Aanyk Mann scored a key goal to lead his Crossfire team over Seattle United Tango 4-1, to capture the Snohomish United Bigfoot Tournament on August 18th. The 10-year-old Woodinville resident scored four goals over the course of the tourney, helping propel his team to a perfect 4-0 record.
The title game for all the marbles started off tight. But after playing United Tango to a 1-1 standoff in the first half, Crossfire brought out the big guns in the second half to cruise to easy victory.
"The competition wasn’t very hard," Mann said without a trace of bravado. "We beat them by a lot. We needed to win our first two games to get to the semi-finals and then win that to get to the finals. And then we won the championship."
The Big Foot Tournament is one of Washington state’s most popular soccer competitions. "I think it’s the biggest tournament," Crossfire coach Barry O’Melia said. "It’s drawn people for a long time. A really popular summer tournament."
Playing five soccer games over three days proved quite demanding, especially for youngsters. They had to dig deep as mental and physical fatigue set in. But that was one of the things that impressed O’Melia.
"These kids are 10 years old," O’Melia said. "It was quite a struggle but they really pulled together. And just seeing the kids come together as a team and have fun and celebrate each other’s successes. I thought that was pretty cool. Having fun, yukking it up. In these tournaments, sometimes you’ll play a morning game and then an early afternoon game, and there’s a lot of time between that. Sometimes kids will go off on their own. But our kids wanted to hang together and go have some shaved ice or play catch. So that was nice to see."
For Mann, whose favorite player is Brazil’s Ronaldo, his love for soccer is multifold.
"I just like the passing, playing and when I score goals," he said. "Or if I make space, create room, set up goals. I like the whole game. My dad has been playing and he’s been the coach of my rec team and the assistant coach of my current team, and he’s inspired me too."