Strikers hit Sweden for world’s biggest youth soccer tourney

While one Yukon soccer team was playing in North America's largest youth soccer tournament in the U.S., another was playing in the world's largest in Europe last week.

While one Yukon soccer team was playing in North America’s largest youth soccer tournament in the U.S., another was playing in the world’s largest in Europe last week.

The U16 Yukon Strikers faced tough European competition at the 41st annual Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Strikers team was one of just seven from Canada at the tournament that each year sees over 1,500 teams from about 80 countries play 4,500 matches on 110 fields.

They were one of 187 teams from 32 countries in the U16 boys division.

With the team getting set to swap their Strikers jerseys for Team Yukon ones with the approach of the Western Canada Summer Games, the Gothia Cup was fantastic preparation, said head coach Edgar Musonda.

“The goal for us wasn’t to win games, it was to take them in preparation for the Western Canada Summer Games,” said Musonda. “Playing tough European teams who are used to playing in stronger, tougher leagues … was a good way for us to compete against teams who will give us a competitive advantage when we play Canadian teams when it comes to the Western Canada Games.”

The Strikers went winless in five tournament matches at the Cup, eventually losing in the 1/64 final. Though they didn’t pick up a win, they showed improvement with every match, said Musonda.

“They actually went beyond my expectations,” said Musonda. “Playing with European teams, they are much bigger, faster, stronger, and their skill level is higher.

“The areas of improvement for us were passing, holding onto the ball, reading the game and getting physically involved … which we lack here because of a lack of competition. There’s no league here in the Yukon, so that helped us a lot in raising our physicality of the game.”

The Strikers opened with a 6-0 loss to Sweden’s Karlslunds IF before a 4-0 loss to Sweden’s Unik FK and a 7-1 loss to Germany’s Heikendorfer SV with a goal from Yukon’s Dawson Weir on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box.

The Strikers then fell 4-2 to Norway’s Alta IF in their closest match of the tournament. Yukon’s Skyler Bryant scored both goals for his team.

“The players were able to move the ball smartly, progressively attacking and they were able to have more shots on goal compared to the other team,” said Musonda. “Defensively, we were very solid … stopping attacks from the other team.”

The Yukon squad wrapped up the tournament with a 12-0 loss to Germany’s Blankeses SV in the 1/64 final. The Strikers began their stay with a loss to a Lebanese team in a friendly exhibition match.

“Skylar played very well – he got two goals for us,” said Musonda. “He’s a really good player and I think that gave him an advantage.

“The player who improved so much through the tournament was Nick (Koe) … Nick just started playing soccer a year ago, so for him to contribute to the team, to be able to play defensively was really good to see.”

The U12 Yukon Strikers Selects competed in back-to-back tournaments at the USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament last week in Blaine, Minnesota, reaching the semifinal of the U12 boys Gold Flight.

Contact Tom Patrick at

Just Posted

UPDATED: City of Whitehorse issues stop work order on proposed downtown condo

Condo development must wait for application to be reviewed

Old Crow woman successfully appeals assault sentence that was based on her unrelated marijuana use

In his decision released Jan. 16, Justice Ron Veale called the original sentence “unfit”

Whitehorse council puts an end to quarry plans

City council unanimously votes to reject OCP amendment to allow for quarry

Team Scoffin to represent Yukon at 2018 Brier

‘It’s a thrill. It’s a dream come true’

Updated: Whitehorse daycare abruptly shuts down, leaving parents scrambling

Owners of Cheeky Monkey daycare said they had to close Jan. 13 because the CRA seized their assets

Ice, ice, baby: scaling a frozen Yukon waterfall

‘There’s a really transformative affect with adventure’

Yukon history is picture post card perfect

The most interesting gift I received at Christmas this year was the… Continue reading

Contentious Whitehorse quarry proposal raises city hackles

‘We’ve had concerns from the get-go on this one’

Whitehorse time machine

Yukon’s capital added 10,000 people over the last three decades, no YESAB application needed

How to make sure your car starts in the cold

It’s about more than just making sure your plug works

Whitehorse fuel delivery company fined $1,100 for Rancheria crash

The Crown stayed two other charges against the company related to the Aug. 7, 2017, crash

Most Read