Soccer is the only team sport played year round in the Yukon, indoors and outdoors, and the lengthy schedules are paying dividends. This school year the Yukon has a total of seven soccer players competing for three different schools outside the territory.
However, Yukoners on post-secondary teams is nothing new, but is instead an increasing trend, says Jake Hanson, head coach and technical director of Yukon Soccer Association.
“Doing a little bit of tallying, it looks like over the past 10 years we have had somewhere around 40 Yukon soccer youth advance to play college or university level soccer,” said Hanson, in an e-mail to the News. “One player (Kyle Finner) upon graduation from University last summer had a Major League Soccer tryout. This speaks volumes to the excellence of Yukon Soccer Association programming, board, coaches and volunteers, past and present.
“In a recent conversation with a (Canadian Soccer Association) Sean Fleming Camp coach, he suggested that he didn’t think anywhere in Canada a community our size was manufacturing the volume of soccer talent we were here.”
Of the seven Yukoners, University of Victoria Vikes mid-fielder Jackie Harrison is the only female. The first-year player, formerly of FH Collins Secondary in Whitehorse, has so far played two games with the Vikes, taking a total of three shots on net and helping her team to a 3-2 record on the season.
On the Vikes men’s team, the defending Canada West Champions, is third year player Harrison Kwok, a former player for the Yukon Selects men’s team. With a 1-1 tie against the University of Alberta on Sunday, the defenceman has helped propel his team to a 4-0-1 record to start the season.
Fresh from the Canada Summer Games, Whitehorse’s Cody “CJ” Reaume and Coty “Duke” Fraser are now first year, defensive players on the SAIT Polytechnic Trojans in Calgary. With a 1-1-2 record, the Trojans currently sit at the top of the standings for the Alberta College Athletic Conference in the southern division.
“They’ve played exceptionally well – they’re really good players,” said Trojans head coach Grant Stevens. “I was the (Canada Summer Games) Alberta coach, so I was able to watch Cody and Coty and scout their games in PEI.
“They do their defensive duties very, very well, so I’m very pleased and happy with their performance.
“Although they play very hard, they’re very fair; basically they’re gentlemen when they play. They carry themselves like professionals.”
Coincidently, Yukon has three players on the team at the top of the ACAC standings for the northern division, the Grant MacEwan College Griffins out of Edmonton. Rookies Donnie Richardson and Stephen Dynes have joined fellow Yukoner and third-year player Jeff Hills on the team.
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