Champions! San Pedro Pirates FC win 2019 PLB Closing Season Championship

Monday, May 20th, 2019

It only took two years and four seasons for amateur football club San Pedro Pirates to make history, becoming the Premier League of Belize’s (PLB) 2019 Closing Season Champions!

On Saturday, May 18th the island team defeated the Belmopan Bandits during the second round of the championship finals at the Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro Town. Two goals landed by Facundo Garnier and Mailson Moura within 10 minutes in the late second-half of the game gave the Pirates a 2-0 advantage, and ultimately, the 2-1 aggregate championship score.

The match began promptly at 7:30, in a win or go home scenario. The stadium was packed, with the majority of fans cheering for the San Pedro Pirates F.C. The entire first half of the game went scoreless, thanks to strong guarding by both goalkeepers.

Heading to the break with a 0-0 score, the San Pedro Pirates F.C were feeling the pressure, as they had to score at least one goal to remain in the championship hunt. The Belmopan Bandits had the advantage, having won the first game 1-0.

Belmopan Bandits

Belmopan Bandits

After the break, both teams came back aggressive, ready to hoist the championship trophy. Strong defense held off scoring, and as pressure grew, the Pirates finally found a chance to score.

Facundo Garnier

Facundo Garnier

At minute 66, Pirates’ Facundo Garnier took advantage of an opportunity by the net, landing a beautiful goal for the island team. The stadium erupted in loud cheers as fans began clamoring for more.

At minute 76, the San Pedro Pirates delivered when Mailson Moura gave the island team a 2-0 lead.

Mailson Moura

Mailson Moura

The Belmopan Bandits valiantly fought to score as well, but the Pirates’ goalkeeper Selvin Sagastume managed to block them all.

The final whistle was blown, and could hardly be heard over the deafening roar of an ecstatic crowd. The celebratory mood was contagious as the San Pedro Pirates F.C officially claimed a long-awaited victory and the PLB 2019 Closing Season Championship!

After the game was officially over, an award ceremony was held at the stadium to distribute trophies and awards. The ‘Golden Glove Award’ went to Rodrigo Vasquez from Verdes F.C, the ‘Best Defender Award’ went to Dalton Eiley from Belmopan Bandits and San Pedro Pirates F.C Jesse Smith took the ‘Best Mid-Fielder Award.’ The ‘Best Young Player Award’ went to Wagiya Sporting Club F.C Warren Moss. The ‘Best Goal Scorer Award’ went to the four most outstanding scorers of the season which are Andres Orozco (Assassins Altitude F.C) Highking Roberts (Wagiya Sporting Club), Elroy Smith (Verdes F.C) and Camilo Sanchez (Belmopan Bandits). The ‘Fair Play Award’ went to Belize Defense Force.

The ‘Best Coach Award’ went to Jorge Nunez from San Pedro Pirates F.C, and the ‘Best Manager Award’ went to San Pedro Pirates F.C manager Tony Maldonado. The National Channel 10 received an award for ‘Best Broadcasting.’ The Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award for the regular of PLB 2019 Closing Season went to George Welcome from Belmopan Bandits, and the ‘Playoffs MVP Award’ went to San Pedro Pirates F.C Facundo Garnier. As sub-champions, the Belmopan Bandits were awarded $5,000 cash, a trophy, and medals. The champions, the San Pedro Pirates F.C. walked away with a trophy, medals, and $10,000 cash prize.

After the official events, hundreds of fans rushed on field to join the Pirates in celebration. Some island leaders even committed to donating towards the team. Area Representative for Belize Rural South and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon Manuel Heredia Jr stated that he would be donating $3,000 and the cost for the teams’ registration fee for the next PLB season. Mayor Daniel Guerrero stated that on behalf of The San Pedro Town Council, he would be donating $2,000.

Owner and founder of San Pedro Pirates FC, Emeliano Rivero, was beyond overjoyed. “I’m so happy and proud of our team for becoming the champions. The hard work paid off! I would like to thank all our players, coaches, fans, sponsors and everyone who helped us in making this dream a reality,” he said.

The San Pedro Pirates F.C joined the Premier League of Belize in 2017. Out of the four PLB seasons, they have managed to make it to the semifinals three times. This was the first season in which they made it to the championship playoffs. Since the beginning of this season, the San Pedro Pirates F.C have been doing extremely well, finishing the regular series of the PLB 2019 Closing Season in first place. The San Pedro Sun joins the community in congratulating the San Pedro Pirates F.C for becoming the PLB 2019 Closing Season Champions - we are so very proud of you!

Island residents are reminded that a victory parade will be held for the San Pedro Pirates F.C on Tuesday, May 21st, starting at Central Park in downtown San Pedro at 5:30PM. Don’t miss it!

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