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This year, the team played in a higher age bracket, meaning the 14-year-olds were playing 16-year-olds in the tournaments.

The Estudantez AZ Clube Do Futebol U16 boys team pose together during a soccer tournament in Durango, Colo. The team came home with one gold, three silver and two bronze medals from six tournaments they competed in this season. Top row, from left: Rene Diaz, Jose Aviles, Jesus Dominguez, Jesus Delgado, Isreal Diaz, Alex Borgan and coach Juan Carlos Aguilar; Bottom row, from left: Ivan Aguilar, Jesus Estudillo, Tanner Young, Jordon Rivera, Kierya Shelley, Franciso Hernandez, Oscar Miranda, Diego Santa Cruz, Daniel Ruiz and Helios Lino.“This was a hard decision for me,” U16 Estudantez Head Coach Juan Carlos Aguilar said. “One might think one year up isn’t that big of a deal, but it is when most of the boys are 14-year-olds playing against mainly 16-year-olds.

“Our boys were playing against men who were bigger than them, plus the older boys get more physical which [increases] the risk of an injury. But because I believed in my team’s skills on how they can play as a united unit, I knew our team could play with the bigger boys.”

The team’s first tournament was in Flagstaff.

For the full story, please see the Friday, July 12 issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.



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