The 2018 Futsal Canadian Championship is set for April 19 to 22 in Kingston, Ont., and the Yukon will be sending a side for the very first time.
A total of eight teams representing five provinces and two territories will take part in the four-day tournament at Queen’s University.
Group A is made up of Montréal Sparte FC, Toronto Idolo Futsal, Calgary Progressive FC and Yukon Selects FC.
Group B consists of Saskatoon Olimpia SK FC, Winnipeg Rovers FC, Nunavut’s Rankin FC and defending champions Sporting Montréal FC.
Andrew R. Mott, goalkeeper and manager for Yukon Selects FC, said the idea of a Yukon side competing in the tournament started in the summer.
Mott’s teammate Ash Jordan approached the Yukon Soccer Association about Selects being the territory’s representative.
Usually, the representative side is selected through a provincial or territorial play-down.
“Part of it was [Jordan] saying, ‘Look, we’ll send a team,’ and then he was working on creating a league so that there was a sense of a play-down,” said Mott. “That happened this year at the end of the outdoor season. That would have been in the summer, around August.”
Since the start of the indoor season, Selects FC have been playing against a metro men’s team made up of adult players, and two youth sides, U16 Selects Black and U16 Selects Orange.
Mott said the focus has shifted recently to preparing Selects FC for the nationals.
“In the last little bit what has happened is you end up having the men play the young men to give them an opportunity to be challenged and grow,” said Mott. “Because we’re getting so close to nationals, what is happening is [Selects FC] are just playing the two young teams and we’re bolstering those young teams with men from the metro league.”
Futsal is still relatively new in the Yukon, and most of the Selects players are more familiar with indoor soccer played in an enclosed space with boards like a hockey rink.
“We’re working on a transition,” said Mott. “The season started probably a little later than would have been ideal, but it has been going.”
Mott said the team is excited not only for this tournament, but for the future of the sport in the Yukon.
“I think there is a lot of excitement in terms of going and getting to go and play these other teams and see what the competition is like in the rest of the country right now,” said Mott. “We have a few players that aren’t able to play with us this year that we’re really looking forward to having on the team next year. We’re going to be a stronger and stronger team every year.”
Despite a relatively small pool of players to draw from, Mott said the team should earn some solid results.
“We’ve got a few things to work on for sure — and part of that has to do with the population — but based on how many people we have up here in the territory and what we’re able to put together, I think it’s pretty impressive,” said Mott. “You wouldn’t anticipate as many things from anywhere with remotely the same size of population.”
Canada Soccer is livestreaming all games online, so Yukoners will be able to watch all the Selects FC games in real time.
The team is holding a fundraiser on April 13 at Lumel Studios to help with costs to travel to Kingston.
Tickets for the event are $50 to attend the evening and blow a glass flower or $10 just to attend.
Lumel Studios will also be blowing a new trophy for the men’s league.
For tickets contact Andrew R. Mott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com