This is Jeffrey Hado, or Yaotse (pronounced ya-che) as my teammates like to call me. I am the current captain of SBU’s U18 team, the Sonics. I am the longest serving member on the team and as captain, I’m essentially the de facto spokesman for the team. I was given the armband solely on the recommendation of my teammates and I feel it is the greatest honor you can have as an athlete: to gain the trust and admiration of your teammates so much so that they recommend you to be their leader.

This weekend, the Sonics will start their season with the Columbus Cup, an annual tournament hosted by the Brooklyn Italians. The Columbus Cup offers us a chance to play against some of the top teams in the area. Though we are U18, we will be playing in the U19 division as the tournament offers no U18 division.  We played in this very tournament last year in the U17 division where we won our first game against Sound Beach Pride before succumbing to losses against Toronto Lynx (eventual champions) and Valley Stream Forest, who we will see again this year in our final group game. We played very well at last year’s edition though results didn’t go our away. The squad has been strengthened since then and we continue to go from strength to strength. Along with Valley Stream Forest, we will be clashing with CIFA Galacticos of New Jersey and Albertson Soccer from Long Island in the group stages. We played CIFA a few times during a span of six months when we were both U16 but the Sonics is a totally different team now than it was then. It will be good to play them again in a competitive game while this will be our first game against Albertson so we anxious for that game as well as we have heard some positive things about them.

The U19 division is also billed as a college showcase and offers all of my teammates a chance to get looked at by some of the best colleges in the area. Most of us are still not sure where we will attend college so a chance to get scouted can open up new opportunities. The Cup also offers us a chance to come together for a competitive game for the first time in a few months. Most of the team has been busy with their respective high school teams and as such it’s been difficult getting everyone together for practices or even friendly games. We honestly feel we have the collective talent to have a good tournament and the mood is one of anticipation. We will have a few more such tournaments so it is imperative to do well at this one so confidence grows within the team as we look forward to the start of our league in a few weeks.

I will be giving updates and thoughts on the season, and everything SBU related throughout the year so hope you come check in to see how the Sonics and SBU are doing.