Taiwan men’s soccer team head coach Louis Lancaster on May 19 took time out to bond with budding young players participating in the Taipei European School (TES) Victory League.
The league, now in its fifth season and administered by Master Football Academy (MFA), celebrated the conclusion of its biggest-ever season — 48 teams comprising 523 players competing across four age categories — U6, U8, U10 and U12.
This season 240 matches were played, with 1,007 goals scored.
Photo courtesy of Master Football Academy
The end-of-season celebrations commenced with various skill challenges for the youngsters, with the top seven players in each age group qualifying to play a match against female players from the nation’s Mulan League.
In an exciting addition this year, Lancaster was on hand to sign autographs, take selfies and offer words of encouragement to the players. He also teamed up with the Mulan League players and added some light-hearted deviousness to the amusement of the onlooking crowd.
The day concluded with individual and team awards being presented by MFA and the league’s partners.
In the inaugural U6 Fun League, TES Titans were crowned champions, with Teddy Tai of the Titans claiming the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award voted on by the referees. Universal Black Shark’s Frank Wu claimed the Golden Boot after scoring 21 goals.
In the U8 Championship, Tree House Academy clinched the title with a thrilling 4-3 victory over runners-up Orange Lightning, with Lightning’s Leo Yang named as the MVP.
The U8 Premier League was won by MFA U8, for whom Robby Lo scored 16 goals to claim the Golden Boot.
FC Tigers Gold had a perfect 10 wins out of 10 to deservedly take the U10 Championship title, while Forrest Wu of the Kuei Shan Braves was awarded the Golden Glove for his amazing saves.
FCB U10A reclaimed the U10 Premier League title, with Neymar and Daniel sharing the Golden Boot with MFA U10’s Will Zheng after they all scored 13 goals.
MFA U12 edged MFA U11 in a closely contested final to claim the U12 Premier League title, with Lars Larsen of MFA U12 nominated as the MVP and Danny Carroll of the Royal Blues claiming the Golden Boot for a second successive season after netting 18 times, despite moving up an age group.
“I have three tips for all players. First, listen to your peers. Second, practice every single day with at least 1,000 touches of the ball. Third and most important, you have to enjoy what you do,” Lancaster told the players at the awards ceremony.
“The Taipei European School has been very happy to offer children the opportunity to play football on a regular basis, in a league format that is generally not available elsewhere. As a school, TES is dedicated to the promotion of ‘whole child learning,’ and a ‘love of learning’ that the TES Victory League provides; developing not only football skills, teamwork and sportsmanship, but also the school’s core values of participation, responsibility, creativity, respect and perseverance. Having watched the development of the children this year, we know that they have all grown in these areas,” TES director of admissions and student services Kerry Nockolds said.
“We are very excited to continue our support of the Victory League to help popularize soccer across Taiwan. Just as Volkswagen is the people’s car, soccer is the people’s sport and is a perfect match for us,” said Kevin Chen, director of marketing communications & PR from long-term league partner Volkswagen Taiwan.
MFA and TES aim to further increase the number of teams competing by including U13 and U15 leagues next season, which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 20.
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