Intense training and preparation for last summer’s Canada Games will carry over into this March’s Arctic Winter Games for Yukon’s junior male soccer team, says head coach Arnold Hedstrom.
The junior male roster was announced last week and eight of the nine players on it competed for Yukon at the Canada Games this past August in Quebec.
“When I started thinking about the goals of this team and put a few thoughts down on paper, the title came to mind: Going for Gold,” said Hedstrom. “I think there’s no reason this set of players with the depth that they have, the amount of time they’ve spent playing soccer together, that they shouldn’t be a really solid team.
“The individual skill levels are really high because we’ve just come off a full year of training for Canada Summer Games. The goal for that team was to solidify our technical skills. That technical base that we’ve been building over the whole year has allowed us to approach the game more tactically.”
Not only did all but forward Allan Mark play at the Canada Games, all but forward Brendyn Gendron have experienced playing indoor soccer at the Arctic Winter Games.
Dominic Korn, Jonathan Runion and Andrew Scoffin played for Yukon’s bronze-winning junior male team at the 2012 Arctics in Whitehorse.
Brendan Irish, Timber Schroff-Stinson, Kieran Stacey, Chris Torgerson and Mark played for the juvenile team at the 2012 Arctics taking fifth ahead of Nunavut.
Five also played at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops.
“They’ve all been playing with the (Yukon) Strikers (rep team), certainly over the last year for sure,” said Hedstrom. “We’re working on how to adapt the game to the small size, indoor field we’ll be playing on in Fairbanks. But we’re doing it with a bunch of players who really know what they’re doing technically.”
Though stricken with injury, Yukon men’s soccer team still managed to defeat the Northwest Territories 2-0 to avoid last place at the Canada Summer Games. Yukon also defeated N.W.T. to avert last at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games.
The 2014 Arctic Winter Games will take place March 15-22 in Fairbanks, Alaska.
“There’s a really good team atmosphere around this group of boys,” said Hedstrom. “They’ve got everything they need to take that ‘going for gold’ goal to heart. They’ve got technical skills, they’ve got leadership, they are all good athletes and in time we will get our fitness levels up to tournament standards, and we’ll come up with some tactical plans to compete in the venue.”
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