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Nov 27, 2012

Belize U-15 football team brings the gold from the Dominican Republic

With an abundance of negative news in our daily newscasts, we lead tonight with an uplifting story involving our youths. The Under Fifteen National Football team returned to Belize today from Santo Domingo where they went up against top notch teams. The local team outmaneuvered participating teams, including Mexico, winning all games to clinch the gold medal in the Dominican Republic’s U-15 tournament. It is an extraordinary feat because it is the first time that Belize has won gold in international football. And if that was not big enough, the team also brought home the MVP and Goleador titles.  News Five’s Delahnie Bain was at the airport this morning where they got a hero’s welcome.


Delahnie Bain, Reporting

History was made by the Under Fifteen national football team, which dominated an international tournament in the Dominican Republic over the past week. The team was undefeated throughout the games and returned home today with the gold. They were welcomed at the Philip Goldson International Airport by proud family members, football officials and Minister of Sports, Herman Longsworth.


Herman Longsworth

Herman Longsworth, Minister of Sports

“This is absolutely great. I mean this is something that every Belizean should be proud of. This is what we all hoped for, this is what we all worked for and I can’t—it’s difficult to explain. This is history for us in Belize, it really is and I think we as Belizeans, all Belizeans should be so proud of these guys. These young men have gone out there and have made Belize proud, have put Belize on the map, despite as the coach says, all the difficulties that they had to go through. They outdid all that and they came home with gold.”


At the start of the tournament, Team Belize was looked at as the underdogs, but Coach Santi Valencia says they were well prepared. They persevered against tough opponents and had to deal with their harassment and the unbecoming behavior from referees.


Santi Valencia, , Coach, U-Fifteen Neuronal Team

“Very, very, very difficult; extremely difficult. That’s why continue to say our boys—noh mek Belize tek di boys lightly. We didn’t just go over to have anything handed to us on a silver platter. Every single game we fought for with blood; these boys literally fought for it that they bled. It was extremely difficult, it was hard competition, but they were prepared.”


Renan Couoh

Renan Couoh, Technical Director, FFB

“This group worked very hard. We worked in three months, one hundred and ninety-two hours. Sixteen hours from each week, worked hard. We work Tuesday to Friday. The next guys for the group come from Orange Walk, Belize and Dangriga and work Saturday and Sunday. The Saturdays they work hard through the sun, through the rain.”


And so the underdogs rose to the top, beating the Dominican Republic’s southern selection 4-3 in the first game. They were the only team that defeated Mexico with a 2-1 final score in game two and then went on to beat the DR’s A Selection twice; both games ending with a 2-1 score.


Demitri Fabro

Demitri Fabro, Captain, National U-Fifteen Team

“This wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have these fifteen guys and everyone played their role. When we had injuries, had blisters, had pain in our legs, we just tried to forget that and we just played on, played hard and didn’t give an inch until the long whistle blow.”


Rogi Solórzano, MVP, National U-Fifteen Team

Rogi Solórzano

“It really means a lot to me because when I train, I work really hard and I take my training seriously. So I feel like all the hard work paid off.  I think the most challenging one was the game against Mexico because they had us down 1-0 first but we dug deep and we didn’t give up and in spite of that we still came out with the victory.”


Randy Augustin

Randy Augustin, Most Goals, National U-Fifteen Team

“When we went there we had to play against the team and the referees because none of the refs liked us because we win all of our games and the defensive teams didn’t play to hurt us, but they played rough.”


But they didn’t just win the games; the Belizean athletes took it all. Rogi Solorzano was named MVP while Randy Augustin scored the most goals of the tournament. Augustin left a lasting impression on the other teams, particularly the powerhouse from Guadalajara, Mexico.


Santi Valencia

Santi Valencia

“Randy got the goleador, which is he is just an amazing, amazing young man to get a goal. When we played against the Mexicans, the Mexicans assigned three men that by the time that ball went to Randy, they were right there shutting him off like just smothering him and of course in doing so, they gave us the win because they left our men open and we capitalized.”


Randy Augustin

“I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy to score those goals. I couldn’t do it without the midfield and the defense who played very strong and the keeper.”


This huge achievement was the result of an initiative to create football talent academies across the country. The national team was largely made up of at risk youths from the Belmopan academy along with players from Dangriga, Belize City and Orange Walk.


