They aren’t playing on a regulation field, yet this group thrives in the confined space.
And on their third trip to the national tournament, the Manasota Monster Soccer Club had a breakthrough.
The team won the Challenge 3 v 3 national championship for the 13-and-younger girls competitive division at the ESPN Wide of World Sports Complex in Orlando on July 30-August 1.
“We won all seven games over a three-day period,” coach Bill Einsmann said. “And we finally got over the hump and winning it.”
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The 3-on-3 game is vastly different than what any soccer player experiences on the regular pitch.
For instance, they play on a 40-foot wide and 60-foot long field.
That means sharp passing and crisp strikes are needed to rack up goals and outplay the opponent.
The Manasota Monsters did just that during the national tourney.
They scored 36 goals while allowing just 10 in four pool play games, which gave them the No. 1 seed heading into the single-elimination portion of the tournament.
From there they rolled to the finals against the tourney’s No. 2 seeded Strikers.
The club from Virginia Beach posed a difficult hurdle to leap, since they were unbeaten as well.
And it didn’t help the Manasota Monsters that they were down early in the second half.
Instead of buckling under the pressure and throwing in the towel, the team rallied to earn the title with a 5-3 victory.
The team consisting of Tyler Einsmann, Jade Adams, Jaclyn Knapczyk, Rebeca Byrnes and Jessica Schafer showcased their chemistry en route to the championship.
“There were three games that final day, and each game at halftime was 1-1,” Einsmann said. “And I said to the girls, ‘Alright, we’ve been here before. This is the quarterfinals. Do we want to go home or do we want to move on?’”
They didn’t pack it in and rolled past the quarterfinals and semifinals before defeating the Strikers, which sent the team to the Kick It 3 v 3 World Championships held at the same complex in Orlando in January.
When they aren’t playing in 3-on-3 tournaments together, the players participate in club level soccer.
Tyler Einsmann, Byrnes and Schafer are midfielders for FC Sarasota while Adams (defender) and Knapczyk (forward) play at IMG Academy.
Jason Dill, sports reporter covers community and other sports and can be reached at 745-7017.