Four Football Federation SA regional teams returned from Fiji earlier this week after representing South Australia in the Ultimate Fiji Cup.
2x U17's boys and girls teams (Senior) and 2x U15's teams (Youth) competed against Fijian academy sides, along with teams from New South Wales and New Zealand.
All 72 players were tested in tough, humid conditions against players who in some cases were 3 years older.
Our U15's Girls Youth side blossomed early on, winning the tournament's opening day ceremony competition.
The opening ceremony gave FFSA players, officials, and all tournament participants to pause for a minute silence to remember the late Mikayla Eastwood, who represented FFSA in Fiji in previous years. All FFSA squads wore black armbands on the opening day to honour the 18-year-old. The girls finished 3rd place in their respective division later in the week.
With an eye on the future too, U15's Youth Player Kate Seaton from Mount Gambier won a spot in the "Allstars" team of the tournament. At just 13 years of age, Kate played with courage and determination, proving that if you are good enough, you are old enough.
The U15's Boys Youth were pipped in the biggest group, competing against 2 Fijian Academy teams, 2 teams from NSW and a team from New Zealand. The boys took home two wins in a tournament that really did not reflect their efforts on the field. Nathaniel Doyle (Adelaide Hills) took home the golden boot for the squad after an impressive week.
Football Federation SA would like to congratulate U17 Seniors Eli Peterson, Finn Bucco, Toby Jessup & Nadia Metzger who each received awards for completing their third Ultimate Fiji Cup.
FFSA's U17 Girls side clinched 3rd place in their group after falling short against a Fijian side fielded with some of their national players. An experience the girls will never forget and to build on for the future, while the U17 Boys side had a tough week, playing some decent football in patches and finishing fourth in their group.
FFSA was also privileged to create a new award in Mikayla's memory. The Mikayla Eastwood award was given to Nadia Metzger (Limestone Coast), for her leadership on and off the field.
While the tournament was a footballing experience, players embraced the Fijian culture with trips to a remote island and attending a cultural Fijian dinner. Players and officials were given the chance to try traditional Fijian food whilst enjoying a colorful performance from a Fijian music group.
U15 Boys Youth - Players Player of the Tournament - Toby Christiansen (Adelaide Hills)
U15 Girls Youth - Players Player of the Tournament - KiraLee Guthrie (Broken Hill)
U17 Boys Senior - Players Player of the Tournament - Jackson Kurtz (Barossa Valley)
U17 Girls Senior - Players Player of the Tournament - Ella Homer (Adelaide Hills)
Football Federation SA would like to thank the following officials who dedicated their time to our squads:
(Top row) Ben Howard (Port Pirie), Matt Mays & Jake Brindley (FFSA), James Kerr (Adelaide Hills), Steve Mutlow (Noarlunga & Districts), Chrissa Pavlomanolakos (West Adelaide).
(Bottom row) Ric Wojciechowski (Modbury Jets), Julie Ocego-Kingsley, Andreas Michaelides (Yorke Peninsula), Eleni Vosnakis (Adelaide University)
A big thank you also to Elastoplast who helped keep our players and officials in the best shape throughout the week.