Santi Valencia

“It started off just trying to rescue kids in our community from being in mischief to doing something positive with their life. That’s where we started off and we saw the talent there. We started off in Roaring Creek where today I am so fortunate to have—I think we have five of the Roaring Creek boys that accompanied us on this journey. Then it turned out that when I met Profe, Mr. Couoh, he saw what we were doing and he came onboard. The man said we could raise up something bigger than this.”


Renan Couoh

“This project for the football academies for talent started last year. right now we have four talent academies; one in PG, one in Dangriga, one in Corozal and this is the fourth; this is the fourth academy for talent and in the F.F.B. we want to continue next year, the next academies for Belize, Orange Walk and Cayo, more academies for football.”


Randy Augustin

“We just want to ask for more support so that football could go further in Belize.”


Rogi Solórzano

“Yes, because they have a lot of dedicated players out there that really want to succeed in the sport and get further in the sport so we need more support.”


The cost of the trip was around forty thousand dollars, which was raised through donations from businesses, individuals and assistance from the players’ parents. Minister Longsworth announced a donation of one thousand dollars today. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


The team trained at the FFB Field under FFB Technical Director Renan Couoh and was coached by Kenneth Budna and Santiago Valencia. Future plans for the football academy project includes training of additional youth coaches. We note that Belize also won gold, but in Softball also into Santo Domingo in the seventies. 

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20 Responses for “Belize U-15 football team brings the gold from the Dominican Republic”

  1. GoBelize! says:

    Amazing feat! Wait, and no comments? Come on people let’s get this straight….This kids and their coaches did the unthinkable! Put up some positive comments. They need the support. And Minister, good intial $1,000. I hope you are working on a couple thousand more for this GOLDEN TEAM. It’s no all Basketball and Cycling out there!

  2. hay mujer says:

    longsworth dont take any credit for this! big up ppl like those from plus tv and the coach not minister longsworth’s $1,000.00bcy what a shame minister.

  3. Storm says:

    A great triumph for our young athletes! Your victories are the pay-off for your hard work and God-given skills. I’m sure all Belizeans are proud of you and your coaches, and thankful to your sponsors.

  4. nesher says:

    1 thousand measly dollars????? REALLY? these players went out there to represent OUR country and that is wat the Ministry of Sports is gonna give them. I bet they spend more on gasoline(PURCHASED BY THE MINISTRY) travelling to and from their work on a weekly basis

  5. Belize says:

    Congrats to the youths for bringing back the Gold. Nuff respect in this time. The FFB is just like the politicians of this country. Dominica republic is not a football country. They are a baseball country and they rank 92 in the world while Belize rank 144. The competition was not a top notch competition with the best U-15 players from Dominica republic or Mexico and also it wasn’t the under 15 national team. It was a hand pick selection. This competition was not sanction by either concacaf or Fifa. Stop fooling the youths to look bad in the future.

  6. Belize says:

    Whats the big deal? For us football fans this is nothing to celebrate about. We are still rank 144, 22 out of 35 in ConCacaf. This game will not help our ranking. With this new executive in FFB we are going back down. January we started at 133 and now back down to 144 and going down more becasue the A team is not playing any international games. Winning a Gold in a competition that doesn’t mean anything. In concacaf there is no under 15 competition so this is nothing.

  7. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why wasn’t the MVP given to Randy Augustin if he scored the most goals of the tournament?

  8. BE REEL says:

    Longsworth should be ashame to show his face their, stealing the teams limelight for a measly thousand dollars. SHAME on the MINISTRY OF SPORTS

  9. Sportsfan says:

    Minister Longsworth should be ashamed to appear at the airport to receive these athletes when the Ministry of Sports contribution was only .025 percent of the total cost of the trip.this guy is not only incompetent but shameless. I bet it will be all smiles tomorrow at the Berger field groundbreaking. Opportunity for him to hustle.

  10. Belmopanese says:

    Oh the darn nerves of some people to try and bring down something good. Is that all you have in you “Belize”? A mountain of hate in your heart. Why cann’t you atleast congratulate the young men for trying. It might not have been a National Selection but it was a darn good team and these young men worked their @##$# off. These had the support of parents, dedicated coaches and the will to succeed. It wasn’t necessarily a FIFA sanctioned event but one of those team from DR that they played against had travelled to Germany to play against a German selection and won. So, people like you “Belize” CAN NEVER BRING A GOOD THING DOWN. Why don’t you start being a part of the solution rather than trying to create problems. HATER!

