Yukon’s Junior Selects boys soccer team had a little extra to give thanks for over Thanksgiving weekend.
The Selects went 3-1 in a four-match round robin, to capture silver in U12 boys at the second annual Mini Gobbler Soccer Fest hosted by the Wesburn Youth Soccer Club in Burnaby, B.C.
It was a good end to the outdoor season, said Selects coach Jake Hanson.
“The boys played really well,” he said. “We were able to improve in some areas we really wanted to this weekend. The boys obviously enjoy winning games, so it was great.
“It was a nicely run event and the tournament organizers were happy to have a team from the North down at their event.”
The Yukon team opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over the North Vancouver Torrent. Yukon striker/midfielder Joe Hanson scored all three goals for the hat trick.
The Selects then took their only loss, falling 7-0 to the Chilliwack Attack, who went on to take the gold.
The loss was a learning experience for the team, said Jake. It taught the Selects about playing as a more cohesive unit, he said.
“I think a real turning point was in the game that we lost,” said Jake. “We were playing a team that was bigger and stronger than us, and a little bit older, and it forced the boys to play smarter and to play as a unit. They weren’t able to get away with individual brilliance so much. They had to start thinking the game and outsmart their opponents.
“We found in that game we lost, we probably grew the most.
“My son (Joe) was saying that was the most fun game he played in the four games. I thought that was kind of neat.”
The Selects went on to defeat the hosting Wesburn Gallaxy 4-2 with centre-mid Ben Kischuk logging a hat trick and Joe Hanson adding a fourth.
Yukon clinched the second-place spot with a 4-1 win over the West Vancouver Strikers. Kischuk again led the attack with a pair of goals while teammates Andrew Roberts and Joe also found the back of the net.
Keeping the Yukon net plugged were goalkeepers Callum Weir and Ole Heath, who are both from Haines Junction.
“I would definitely commend our goalkeepers,” said Jake. “We have two really strong goalkeepers.”
It has been a prosperous season the Junior Selects. The team captured bronze in U11 at the Whitecaps FC Cup in Vancouver in April.
They then won the U11 division of the Alaska Airlines Cup in Anchorage in June.
“We were just really happy with how the boys came together as a team,” said Jake. “We’ve been really focused on individual player development over the past few years. Now they’re getting to the age where the team play is something we start to emphasize and build towards. So we were quite happy with how the boys came together.”
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