Competition was so stiff at this weekend’s McDonald’s Cross-Field Championships that only 10 of the 58 games were won by more than two goals.
Organized by the Yukon Soccer Association, the championships featured nine, 10 and 11-and-under divisions forming 25 teams made up of 250 players.
“Every year the skill level of the players is higher than in previous years; you always see a better understanding of the game,” said Brian Gillen, president of the Yukon Soccer Association.
“This year there was great goalkeeping displayed by lots and lots of young goalkeepers. And you see some of the kids doing spin-overs, step-overs, tricks that they see on television, and so they’re all really enthusiastic about the game.
“It’s just more evidence that the sport is thriving in the Yukon,” added Gillen.
Only visiting team
finishes at top
Vector Research may have gone undefeated in the regular season, but it was unable to overcome a 1-0 deficit against the Dawson City Lions in the finals of the nine-and-under division.
The Lions came out of the first half up 1-0 after a pair of scoring chances led to the only goal of the game. Just a couple minutes after Ethan Gaw put a shot wide, teammate Callum Wood Ryan followed through on the Lions’ momentum, blasting a shot into the bottom left corner from 13.7 metres out at the 13-minute mark.
The Lions carried its momentum into the second half, producing a bevy of scoring opportunities, forcing Vector’s goalkeeper Jared Morgan to stay on his toes.
However, Vector did have some chances of its own. Joseph Stokes had a chance from a dozen yards out, but was unable to control a cross-field pass through the penalty area.
“Dawson always has a strong team,” said Vector coach Paul Kishchuk. “I always enjoy playing them, (they have) top-notch sportsmanship.”
Lions head coach, Irwin Gaw decided not to name an MVP because: “They all played excellent.”
Yellow Truck Excavating took home the bronze with a 2-1 win over Impact Well Drilling.
BeeMo gets gold
with 2-0 shut out
In another game where an undefeated team got its first taste of defeat, Northern Denture Clinic suffered a 2-0 loss to Bank of Montreal (BMO) in the 10-and-under finals.
BeeMo drew blood early on when Kyran Allen used some fancy footwork to outmaneuver a Northern defenseman.
“I came up with the ball, went around the player and kind of slide-tackled the ball into the net,” said Allen.
“We all did pretty good because everyone scored at least two goals (in the regular season),” added Allen, speaking of his team’s season.
Jude Lemoine, who averaged more than two goals a game in the regular season, scored BeeMo’s final goal with just minutes left in the first half after stringing the ball past a defenseman and Northern’s goalkeeper.
“We played defensive for the second half — we shut them down,” said BeeMo’s head coach Brian Banks. “They played to have fun, to do their best and to never give up.”
“We were sort of middle of the table all season long,” said Northern’s head coach Doug Hnatiuk. “We just kind of pulled it together and made it to the finals here. It was just really good to be in the finals. We were on the short end of a 2-0 score, but we’re still proud of our kids and they worked so hard.”
In another shutout game, Dirkbuilt Construction scored the game’s only goal against Team Austring to get the bronze.
Early goal gives Prime Meridian championship
Despite many frantic scoring attempts by Henry Gulch Explorations late in the second half, Prime Meridian Physiotherapy held on for a 1-0 win in the 11-and-under gold medal game.
Prime’s Brendan Irish scored the game winner halfway through the first half. From the corner of the goal box Irish lobbed a soft shot just over Henry’s goalkeeper.
“It was a really hard game to play against them, they are a really good team,” said Irish. “I just tried to do my best and we won.”
Henry’s kept the pressure on throughout most of the second half, getting a few shots and keeping the ball in Prime’s territory. Prime’s goalkeeper and MVP, Tia Oster, felt the pressure.
“I really worked hard trying to not let my team down,” said Oster. “That kid Benjamin (Grundmanis) has a really hard kick and I wanted to save those. It was stressful,” added Oster, speaking of Henry’s MVP.
“They were hurrying the other team to pass the ball, which resulted in us having some chances,” said Henry’s head coach Peter Grundmanis. “They wanted to win, were doing the right things, but the ball wasn’t going into the net.”
Dream Home overcame a 2-1 deficit to beat Surgical Incisions 3-2 in the bronze medal game.