The Gulf Coast High boys varsity soccer team poses for a pregame photo with local youth soccer players prior to Friday night's home game with American Heritage. OLIVIA MEANS/SPECIAL TO CSI
Gulf Coast High School hosted a Family Fun Night during Friday’s varsity boys soccer match against American Heritage. The Sharks and visiting Patriots played to a 2-2 draw.
The first 100 youth soccer players (12 and under) who wore their club or recreation soccer jersey received free admission to the game. The kids escorted the varsity players onto the pitch during the opening ceremony, participated in a halftime shootout for prizes, assisted as ball managers and received postgame autographs from players.
The purpose of the event was to raise the school soccer culture and help fill the stands. Karin Herrmann, co-team manager, said, “We want to create a community atmosphere at our soccer games and invite our youngest soccer fans to join in on the fun. We want to engage our local families and turn them into soccer fans, plus raise awareness of the sport and all high school sports and activities in Collier County that are fun and affordable.”
The Sharks (3-2-3) delivered an exciting match for those in attendance. Freshman Phillip Hajjar gave the hosts a 1-0 lead with a first-quarter goal. American Heritage (7-2-1) responded with two goals in the second quarter and took a 2-1 lead into halftime. Diego Martinez, another Gulf Coast freshman, scored in the last quarter to help the Sharks earn a draw.