The Yukon Strikers Selects put an end to a four-year drought on Monday.
The under-14 boys team produced Yukon’s first win since 2011 at Soccer Canada’s National Club Championships in St. John’s, N.L.
“The boys played well. We had a good week,” said co-head coach Jake Hanson. “Overall, it’s the closest score-lines we’ve seen at the nationals.
“We brought a young team here. We knew we had good players … Near the end there we started scoring some goals, so it was a positive finish for the boys and they’re looking forward to coming back next year.”
The Selects capped the championship with a 2-1 win over Newfoundland and Labrador to place 10th out of 12 teams.
Yukon forward Benjamin Shier scored from 25 yards out, a couple minutes before half to take a 1-0 lead. Teammate Joseph Hanson then made it 2-0 in the second on a corner kick from Ben Kishchuk.
The Strikers Selects also notched a 1-1 tie against P.E.I.‘s Eastern Eagles on Sunday. Yukon drew first blood when Joseph Hanson ran the ball down the line, passed to Andreas Lavanderos, who passed to Ashton Bryant, who put it off the post and in.
“That was probably our nicest well-worked goal as a team,” said Jake.
The Selects opened with a 4-0 loss to Alberta’s Sherwood Park Phoenix, a 1-0 loss to Newfoundland and a 2-1 loss to New Brunswick’s Fundy Soccer with a goal from Yukon left fullback Joseph Coyne.
“It was probably one of the best Yukon performances that we’ve had a nationals, from what I’ve heard,” said Selects goalkeeper Seth Carey.
“We’ve played with each other for a long time. It’s the same group of kids, so we have a good chemistry and we all know each other’s positions and how we play.”
The Yukon Strikers Selects have won their division at the Alaska Airlines Cup in Anchorage the last three years.
“This is a hybrid of the team we started – the Junior Selects team – about four, five years ago when they were U-7,” added Jake.
Two Yukon Strikers girls teams also competed at the club nationals. A U-14 Strikers also competed in St. John’s and a U-16 Strikers competed in Surrey, B.C.
The U-14 Strikers didn’t pick up a win and placed 12th out of 12 teams, but they didn’t leave empty-handed. Following the championship the Strikers were given the Fair Play Award.
“It was quite an accomplishment because it shows our team really proved themselves on and off the field,” said head coach Trudy Pike. “Great sportsmanship, meeting friends, being respectful on and off the field and really exhibiting a lot of fair play.”
“We had an absolutely great time,” she added. “All the girls really persevered through every game. On and off the field they had amazing attitudes.”
The Strikers suffered five shutout losses. They lost 11-0 to Quebec’s AS Brossard, 7-0 to Manitoba’s Northwest FC, 4-0 to Regina FC, 6-0 to P.E.I., and 16-0 to B.C.‘s Fusion FC on Monday.
“It was really great for 18 girls to travel across Canada and have this opportunity and to meet friends and see the calibre of soccer across Canada,” said Pike. “It was great for them to come off the field and feel more determined. Each one of them were excited about developing more, improving on their techniques. So it’s good to know, after a tournament of this calibre, they’re motivated to become better.”
“Just also wanted to mention the outstanding job in goal by Mary Londero,” added Pike. “She is worthy of mentioning and was such a valuable asset to our team with her skill as a goalkeeper.”
The U-16 Strikers secured a tie in Surrey, but also came 12th in the final standings.
“We went into nationals with a very short bench of only 13 players. With some injuries we were left with essentially one substitute,” said head coach Ashley Beggs. “In a week-long tournament with five games this would prove to be a tournament about perseverance and relentlessness. The team and coaching staff feel accomplished about our performance at nationals. For a small club like ours, success isn’t necessarily measured by winning. Success for us is about process and experience.”
The Strikers tied P.E.I. 1-1 on Saturday. Down 1-0 with 15 minutes left the Strikers turned up the heat, moving players up field while leaving only three on defence. Following a scramble in front of the P.E.I. net, Yukon defender Bryn Peterson scored the tying goal.
The U-16 Strikers fell 8-0 to Calgary’s SWU Napoli and 4-0 to Newfoundland and Labrador to open the championship.
Following the tie to P.E.I., the Strikers lost 4-0 to New Brunswick’s FDSA on Sunday and 10-0 to B.C.‘s Mountain United FC on Monday.
“In a high-class tournament, like the club championships, we play against some of the best players in the country,” said Beggs. “We go in realizing we are going to be playing a defensive game. That said, our back (defense) line of Samantha Ng, Jewel Davies, Bryn Peterson and Lara Herry-Saint Onge stepped up their game and all came out having played a fantastic tournament. In most games they were constantly involved in play and under a lot of pressure but they rose to the challenge and became the leaders of the squad.
“Also, of note, we had a couple players from Dawson City Sarah Nyland and Teresa Procee who proved to be invaluable to us throughout the week.”
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