Training with the Canada Summer Games boys’ soccer team all season looks to have paid off for the Yukon Selects men’s soccer team.
Representing the Yukon—and Canada by extension—the Selects fought their way to a Division A silver at last weekend’s Alaska State Cup in Anchorage, Alaska, going 3-1-1 against their American competition.
“We don’t get to go to too many tournaments, but we’ve played against the Summer Games team all year, so that’s excellent practice for both programs,” said Selects head coach Spencer Rich. “I think the whole squad played excellent and the whole experience was great.”
The Selects’ final two games ended in dramatic fashion, winning in the semifinals and losing in the finals in shoot-outs.
“I’m a little disappointed - it’s not a nice way to lose, on penalty shots,” said Rich. “I believe, and I think the guys believe, we were one of the better teams in it and we deserved to win the final, but that happens.
“I’m pleased we got there but I’m disappointed we didn’t win it.”
The Whitehorse team advanced to the finals with a tight 4-3 win over Anchorage’s New Sagaya team. With goals by Borris Hoefs, Ammon Hoefs and Marshall Ewing, the Selects kept producing leads, only to fall back into a tie-game with opposing goals.
“They are a very experienced Anchorage team,” said Rich. “We were always going up - they were always coming back.”
Manning the net for the Selects was Zachary Young, Team Yukon’s goalkeeper for the Canada Summer Games. With nine successful shoot-out attempts made from both teams combined, Young made the necessary save to advance his team to the final round.
In the finals, playing Fairbanks’ Rusty Buffalos, who the Selects tied earlier in the tournament, the top Yukon men’s team had a less profitable shoot-out, eventually losing 2-1. The Selects’ lone goal was scored by Morgan Fraughton, finding the top-corner after a series of attempts to tie the game in the first half.
“We tied them in the round robin,” said Rich. “They got a last-minute penalty shot against us, which was a controversial call. So we should have won that game.”
Coming so close to gold and coming away with silver is no doubt disappointing, but Rich feels the trip was a great experience leading up to the Canadian men’s championships taking place in Saskatoon at the start of October.
“It was excellent preparation for men’s nationals and I think it shows the level of soccer in Whitehorse and the Yukon is continually increasing,” said Rich. “We’re developing some very good players and some very good teams.”
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