Two players jockey for the ball during a game at the 2019 Canada Day Tourney on June 30 at Selkirk Elementary School in Riverdale. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Canada Day Tourney pits Yukon soccer players against each other and the elements

“We played in extreme heat, extreme smoke conditions”

The Yukon’s competitive soccer players gathered for a two-day tournament in Whitehorse over the Canada Day weekend, with round-robin games on June 30 and medal games on July 1.

Approximately 40 players split into four teams for the 2019 Canada Day Tourney, a men’s seven-on-seven tournament held at Selkirk Elementary School in Riverdale.

On the pitch, Liverpool Reserves beat Bayer Neverlosin’ — the name is a take on the famous German Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen — in the final by a score of 8-4.

Marten Sealy, a tournament organizer and Whitehorse Senior Metro League representative, said the goal was to put together a summer showcase weekend akin to the Christmas Insomnia Tournament held annually by the WSML.

Liverpool Reserves won this year’s Insomnia tournament also.

“Well the idea was just to have a positive celebration of the sport because we’ve got a good group of competitive players in the Yukon,” said Sealy, explaining that a league is difficult to organize since so many active Yukoners are busy with other things during the summer months.

“(The idea was) to pick a weekend to do a big celebration and bring everything together — and make it a spectator event so the younger ages have some inspiration too,” said Sealy. “They get the opportunity to watch our most competitive players in the territory face off in a tournament. It was a big success.”

Although the weekend worked logistically, it was far from ideal conditions for competitive soccer.

“A thing that stood out this weekend was just how willing people were to cope with the environment,” said Sealy. “We played in extreme heat, extreme smoke conditions.”

The tournament even had to deal with lightning strikes – an uncommon occurrence in Whitehorse.

“Those three things made for a pretty eventful weekend,” said Sealy. “It was exhausting to play in those conditions, but the final was the most exciting game of all.”

Conditions meant some fixtures were scrapped, Sealy said, but teams adjusted on the fly and played the final games as scheduled on July 1.

“Some games were cancelled,” said Sealy. “But we were on our toes and ready to reorganize and go ahead with the finals on Monday.”

There are plans in the works for another tournament to be held sometime in the fall, but Sealy said it would likely be somewhat last minute as organizers try to find the optimal time.

“We’re trying to balance it early enough that university players are still around but it also works with other (people’s) schedules,” he said.

Any soccer players in the territory looking for opportunities to play competitively are invited to contact Sealy directly at msealy7@gmail.com.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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A player retains possession and shields the ball during a game at the 2019 Canada Day Tourney on June 30 at Selkirk Elementary School in Riverdale. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

A player takes a corner kick during a game at the 2019 Canada Day Tourney on June 30. The four-team tournament was an opportunity for the Yukon’s competitive soccer players to play against each other in a tournament setting. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

A player passes out of pressure during a game at the 2019 Canada Day Tourney on June 30 at Selkirk Elementary School in Riverdale. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

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