The Ballaz Academy Under-10 and Under-12 teams starred at the third staging of the Springs Holiday Cup in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on the weekend, as they both won their respective divisions in unbeaten fashion.

 In the U10 final, Ballaz had to come from behind to defeat Galacticos Soccer 2-1.

Galacticos got their goal in the first half but Braden Burkett drew Ballaz level from the penalty spot midway the second half.

 Just when the game seemed destined for a penalty shootout, Makiri D’Aguilar, who scored in every game of the tournament, to finish with six goals, found the winner with an exquisite volley from just inside the box with virtually the final kick of the match.

 It was the second match between the two teams as they faced each other in the final preliminary round game to decide the finalists. Ballaz won that game 3-1 with Makiri D’Aguilar firing home a hattrick before the Galacticos got a consolation late on.

 D’Aguilar was the Under-10 standout player for Ballaz as his influence was noticeable in every game his team played.

 In the Under-12 final, Ballaz cruised past Florida Krause Krush 3-1with goals coming from Jacob Smith, Captain Jude Davis from the penalty spot and Joshua-Liam Hibbert before their opponents spoiled the clean sheet with a late consolation goal.

 David ended the tournament with five goals.

 But before they played the final, the Ballaz U12 team completed their first-round fixtures with a 3-0 win over Parkland Soccer Club. Malik Campbell, Joshua-Liam Hibbert and Shemar Cameron got the goals in that game.

 Campbell prodded home the first before Hibbert blasted home the second to knock the wind out of their opponents. Cameron then scored with a long-range lofted drive to complete the scoring in the first half. It was their second win over Parkland.

 After winning one game and losing the other on day one, the Under-11 team needed to win their final group game to make the final. They beat Springs Soccer Club 3-1 through two goals from Khyel Dale and one from Jacob Heron to be the third Ballaz team to play in a championship match.

But after making it all the way to the final, they fell at the final hurdle, losing 0-1 to Team Boca, the team to which they lost to in their first game of the tournament and by the same margin.

The Under-13 team were the only team that failed to make the final as they came up short on Sunday.

With one win from two games on Saturday, a win against FC Prime was needed to advance but they went down 1-2 to miss out on a chance at a medal. Jevon Richards got the consolation goal for the U-13 team.




Ballaz Academy experienced mixed results on day one of the Springs Holiday Cup in Ft. Lauderdale Florida on Saturday as two of the four teams won both their games played while the other two teams won one but lost the other.

On a cold, wet Saturday morning, the Under-13 team failed to get going and went down 0-2 to Parkland Soccer Club but rebounded to win 2-0 against Boynton United FC later in the afternoon in warmer conditions.

Christopher Reid scored in the first half while Richard Clarke scored with virtually the last kick of the match to help improve their goal difference.

 The Under-11 team suffered a similar fate as they too struggled in the cold morning conditions and went down 0-1 to Team Boca but ended their day with a 1-0 win over Parkland Soccer Club courtesy of a goal from Nathan Royal.

 But as the day grew warmer, the results got better for Ballaz.

 The Under-12 team went two from two with dominant displays against Strikers Miami FC and Springs Soccer Club.

 Led by a brace from captain Jude Davis, Ballaz beat Strikers Miami 4-1 in their mid-morning game. Jacob Smith and Orique Gordon got the other goals.

 In the second game, they beat the hosts Springs Soccer Club 3-1 with Malik Campbell, Jaden Virtue and Davis getting the goals.

 The Under-10 team made a real statement of intent as they also recorded consecutive wins on Saturday.

 After waiting until 2:15pm to take the field of play, Cahvanie White scored a brace while Braden Burkett and Makiri D’Aguilar got the other goals in their victory over Strikers Miami FC.

 In the late game, the youngest Ballaz team were surprised by Cooper City Optimist Cobras who stung them early in the game to go 1-0 up but they rebounded to draw level through Kirk Holgate before a second brace of the day by White and another from D’Aguilar ensured the win and secured their spot at the top of their group.

Cahvanie White was the top scorer for Ballaz on day one with four goals.

