The Yukon Strikers Selects did it for their captain over the weekend.
The U13 team pulled together to win the Alaska Airlines Cup in honour of the team’s captain, Andrew Roberts, who broke his wrist in the opening match in Anchorage.
“They were saying, ‘Let’s do it for Andrew,’” said Strikes coach Victor Lavanderos. “He’s the captain and he goes down in the first game. Before every game somebody was saying, ‘Let’s do it for Andrew.’”
The Yukon team won gold for their third year in a row at the tournament with a 2-0 win over Anchorage’s Arsenal club in the final. Scoring for the Strikers were left wing Ashton Bryant and striker Joe Hanson.
“I was thinking the guys were going to be tired. We had a couple guys icing injuries for the whole weekend,” said Lavanderos. “But by Saturday night everyone was recovered and nobody was tired or injured for the final.”
The Strikers team, who went undefeated in the tournament, showed themselves to be fast learners. Having recently aged up from U12, the team had to get used to playing on a full size FIFA standard field and with a larger ball.
“It was new for us,” said Lavanderos. “More numbers on the field – we’ve never played that game before. The kids did well … They played very technical and it was fun for them to play that tournament.”
The Strikers Selects opened with a 0-0 tie against Anchorage’s Alaska Rush – the match in which Roberts broke his wrist when he was hit by the ball.
They then drubbed the Wasilla Crossfire Alaska 10-0 with pairs of goals from Bryant, Hanson and Ivan Johnson, plus individual goals from Ben Kishchuk, Andreas Lavanderos, Rhys Faragher, Sawyer Adams.
Hanson then logged a hat trick in a 3-1 win over the Kenai Peninsula SC.
The Yukon crew advanced to the final with a 4-1 win over Cook Inlet’s Velocity club. Bryant and Hanson both scored twice in the semi.
Yukon goalkeeper Callum Weir notched three shutouts in net, helping the Strikers outscore the competition 19-2 in Anchorage.
“He was awesome,” said Lavanderos of Weir. “We have two guys (Ben Kishchuk and Rhys Faragher) who play mid-field and they worked really hard every game … our defence played really well too.”
The Strikers Selects picked up a few players for the tournament. They recruited Abbie Rich from the U13 Strikers girls, Sawyer Adams and Ivan Johnson were called up from the U11 Junior Strikers and Haines Junction’s Joah Thompson was brought aboard.
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