Flaming Geckos fire up for nationals

The Flaming Geckos, Marco Island’s under-10-year-old, 3-on-3 Soccer Club, competed in the Tampa-St. Pete 3-on-3 Super Challenge in Clearwater last weekend.

The Geckos finished second in the tournament, qualifying the Flaming Geckos for the 3-on-3 Challenge Tour National Championships in Orlando, July 31-Aug. 2.

The Geckos were slow out of the blocks against a very tough Fire Storm team. They kept it close for the first quarter, but the switch turned off midway through the first half and the Geckos ended up losing 11-2.

Next, the Geckos played the Caymanites from the Cayman Islands. The Geckos got their stride back, beating the Caymanites 6-4. On the final game on Saturday, the Flaming Geckos played to their potential, beating Citrus United, 5-2. Sunday’s first game matched the Geckos with the Levy Lightning. The Geckos easily beat their opponent, 6-2 and advanced to the semi-final. The Flaming Geckos were all business in the semi-final against Citrus United, winning 8-2. The championship round was a rematch with Fire Storm. The Geckos came out a bit tentative and fell behind quickly, but battled back only to fall, 7-3.

Santi Ruiz led all players with eight assists while playing outstandingly at the sweeper position. Josh “Sushi” Wagner’s aggressive style of defense created havoc for the other teams in the playoff rounds. The leading scorers were Kyle Bartos, 15 goals, Kole Bartos, 7, Santi Ruiz, 5 and Evan Meredith, 3.

Coach Joseph Bartos said, “Coach Ed Ruiz and I are extremely proud of these kids. They have tremendous potential and we continue to see improvement with every tournament. Our team goal is to be the best we can be by nationals and by what we have seen; we are on the right track.”

The Flaming Geckos will travel to Englewood on June 6 and 7 to compete in the 1st Annual Englewood Invitational Tournament.

If you would like to sponsor an event, or would like more information about the Marco Island 3-on-3 Soccer Club, go to MI3v3Soccer.com.

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