Teams at the Super Soccer Territorial School Championship are starting to learn that if their opponents are wearing green and white horizontal stripes, they probably have a tough battle on their hands.
The green-and-white clad St. Elias Community School Eagles captured their third medal in two years at the tournament over the weekend in Yellowknife, N.W.T.
“We were playing for possession and we were working as a team,” said Eagles coach Cindi Cowie.
“It was very tough … We got eight games, which was great for the kids. Lots of experience.”
The Eagles, from Haines Junction, went undefeated in eight matches to take gold in the Grade 7 boys division at the indoor tourney that featured school teams from all three Canadian territories.
Three of the wins, including the final, arrived in come-from-behind efforts.
The Eagles beat Yellowknife’s Ecole Boreale 9-3 in the final.
“We were down 1-0 but we rallied and kept going forward,” said Cowie. “We played a really good game of playing for possession.
“The main thing we were looking for was a teamwork commitment from the team. There were a couple good scorers, but I have to say almost everyone on the team scored.”
Not only did the Eagles team have Grade 6s on board, they were the only co-ed team in the division. They also didn’t have a huge squad with just eight – seven from Haines Junction and one from Whitehorse – playing.
“We had some good competition and it was really neat because for the first time half our team was girls and half boys,” said Cowie.
“We had Grade 6s and Grade 7s with us and because we had a co-ed team we had to put our team in the boys league … So our girls were playing against all boys, which was great.”
“One who got a lot of goals, and she’s an exceptional soccer player, was Freya Rowe,” she added. “Psalm Clunies-Ross is in Grade 7 and she did well too.”
Of course, the Eagles also had strong defence, including “rock star” goalkeeper Ethan Thompson, one of a few new players on the team.
“We had a new keeper tryout, Ethan Thompson, and he did really well,” said Cowie. “Callum (Weir) and Kaelen (Lewis) were protecting his net with him and it was just a really well-rounded team.
“Callum and Kaelen play a lot in Whitehorse, so they’ve had a lot of extra coaching. But we had some new players. Willow Oakley … it was her first big tournament and she learned a ton and did very well. Another new player was Jennika Jones and she scored a couple goals – so did Willow – and they made us very proud.
“Jason Symanski, he got quite a few goals, he did a really good job on that one. He was where he needed to be when he got passed the ball.”
Last year Haines Junction Eagles teams won gold in the Grade 8 division and bronze in the Grade 6 division. The St. Elias Community School will send a Grade 9 team to compete in the boys 15-and-under AA division in Yellowknife this coming weekend.
“We’ve been lucky. We’ve had a lot of support over the years from (Yukon Soccer Association head coach) John MacPhail and Jake Hanson and Derric Lewis. We’re lucky that we’ve had some good people around us,” added Cowie.
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