Matanzas campers cool off; Seabreeze hires new swim coach.
Matanzas rising junior Diego Bernardi was in the airport, returning home from the ECNL soccer nationals in San Diego, when he received a surprising text.
The Puerto Rican soccer federation had selected him to compete for a spot on the Puerto Rico U-17 team. Bernardi will join the team at the IMG campus in Bradenton this week for training. The Puerto Rican team will compete in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 in hopes of qualifying for the 2023 U17 World Cup in Peru.
"We're just training as a team. The squad is pretty big, but I'm pretty confident."
— DIEGO BERNARDI
"We're just training as a team. The squad is pretty big, but I'm pretty confident," Bernardi said.
Bernardi, who played for Florida Elite at the ECNL tournament, was born in Puerto Rico and lived there until he was 8, when his family moved to Florida.
"I had been invited to play with them two years ago, but because of COVID, I couldn't go," he said. "It was sort of surprising. I had kept in contact, but I was just not expecting to hear from them so soon after nationals."
Bernardi expects to play forward for the Puerto Rican team. He played left wing for Florida Elite at the nationals. He had played center back as a freshman for the Pirates and moved up field to center mid as a sophomore last season.
"He tried a different position in club, and he said he felt comfortable," said Matanzas boys soccer coach Beto Aguilar. "From Day 1, even as a freshman, he was an anchor in the backfield for us, and last year he was a staple as a defensive midfielder."
Matanzas High School's four-day Kids Football Camp ended July 21 with pizza and Kona Ice.
"We were teaching the fundamentals and the basic skills for every position," said Matanzas football coach Matt Forrest. "We also spent about 15 minutes a day on life skills — respect, keeping your grades up, how to communicate well. We talked about the pillars of our program."
Forrest said about 32 kids from kindergarten through sixth grade participated, and 10 to 15 Matanzas football players helped coach each day. On the final day of the camp, football players Cole Hash, Dakwon Evans and Stephen Maxwell held a question and answer session with the campers.
The Matanzas football team will hold a golf fundraiser on Aug. 20 at Palm Harbor Golf Cub. The cost, which includes, golf, range balls and food, is $100 per person or $375 for a foursome.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. the day of the event with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. There will be prizes, a raffle and games on the course. All of the proceeds benefit the Pirates' football program. For more information, call Neel Raiji at 386-871-5018, email [email protected] or visit https://piratepridefootball.com.
New Seabreeze coach
Samantha White-Fabulich, one of the greatest swimmers in Seabreeze High School history, is the Sandcrabs' new boys and girls swim coach.
She won a state championship in the 100 breaststroke and finished second in the 200 individual medley as a senior in 1995. She went on to swim at Florida State, where she won two Atlantic Coast Conference titles and was an All-American honorable mention two years in a row.
PCCL team falls at state
The Palm Coast Little League Junior All-Star baseball team (ages 13-14) was eliminated in the state tournament by Viera Suntree, 10-9. Palm Coast led 9-3 entering the bottom of the sixth. But Suntree scored five runs in the sixth and then scored two more in the seventh for the win.