It was an action-packed weekend of soccer at the F.H. Collins turf field. Several Yukon teams took the field against visiting Northwest Territories squads.
“It went really well,” said Tyler Milton, Whitehorse United head coach. “Our visitors had a great time.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Yukon players have been unable to get much game action against out-of-territory teams.
“I think ourselves and N.W.T. are in a similar situation where we haven’t been able to play anyone outside the territory coming up on two years now,” said Milton. “It was really exciting to have that experience again.”
During the pandemic, the focus had to shift fully on training, but, that is something Milton said Yukon players have always experienced.
“In the Yukon we’re already limited in what we can do for games just because we are so far away from any leagues or tournaments,” said Milton. “We normally have a big focus on training but that’s been emphasized over the past year.
“I think it’s been really good for our players, you know, being able to think about themselves personally and what they need to improve on. That’s been a positive to come from this for sure.”
Milton said that focus on training and practice manifested itself in the games this weekend.
“Looking back on it last summer, the improvements of some of the players has been absolutely immense,” said Milton. “That was really rewarding as a coach to see.
“Some players improved so drastically over the course of the year. It kind of reinforces that we must be doing something right up here.”
Milton said the quality of soccer was high from all teams, considering the lack of game action.
Having the N.W.T. here just upped the competition level.
“There’s kind of an unspoken rivalry,” said Milton. “I know when I was playing the N.W.T. was always one you watched out for when the list came out of who you were playing. But, there is a lot of respect because we’re both so similar.”
It was a beautifully sunny weekend for the soccer matches, that is until the last two games when the rain came out in force.
In the penultimate game of the weekend, the North of 60 played the U17 Yellowknife Galaxy.
The Galaxy got on the board first with a nice cross ball that the striker made no mistake on. North of 60 tied the game at one but the Galaxy scored two-unanswered in the final minutes to win the game 3-1.
The final game was played between the Yukon Canada Summer Games boys team versus the Men’s Selects.
The Selects potted the first goal of the game with a well-struck ball from outside the penalty area to take the lead. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish as they took the final 5-2.
The weekend was held on the F.H. Collins turf field and Milton said it’s huge to have a facility like this in the territory.
“It gives us a chance to host these events,” said Milton. “We can bring teams up here instead of always going down. We can host more events freely. It’s a massive thing for us.”
Contact John Tonin at firstname.lastname@example.org