15 Competitive Division, and played against the best teams from Lee and Collier County. The top scorer was Jose Olalde, who had six goals and four assists, Blake Barrett and Nick Ruiz chipped in with three goals apiece, and Edgar Perez contributed two goals and three assists. Dylan Gwin and Devin Noel provided solid defense.

Dan Sweeney, FC Marco’s head coach, was pleased at how well the team came together in such a short time. “With just a handful of practices under our belt, these guys played a great tournament. The other teams in the tournament have been playing together for years, and the fact that we can compete with them is a real tribute to the players’ skill and determination,” he said. “I appreciate the assistance of Ed Ruiz, Tony Smith, and Stuart Unsworth, who donated their time and expertise with valuable skills training for the players”.

FC Marco’s next tournament will be in Lehigh Acres on July 18.


The players put forth a strong effort on the first day, ending with two wins in the Under 12 Recreation Division and only one loss to a team in the Competitive Division. Saturday’s success put the Sandheels in position to once again play for the championship on Sunday as the No. 1 seed. However, the Sandheels played their worst game of the season in the championship game and ended up taking second place.

Coach Jim Young said, “It was another great experience and losing this game should be a good eye opener for this team as we get ready to go to National’s in Orlando. Hopefully we can take the agony of defeat and turn it into a positive learning experience. By taking second place we now have a first, second and third place finish in the three tournaments.” The Sandheels players included Jordan Barrett, Adam Hurdis, Andrew Hurdis, Peter Servente and Cody Young. Zack West substituted for Jay Vanderjagt who was out of town.


The curse continues as the Flaming Geckos lost their first game to Lehigh Lightning by score of 5-4, but then went on a dominant winning spree, beating Team Hejduk 8-1, S.C. United 5-2 and Eagle Soccer Club 7-2 to finish the first day at 3-1. Unfortunately, the Geckos came out flat in the qualifying round early Sunday morning and never could get back in sync, losing in a rematch against Team Hejduk, 8-4.

Flaming Gecko’s Coach Joe Bartos said, “Our kids played phenomenally for most of the tournament, but have been inconsistent in the first games of the day. We have a month before Nationals to fix that problem. Then, I don’t think anyone can stop us”.

Everyone got on the scoreboard this tournament. Kyle Bartos, scored nine goals, Santi Ruiz and Josh Wagner, six, Evan Meredith, four and Kole Bartos, three. Santi Ruiz, Kole Bartos and Josh Wagner had three assists each. Kole Bartos was phenomenal at the back position, playing nearly the entire tournament in the absence of Chris Gengenbach.

Thanks to our sponsors for this tournament: IAO Payroll, Your Island Home, The Bartos Group at Assist 2 Sell and Paradise Sports. The Marco Island Soccer Club will hold a “Ride For A Goal!”, a motorcycle/scooter poker run, on July 26.

Proceeds will go to the Marco Island Soccer Club to fund equipment and tournament costs. See the Web site for details. The organization is operated separately from the Optimist Club of Marco Island. If you would like to sponsor a tournament, are interested in fielding a team, or would like more information about the Marco Island Soccer Club, go to MarcoIslandSoccer.com.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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