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Aug 6, 2013

U-16 football team earns respect at competition

The Belize jaguars did not bring home the medal, but an up and coming team of young footballers in an international competition in Merida have made the jewel proud. The Youth with a Mission Under-seventeen football team competed against Mexican and other teams and were able to clinch a third place in the competition. The team returned to Belize over the weekend and today News Five’s Isani Cayetano caught up with them.


A team of soccer players known as the YWAM Boyz recently returned from neighboring Mexico where they participated in a tournament organized by a youth athletics development program in that country.  While the competition did not receive as much media coverage as the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2013, the boys of Youths With A Mission represented Belize well.


Dimitri Fabro, Team Captain, YWAM Boyz

Dimitri Fabro

“The tournament was in Merida, Yucatan Mexico. We played three games, three teams in each group, six group total and we placed third in the tournament.”


Isani Cayetano

“What was the experience like for you guys? Being able to travel to Mexico and compete in their games?”


Dimitri Fabro

“Well the experience was very good, it is a learning process how to be professional because when we go there you won’t get your way. Mexico is there country so you will always be second or third. So you need to learn all that and all of that teaches us how to be professional and how to cooperate with the countries and how to take away their game. Because if you’re not their home country you are their enemies. Especially if you want o win but it is a learning process to let us be better footballers and one day be professionals.


Isani Cayetano

“What have you taken away from the experience? In terms of something that you may have leant competing against an international team such as Mexico as opposed to something that you were probably taught here in Belize about football or about sportsmanship?”


Dimitri Fabro

“You know you get a whole new idea of everything you learn a whole new system over there. You can’t hold the ball too long like we do in Belize, you need to touch and move, touch and move and it is a very fast paced game, you must always be defending, always getting back, it is a very intense game.”



According to coach Santiago Valencia, his involvement with the teenagers began when he noticed that youths in the Roaring Creek community were in need of meaningful recreation.


Santiago Valencia

Santiago Valencia, Head Coach, YWAM Boyz

“What we do actually is that we are an international organization, we are Christian Youth Ministry that’s why we are called Youth With A Mission. This is a mission that I never signed up for but living in Roaring Creek I started working with kids that needed a place to get away. We have 27 acres and we invited them to come, we have football field and they play around and so forth. As I look at the kids play is aid these kids have something. We started to get involved in little tournaments in the Belmopan area and next thing you know we are making placements in them. The next thing you know we start to bring in players from outside and the next thing you know we have a semi-national team that we travel with. Our country needs all of us to engage with the youths on every level so this is one of the places that we engage with our youths. This is a holistic approach, it is not only football, and even if they become professional footballers. Even if they hit the World leagues the European leagues the South American league in fact North America is stepping up fast in football. Football career is between 8 to 12 years maximum. And whatever money they make within that time they will still need to have some sort of education in order for them to live an effective life in society. Hopefully we are hoping to raise more solid Belizean men and of course women that live a very positive lifestyle and be models in the country.”


Youth With A Mission was invited to participate in the competition despite being an outside team.  Their invitation was based on previous friendly competitions held between teams from both countries.


Isani Cayetano for News Five.


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2 Responses for “U-16 football team earns respect at competition”

  1. Concern says:

    We understand what the kids are going through, so for them to come in third is truly remarkable. Congratulations to the boys, coach and all who made this possible. We are truly happy that they are doing a magnificent job, for Belize.

  2. Belizean Pride says:

    ahh we should call the Jaguar Cubs from Belize very interesting how this organization is trying to bring out this youths in a positive way.

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