Shooting for the Stars


     IMG_4150As Oswaldo Ortiz looks back on his experience as a coach in the 1999 AASCA soccer tournament, he says that the key to winning was, ‘’determination, courage, and confidence’’. This was not an easy task. After placing in last position the previous year, the girls of the American Nicaraguan School had a clear goal in mind: winning the next tournament. When these players told him this goal of theirs, he thought they were joking because of their recent performance. His immediate response was “if you want to be champions, you need to train daily, without a schedule with extra effort; every single day, including weekends’’. The girls took his advice and went to practice every day while giving their 100%, no matter the weather, day of the week, or time.

     Although the tournament in 1999 was hosted in Nicaragua, they were not favorites. As expected, the public predicted them to place in the same position, last. As the games started, the girls were accumulating striking victories. They started by winning against Guatemala and keeping their streak alive until the semi-finals. Mr. Ortiz can firmly say that the defense and the goalkeeper of the ANS team were the best of the whole tournament, since they had four wins and did not permit any goals. Their amazing run ended when they lost 1-0 to the girls of Escuela Americana de El Salvador. Nonetheless, they immediately classified to the finals and had the silver plate for sure; but they wanted more. In the finale, they played against Lincoln of Costa Rica, and in the first twenty minutes they were down by 2-0. ANS girls were able to reach half time with a smaller deficit of 2-1. As soon as the second half began, the girls tied the game; and in the last minutes, a girl who had not played a single game in the whole tournament scored the victory goal.

     Winning this tournament came to represent major glory for the American Nicaraguan School. The girls who made their goal to shoot for the stars, reached and landed among them by also winning best goalkeeper and top scorer. The 1999 AASCA soccer tournament made the players the stars of all of Central America.


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