Gulfport, MS- As he sat on the sideline with his mouth and nose pouring blood, Billy Lewis had one objective, to get back in the game.
It was all worth it, as Wetumpka United won the Gulf Coast Cup and Showcase held in Gulfport Mississippi this weekend. Over the two day event, United played three games. It was the first tournament the Club has played outside of the state of Alabama.
"Teams were fouling us pretty hard all weekend. We were playing Gulf Coast United and a player pushed me in the back with the ball. As I was falling down another player kicked the ball in my face. The referees were not calling any fouls throughout the tournament and we could hear the coaches for the other teams telling their players to keep fouling us," Lewis said. "We focused on playing our game and we were happy that it worked out for us in the end."
United won their first game 6-4 on Saturday against the Biloxi Breakers with a hat trick by Joseph Macon, 2 goals by Lewis, and a penalty kick by Hunt Cushen. They faced tremendous adversity in the second game against the host team, Gulf Coast United which ended in a narrow 1-2 loss with Joseph Macon scoring the lone goal for United.
On Sunday, United thought they would be playing for second place against the FC New Orleans Bulls, but were determined after Saturday's loss for a statement victory. Cadence crews opened the scoring with a Goal off of a corner kick. Lewis and Cushen both added two goals in the first half to give United 5-0 lead. Crews added two more goals in the second half to end the game 7-3.
United showed flashes of brilliance on the defensive end powered by Evelyn Malpica, Colyn Cole, and keeper, Jacob Macon. Jacob Macon continued his strong season with an over 70% stoppage rate.
Immediately after the conclusion of Sunday's game United learned that the win clinched the championship based on points allowed to each team for the game results. Lewis and Jospeh Macon lead United in the tournament with 4 goals a piece. Crews added a hat trick in the final game.
"This was a difficult weekend for our Club and our players. They played hard and took the high road when faced with the most adversity we have had as a club," Said Coach Lewis. "For this to be the first tournament win for our young club is gratifying, and I am so proud and happy for our kids. There is no better feeling than seeing the looks on their faces when they learned we won the tournament. We will enjoy this, but it's time to get back to work and focus on league play. It is definitely good to be headed back to Alabama, and awesome to let other states know what Wetumpka and Elmore County has to offer."