Martin Gramatica leads 13U Girls West Florida Flames to nationals – ABC Action News Tampa Bay

EAST LAKE, Fla. — Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Martin Gramatica just knows how to win—he has a 2003 Super Bowl victory with the Bucs on his resume and, as a coach, a half-dozen national tournament appearances with boys’ youth soccer teams.
Now, for the first time, he’s taking a girls’ youth soccer team to nationals.
“My message to them is they haven’t accomplished anything,” Gramatica said. “You have to go out there and win.”
He’s the head coach of the West Florida Flames (East Lake) 13U girls club team. In just a few weeks, they’ll be competing in Los Angeles against top development teams from across the nation.
“We had an idea that we were going to be pretty good, but we didn’t expect to be this good,” Aria Planamenta, 13, said. “We all give our 110% each time we practice and during the game. We never quit. We really worked for this.”
And they worked to get better as the season went on.
“In the beginning, we were really shaky,” Emme Gramatica, 12, said. “But once we got better, we progressed, and now that we’re going to nationals, it’s just a crazy experience.”
Chemistry on and off the field is the key to soccer success for Coach Gramatica. His coaching style was molded by his former coach with the Bucs, Tony Dungy.
“What I love about this team is they are super tight,” Gramatica said. “I learned that from Coach Dungy. The X’s and O’s mean nothing if you don’t have team chemistry and accountability.”
“Whenever we make a mistake, we just lift each other up,” Emme added. “We lift each other up positively, not negatively. We are there for each other. We always communicate with each other.”
Gramatica has a feeling this team has what it takes to win it all.
“We tell the girls, if we play our game, we can beat anybody,” he said.
The West Florida Flames open group play in L.A. on June 26.
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