BY JIM MISUNAS
KEARNEY, Neb. — The “Little Panthers” played the role of Big Panthers at the Kearney Soccer Club Tournament.
The Great Bend Little Panthers outscored four teams 21-1 to capture first place this past weekend at the Kearney 14-and-under Tournament.
Great Bend defeated ISA FC 7-0, Norfolk Nitro 3-1, Columbus Thunder 8-0 and Legacy FC 3-0. Jonathan Pasos, Diego Muller and Eric Mendoza each scored five goals to spark the 21-goal outburst.
Goalie Hiparco “Paco” Hernandez anchored the defense.
Head coach Armando Leyva said the team congratulated their teammates by splashing some water, then continued their celebration at a Mexican restaurant. A barbecue get-together is planned this weekend.
“Our goal was to take a winning mentality one game at a time,” Leyva said. “The boys did a good job taking that attitude to the field.”
The Little Panthers have captured nine tournament titles the past few years. Leyva was not surprised by how well the team performed. Leyva is assisted by Carlos Soto.
“We’ve coached these boys for five years and we know what they are capable of doing,” he said. “I was not surprised they played so well. We’ve seen them play that way before.”
Team members include Luis Brown, Carlos Soto Jr. Victor Adame, Elwin Fiso, Jonathan Ruiz, Fernando Herrera, Roberto Gutierrez, Eric Mendoza, Angel Razo, Diego Muller, Jonathan Pasos, Hiparco Hernandez, Bryan Cervantez, Mario Arias, Axel Leyva and Salvador Garcia.
The Little Panthers will compete at tournaments at Salina and Kansas City later this summer.