By Shirley Wu
Top-level soccer players from several AKSIL Teams (Active Kidz Shanghai International League) were highly successful this past weekend (23-24 May) at the Novozymes Cup 2015 Tournament hosted by Sports Beijing. With more than 50 teams participating from Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, it is clear this tournament is one of the most significant youth soccer events of the year. “The competition and games themselves brought out our best competitive spirits and allowed each team, coach and player, to gauge themselves against some very good regional competitors”, said Greg Rumney, Team Manager for ASKIL Puxi U-10 and father of an AKSIL player.
Saturday was very hot but ultimately an enjoyable day spent playing soccer. Teams were fighting hard during each match to qualify for a spot in the next level. After the first day competitions, AKSIL teams were leading in most of the categories (age divisions ranged from under 9 through under 15). “Our first day of competition was challenging and tough but we finished first which energized us for the finals on Sunday”, said Colleen Shafer, Team Manager of Puxi U12.
After a spirited opening day, Sunday brought even more passion during the semi-final and final game. The weather was as hot as the first day, however everyone fought even harder to bring home the highly desired trophies. In the end, after an intensive game involving penalty kicks and a “sudden-death” goal, AKSIL Puxi U12 team won the Cup Championship for U13 category, and AKSIL Puxi U11 won for U11 category. Colleen Shafer, Team Manager of Puxi U12 said: “Our final game against Sports Beijing ended in a 1-1 tie, which led us to a penalty shootout. All the other AKSIL teams were finished with their games and came to watch. There was so much excitement from the other players and parents cheering for AKSIL. We won and everyone was cheering for AKSIL!" The coach from Puxi U11 team Khalid Mohsen reflected, “Our team did a great job! We showed our skill and experience in the games and finished top in the first day with 32 goals. All players did very well as a team and individually, especially our main goalie who had managed to keep all clean sheets in this tournament.”
Results in other categories confirmed the talents and dedication for many AKSIL teams: In the U9 category, AKSIL Pudong U8 won the second place. In U11 category, AKSIL Puxi U9 won the Plate Championship, AKSIL Puxi U10 took the second place and U11 was the Runner up.
The head coach of AKSIL Radfan Mahyoub was very proud and said, “Our teams did very well in the tournament. I was able to make the kids focus on each game individually and not to think so far away for the final, and we did it step by step.” Speaking of the spirit of AKSIL he said, “AKSIL has a great history and most of the players I started coaching in 2004 have made it to be great soccer players in big clubs in Europe, USA, Japan, Australia, and many other countries. I am glad that I can see those kids become men and ladies who are very successful in their life and in sports. AKS and AKSIL will continue to offer fantastic sports for our children in Shanghai. The best joy we can have is to see how successful those kids will become.”
The AKSIL organization was started by AKS (Active Kidz Shanghai) 12 years ago and seeks to nurture the development of engaged children with soccer interests, passion and talents. “Now, with 16 teams in AKSIL spread throughout 5 different age groups, we are thrilled by the awesome heights our teams have reached. With 17 Championships this past year, AKSIL has continued to grow and improve since its founding,” stated Miia Kauppila, AKS General Manager. “AKS offers recreational and competitive sports programs beyond soccer, including swimming, basketball, baseball, volleyball, gymnastics, ballet, badminton and more, but all coaches share the same goals of providing safe, well-run activities that stimulate development of physical and social skills while promoting teamwork, good sportsmanship, individual creativity, self-confidence and respect for others.”