A pair of 1-0 losses meant the end of the road for Yukon’s boys and girls U-16 soccer teams at the USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament last week in Blaine, Minnesota.
The girls team was ousted in the semifinal of the B playoff in the silver flight with a loss to Minnesota’s Mahtomedi FC Zephyr on Saturday while the boys were knocked out in the first round of the A playoff of the gold flight to the Minnesota’s WBL Bears the night before.
“This was to see who travelled well, who missed their mom, how they did living in a dorm, cafeteria food, and all that kind of stuff,” said Yukon girls head coach John MacPhail. “Now we know what we have to work on for the Westerns Canada Summer Games.
“After five games you get to know who can do what and who can play where.”
The Yukon girls reached the semifinal with a 5-1 win over Minnesota’s PSA Spartans in the quarterfinals on Friday, with goals from Camille Greenway, Brittney Milner, Stephanie Avery, and two from Meagan Lanigan. It was Lanigan’s third goal of the tournament, bringing her total to nine over two appearances.
“Puma had these hoodies that said, ‘I scored’ and they didn’t want to buy them unless they did score,” said MacPhail. “So the girls were working pretty hard to score goals in the games”
Prior to the playoff, Yukon won one of their three matches in the round-robin, defeating Minnesota’s Rebels SC Nimmer 4-1 on Wednesday. Scoring for the Yukon were Lanigan, Greenway, Emily Dorosz and Sam Wintemute.
Yukon’s boys team went winless at the week-long tournament, only scoring a pair of goals in their opener against Nebraska’s VIVA Fortaleza, the eventual gold medal winner. In the 8-2 loss, Yukon’s goals came from captain Owen Hedstrom-Langford, a guest player from Puerto Rico.
“We weren’t going down there to win, I was trying to challenge the boys by putting them in the top flight, to get them ready for the Western Canada Games,” said Yukon boys head coach Jake Hanson. “We had one game where we were clearly dominated … other than that, the games were all pretty close and I was quite happy with how the boys played.”
However, the boys did pick up a win in the shorter weekend segment of the USA Cup the previous weekend, beating Minnesota’s HFC United 3-1.
In the match, Yukon took a brief lead on a goal from forward Colin Kabanak a minute into the game before HFC tied it up a minute later. Yukon moved back out in front in the second half on a goal from striker Kieran Halliday. Midfielder Michael Wintermute then got the insurance goal for the Yukon.
“We had two boys on our roster that were U-13 age, so we were really young,” said Hanson. “I think we had three boys that were the proper age and the rest were underage.
“Our 97s, which are our U-14 players, played really well.
“Seeing how our boys played at the USA Cup, I’m confident we’ll be competitive at the Westerns.”
The USA Cup is North America’s largest annual youth soccer tournament with over 1,000 teams from 18 countries.
The Western Canada Summer Games are taking place August 5 through 14 in Kamloops, BC.
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