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Peles To Mark 31st Anniversary With a Winning Season
5/8/2013 2:13:57 PM

Lil' Peles

Staff Reports 

When it comes to the Pele Santos of the Ebony City Soccer Club, the “Z” does not stand for Zorro but for Zuriel Ochoa. “Z,” as he is called by his teammates has been on a scoring binge in which he has scored at least one goal in all but two games. Three weeks ago he scored three goals against a solid Summerville and last Saturday at Pele Family Day he scored two goals to lead the Pele Santos to a 4-0 win over Cainhoy, a team they had lost to 7-6 a week ago. Newcomer Jacquez Bryant scored and Maurice Rivera added another in the win.

The Santos are eying their first winning season, having evened their record to 3-3-1 with one game remaining on the schedule in statewide competition. While Ochoa has provided most of the scoring for the team it has been the overall improvement of the entire team that has brought on the latest success. Jaylen Shaw has emerged as a solid midfielder and has directed the offense while keying a defense that limited the number of shots on the Santo goal.

Coaches Bob Small and Nicole Ashby-Smith are finally seeing a team live up to its potential. “Everybody is playing better and have a sense of where they need to be on the field,” Ashby-Smith said. She said the emergence of Jammerson Bennekin as a scorer has helped keep the defenders from zeroing in on Ochoa.

“We have gotten some great play from our fullback positions,” coach Bob said. Fenix Gallashaw has dominated the center fullback while Brice Grant and KyJuan Brown-Singleton have both closed down the wing, limiting shots on goal and keying offensive momentum.

With the prospect of a winning season the Pele Santos are looking at some possible tournaments, but coach Bob warns that there is more to done before going to a tournament. “We have shown a lot of improvement but we must take advantage of any mistakes the other teams made and capitalize on them,” he said. He was referring to a number of missed scoring opportunities the Santos had in the Cainhoy game “If we had finished on some of those shots the score would have been greater,” he said.

Sarah Gallashaw, the smallest player on the field collected her third shutout of the season. “A lot of people look at her think because she is so small she can’t be a good goalie but once they see her in action that all disappears,” coach Ashby-Smith said.

This season marks the 31st year anniversary for the Peles and a number of former players are coming together to organize a reunion for the club. Zeke Chandler, a former player and son of founder Osei Chandler said a number of former players are planning a reunion picnic on Aug 3 at the West Ashley Park at 2 pm.

“We want all of the club’s former players, parents and supporters to come and have a good time reminiscing about some old times and reacquainting themselves with each other as well as meeting the new players and parents,” Chandler said. For more information about the reunion cook-out call 843-926-6754. 

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