 Today (Sunday), the Under-10 team needs a win over Galacticos Soccer Academy in their final group game to clinch a spot in the final while the U-11 and the U-13 teams need big wins against Springs Soccer Club and Prime FC Elite to make it through to their respective finals.

The U-12’s will have to play a semifinal game to make it through to the final. They will know their opponents later Sunday.

Ballaz Academy completed their preparation last night ahead of the start of the Springs Holiday Cup with their final warm-up matches against Parkland Soccer Club who will also be participating in the tournament which begins Friday.

The Under-10 team that drew their first warm-up game earlier this week, were in sparkling form last night running out 3-nil winners. After going ahead through an own goal, Cahvanie White doubled their lead before Braden Burkett completed the scoring with the final kick of the game.

The Under-11 team that won their first warm-up match on Tuesday went down to a lone goal last night.

The Under-12 team that also won on Tuesday were pegged back by Parkland and had to settle for a 1-1 draw after Hayden Virtue had come off the bench to put them ahead with a sublime finish. Parkland, however, found a late equalizer to share the points.

The Under-13 team played out an exciting 2-2 draw with Parkland, coming from a goal down in the first half to take a 2-1 lead in the second half through Malik Garriques and Dejan Ho-Young. Parkland responded to draw level at 2-2 but Ballaz were unfortunate not to come away with the win after hitting the post twice in the final minutes of the match.

The Ballaz teams will begin their quest win the Springs Holiday Cup on Saturday with the Under-13 team leading the way against Parkland at 8:00am.

Xavi Tamarit, UEFA Pro License Coach from Valencia, Spain, will be in Jamaica for the next two weeks, during which time he, along with Andre Virtue, the founder and director of Ballaz Academy, will evaluate and strengthen the academy’s overall philosophy, technical, tactical, and coaching capabilities. They will also finalize an eight-year development plan that the academy is about to embark on.

Tamarit boasts an enviable record in football development and philosophy with over 15 years of coaching experience.

He has coached at the professional level in the English Premier League with Southampton FC, in La Liga with Valencia CF, Deportivo Alavés and CD Leganés and in Greece with Aris FC and Levadiakos FC.

He has also coached in Argentina with Estudiantes de La Plata, CA Independiente and Vélez Sarsfield.

He has also written two internationally recognized books on the methodology of training called Tactical Periodization and has spoken at conferences around the world at the invitation of federations and universities.

As a player, Tamarit competed in the Champions League, UEFA Cup, Libertadores Cup and South American Cup.

Xavi’s visit, the result of an invitation from Virtue, is part of the strengthening of the relationship between Ballaz Academy and The Next Generation Sports (TNGS), Valencia Spain.

The two organizations have in place an MOU which includes Coaching Development & Education, player and coach exchanges, tours, camps, clinics and workshops.

“As we celebrate 20 years, we have much to give thanks for. We have achieved much and impacted the lives of many of Jamaica’s most talented football players at the primary, secondary and club level,” said Virtue.

“As we look ahead, however, we are committed to pioneering even more pathways for our players and coaches and we are being more intentional about connecting with global stakeholders and partners.

“Xavi’s presence here is a part of that intentionality. First and foremost, he is a friend, then a coaching colleague with an amazing football mind and we share a passion for youth football development and the opportunities that football can provide.

“It is an honour to have Xavi here sharing his love for football, Jamaica, and his experiences as a pro coach. As we continue to build our relationship with TNGS, we build pathways of opportunity for our players and by extension other Jamaican coaches and players.”

Xavi, who has had previous visits to Jamaica in 2011 and 2012 shared that, “Being in Jamaica is a wonderful experience. Andre’ and the Ballaz family came to Spain in July and we were able to see the high level of play as well as the character demonstrated by the players.

The coaching philosophy of Ballaz is also one that is impressive because it focuses not only on developing world-class footballers but great people. I know that this relationship started many years ago with Ivan Salazar, Director of TNGS and it is good to see that it is now at a place where Ballaz can benefit even more from what we have to offer.”

Since, 2002 Ballaz International has been coaching the lives of their football players with the goals of not just top-class football, but building the character of its participants in an atmosphere of love, family and professional excellence. “Our vision is to transform individuals, families, communities, the nation and the world through love and football,” Virtue said.

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