ANNA MARIA – One week after the effects of Hurricane Idalia, the excitement of adult co-ed recreational soccer returned to the Island pitch at The Center.
Starting the season in a close 3-2 game against Gulf Drive Café, team captain Greg Ross brought his Ross Built Custom Homes squad onto the field looking like an American football team. As a local growing up on Anna Maria Island, Ross is no stranger to the fields at the community center, playing youth and adult sports over the years.
Ross’ roster includes his twin sons, Andrew and Jake. The Ross brothers cut their athletic teeth in the youth leagues on the very fields they are now playing on with their father as adults.
A team on the field, the Ross Built team includes several members of Ross’ team in the world of residential construction.
Longtime co-worker and friend Max Gazzo played in the goalkeeper position for Ross last Thursday night. Like the Ross boys and G. Ross himself, Gazzo grew up on the Island and played in the youth leagues at The Center, then the Anna Maria Island Community Center.
Credited with 10 saves in the game against the young Gulf Drive Café squad, Gazzo helped his team to the first win of the season.
Gazzo is joined on the soccer field by co-workers and Islanders John Coleman, Nate Talucci and Andrew Thomas. Ross’ sons also work in the family business.
Winning by a goal, the Ross Built team got three shots past Gulf Drive Café’s Charles “Tuna” McCracken, arguably one of the best goalies in the league. Singles by Daniel Hampton, Nicola Manni and J. Ross earned their team the win. A. Ross had a critical assist allowing for a goal.
McCracken had 11 big stops in the first game of the season, but playing without team captain Kevin Roman and Jana Whitehead could have been the difference in the opening matchup.
The Gulf Drive team includes three lifelong friends, Tyler Brewer, Javier Rivera and McCracken. Learning at Anna Maria Elementary School and playing at the community center together, the three teammates are joined by Helio Gomez, who also played youth sports at The Center.
Gomez scored one of two goals for the Gulf Drive Café team. Juan Vega put the other point on the scoreboard, along with an assist in the statistics.
Flavio Olvera is credited with the assist on Vega’s goal.
Off to a slow start to the season, the Gulf Drive Café squad hopes to win their first game against team Pool America. Pool America is seeking its first win of the season after a volatile loss against Moss Builders 5-1 in the final game of week one action.
The Ross Built team will face Moss Builders at the 9 p.m. game on Thursday night. There can be only one winner, squashing the hopes of the other team’s undefeated season.
Josh Sato’s team won by three goals against team Slim’s Place, led by team captain Yuri Pereira. Sato Real Estate plays Gulfview Windows & Doors in the 8 p.m. game, while Slim’s battles the Sandbar team.
Sandbar Seafood & Spirits lost 3-1 against Gulfview in the third game of the night.
With six games remaining in the regular season, the top seed going into the first round of playoffs is any team’s for the taking.
ADULT CO-ED SOCCER
Ross Built Custom Homes 3
Gulf Drive Café 2
Sato Real Estate 6
Slim’s Place 3
Gulfview Windows & Doors 3
Sandbar Seafood & Spirits 1
Moss Builders 5
Pool America 1