  11. Come On says:

    Longsworth needs to open Marion Jones, and build dthe City Center for basket ball, as Minister of sports that should be his full time job not stealing the show on the youths achievement. one thousand dolla, thats one chip fu Penner at the Poker table.

  12. ceo says:

    Elgin I can see what you are trying to take this but they all contributed and the kids are very satisfied with the outcome and you should be too.

    The MVP is the person who is the best all around player not necessarily the person who scored the most goals. I am not sure if he is but it is not uncommon for a mid fielder to get the MVP and he is usually not the person that scores the most goals but a good midfielder is the heart of any football team. Rogi could have also been the play maker and the leader of the team and Randy is better able to finish the play.

    Don’t spoil the party Elgin!

  13. Guest says:

    Congratulations!!!!! You guys made us proud continue the good work and may God bless these youths. Hopefully they can get some sponsor for future games.
    Weatherer it was or was not an official tournament by CONCACAF or FIFA it counts for us Belizean I’m proud !!!!!! keep it up.

  14. Elgin Martinez says:

    @ceoSorry but i am entitle to my opinion sir/madam and i will not be silent.

  15. alley cat says:

    4 Postive Comments vs. 11 negative Comments (this comment is included since it points out that negativity wins the day in Belize)

  16. this yah negative crowd hah fuh gun says:

    Tireding to mind!!!!!!! u want to see something positive on the news for a change rather than the headlines being about murders and yet some people still juice-out the good out of the news and COMMENT NEGATIVELY. I wa stop watch news seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Thetruthbeingtold says:

    I am not trying to be negative but the truth needs to be told. Firstly, the guys made all of us proud and I must say Congrats. However, lets get it clear. The Schools of Talents is a FFB Initiative that commenced in Belmopan under the leadership of the District Chairman Mr. Marlon Tillett. The Technical Director, Renan Cowoh, who is a Mexican, works and is paid by the FFB. There are many kids under this program, including an U-13 selection. Mr. Santi Valencia runs his own program under the YWAM cover. Many if not most of his kids are from the Roaring Creek Area. Like couple other teams, YWAM participated in the Bmp City Council Kids Cup Program held every year. It was as a result of the kids cup competition that kids from other teams were invited by Mr. Tillett to attend training with Mr. Cowoh. Mr. Valencia boys were also invited. Yes, he supported his boys and showed up with them at the trainings and that was very much commendable of him. Other coaches also showed up in support of the boys and to learn as well from the technical director.
    Now, to listen to Mr. Santi and Cowoh speak, you would think they are pushing their own agendas. Its all about themselves. Let it be known that there were many other people involved in making the boys what they are today. Its not about Santi and Cowoh. I’ve not heard them mentioned anyone else but themselves and this is being dishonest. He handpicked most of those boys including his 2 sons to be on that team. He engaged some of the kids with wealthy parents and then after one parent gave a considerable amount of donation, he took away the Captain position from the child with the best leadership and football skills and gave it to the wealthy parent’s son.
    Yes, the boys did great but some things needed to be cleared up.

  18. Response to "BELIZE" says:

    The only reason why Belize was ranked 133 when the FFB had elections was because of the brilliant performance of our team in the WCQ. Belize went down to 144 because we are not playing any matches! Don’t act as if tho Chimilio had Belize playing international friendlies. To get to the top Belize has to start from scratch and this is where the youths come in. These kids did a brilliant job, any team from Mexico is a good team and Belize just had a better well disciplined one. Although the FFB didn’t help in the trip, they stil represented BELIZE in an INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Response to "BELIZE" says:

    The only reason why Belize was ranked 133 when the FFB had elections was because of the brilliant performance of our team in the WCQ. Belize went down to 144 because we are not playing any matches! Don’t act as if tho Chimilio had Belize playing international friendlies. To get to the top Belize has to start from scratch and this is where the youths come in. These kids did a brilliant job, any team from Mexico or Dominican Republic(which u say is ranked 92) is a good team and Belize just had a better well disciplined one. Although the FFB didn’t help in the trip, they stil represented BELIZE in an INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Thetruthbeingtold says:

    It cannot be said that FFB did not “help” the team. They might not have contributed financially but having Mr. Cowoh as a paid employee of FFB, work with the team, is good enough. It still shows a level of commitment. I am not concern with the past but rather with what is happening now in football and I don’t expect thing to happen overnight interms of ranking. However, I do know that a solid foundation is slowly taking shape and in the next 5 or so years, we should see vast improvements. We must be focused though.

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