Apparently the Dawson City Lions don’t need much training.
With just three practices prior to this weekend’s tournament, the Lions managed to win gold in the nine-and-under division at the McDonald’s Cross-Field Championships in Whitehorse.
“I’ve been taking teams down for indoor soccer for 16 years, and this is my first time outdoors,” said Lions head coach Irwin Gaw.
“We played against the moms and dads (to prepare), because we only had seven players, just to teach them the outdoor game. Because they didn’t know the outdoor game.”
Not only were the Lions short on players compared to other teams, most of them were less than nine years old.
“I just e-mailed all of our nine-and-under team, which was about 30 of them, but we only got seven that committed. So there were four that were underage,” said Gaw.
Things may get tougher for Whitehorse teams in the future. Dawson City just received its first decent outdoor soccer field.
“This is the beginning of our outdoor program,” said Gaw, who was instrumental in getting money from the Community Development Fund to build the soccer field.
“The first time we used that field was to practice with these kids. That was pretty special to put in all those years to get the field where it is, and then to be practicing with the kids.”
“In past years there were combination teams; Mayo and Dawson would put together a team,” explained Brian Gillen, president of the Yukon Soccer Association. “But this is the first time they sent their own Dawson team — a particularly young team — and hadn’t really played much outdoor in Dawson. And to come to their first tournament and win it, that’s great!”
Dawson’s first outdoor soccer division will begin in early July.