24 Teams Vie in Debbie Held Tourney at Will Rogers State Historic Park

The 15th Annual Debbie Held Tournament was held for the Region 69 U8 boys teams at Will Rogers State Historic Park on December 2.

Twenty-four teams qualified for the round-robin tournament, which emphasizes good sportsmanship and “everyone plays,” and rewarded those teams whose parents were active volunteers.

Two teams were given sportsmanship awards, based on courtesy and the sportsmanship of the players, coaches and parents towards their opponents and officials.

Orange Juice, coached by Zach Axelrod, with players Henry Axelrod, Max Ehrman, Arsha Farkhondeh, Alex Ghiassi, Jasper Kennedy, Nate Rothman and Grey Smith, received one award.

The second sportsmanship award went to the Blue Falcons, coached by Dean Christopher, with players Cole Christopher, Liam Colon, Landon and Leighton Fawaz, Leo Gilison, Jack Gilligan, Silas Grainer and Max Szymanski.

During the regular tournament, each team played the other three teams in their pool in a round-robin format. Pool winners included:

Pool 1, Midnight Lightning, coached by Brian Weinstein; Pool 2, The Magic, coached by Ryan Del Giorgio; Pool 3, Red Hawks, coached by Gareth Davies; Pool 4, Lightning Bolts, coached by Frank Langen; Pool 5, Gold Dragons, coached by Christopher Epsha; and Pool 6, Green Dragons, coached by Mani Zadeh.

Debbie Held, who served many years as the Region 69 Commissioner and who continues to volunteer in Region 69, said that special thanks went to tournament director Sandy Haller and to referee coordinator Marc Gordonson.

The tournament was started in 2003 by the Region 69 referees as a tribute to Held’s dedication to the AYSO program. Her husband Dick is also a longtime AYSO coach, referee and president of the Palisades High Booster Club.

2003 Debbie Held Tournament

There were only 12 boys teams and eight girls teams in the first Debbie Held tournament, which was held the same day on De- cember 13, 2003. The boys were split into the W and X pool, and girls into the Y and Z pool.

The winner of the W pool was the Red Rocket team, which was coached by Robert Michaels. Boys on that team were Tucker Steil, Nicky Rivera, John Collier, Branon Michaels, Erik Pfahler, Evan Phillips, Nick Ravich, Kenneth Schrupp, Charles Smoker, Kayvon Spire and Alec Wilimovsky.

Andrew Clark’s Green Goblins won the X pool, which included players Matthew Brussell, Evan Clark, Kieran Kerwin, Griffin Koffman, Thomas Molnar, Bennett Schaeffer, Sebastien Siegles-Bitetti and Andrew Workman.

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