Yukon’s female soccer team heading to the Canada Summer Games next month has been a decade in the making.
Most of the players on the team that will represent the territory at the Games in Sherbrooke, Que., have been playing together since the under-eight level.
“I’ve had them since they were eight years old,” said head coach Charly Kelly. “Dave White and I started the team and then Dave retired and I took over. For westerns (2011 Western Canada Summer Games) I couldn’t go because I was working, so I went to the assistant and asked John (MacPhail) to take over as head coach. He did for the year and now it’s back to me.”
Not only does the squad, which doubles as the Yukon Strikers U18 rep soccer team, have lots of experience playing together, they have plenty of experience playing in major Games.
Nine played on Team Yukon’s gold-winning junior female team at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse. Included in that bunch is the division’s top-scorer Camille Galloway, who scored 14 goals in five matches. Also included are Megan Lanigan and Brittany Milner, who tied for third in scoring with five goals, and Jaylene Kelly and Morgan Paul, who both tied for sixth in scoring with three goals apiece.
The team also includes three players from Yukon’s silver-winning juvenile female squad from the 2012 Arctic Games, including Hannah Milner who was third in scoring in the tournament’s division with nine goals and Samantha Wintemute who tied for fourth in scoring with eight goals.
“We’re looking really good,” said Lanigan. “We’ve been together for like 10 years now and we’re definitely peaking right now. Everyone is on their best game right and I think it’s going to be a good tournament.”
Almost filling the ranks of the team are 16 players who played for Yukon at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, B.C. That team took fifth with a win over N.W.T. in the final match of the tournament.
“We’ve come really far,” adds Jaylene. “Since we’ve been with the team, we know where everyone is playing, where everyone is going, so we can pretty much pass blind.”
In preparation for the Games, the team will compete at the U.S.A. Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament in Minnesota, America’s largest annual youth soccer tournament, in a couple weeks.
The team reached the semifinal of the U.S.A. Cup in the U16 division in 2011.
“We’ve been focusing tons on fitness, so hopefully fitness won’t be a problem,” said Charly, who coached the gold-winning junior team at the 2012 Arctic Games.
Assistant coach River Walton coached Yukon’s silver-winning intermediate female soccer team at the 2012 Arctic Games.
Wins won’t come easy at the Canada Games. Yukon is the only territory entering a female soccer team with the N.W.T. recently scratching theirs.
“Right now we’re doing really well at bringing the ball up – our defending lineup is super, super strong,” said Lanigan. “Everyone is working so well together, complementing each other on the field.
“We just have to do our transitions a bit quicker, but other than that we’re still doing really well.”
Stephanie Avery (midfield)
Samantha Burgis (goal)
Jenelle Cousins (striker)
Emily Dorosz (midfield/striker)
Camile Galloway (midfield)
Anna Janowicz (defence)
Jaylene Kelly (midfield)
Megan Lanigan (midfield)
Lauren Leslie (defence)
Carolyn Miller (defence)
Brittany Milner (midfield)
Hannah Milner (midfield/striker)
Moya Painter (defence)
Morgan Paul (defence)
Cheyenne Ryan (striker)
Chloe Turner-Davis (defence)
Emily Wilson (defence)
Samantha Wintemute (midfield)
Charly Kelly (head coach)
River Walton (assistant coach)
Leslie Gomm (manager)
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