It was the kind of game that inspires detergent commercials.
Playing on a half-flooded pitch, Team Yukon’s boys soccer team fought the mud and puddles for their first win at the USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament in Blaine, Minnesota, over the weekend.
Playing in the Gold Flight of the U-16 division at the largest youth soccer tournament in North America, Yukon ended the USA Cup’s short weekend tournament defeating Minnesota’s HFC United 3-1.
“When we got to the field it was almost entirely underwater,” said Yukon head coach Jake Hanson. “The game needed to be played, so we played on a field where the ball would go a distance and then stop in a puddle.”
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 Wintemute then got the insurance goal for the Yukon.
“Michael Wintemute played an outstanding game for us,” said Hanson. “He was a real strong physical presence in the midfield, winning balls.
“He ended up getting the ball and was somehow able to beat a couple players dribbling, which was quite a feat on a field with so many puddles.
“He got a shot from behind the 18 and it was an absolute laser.”
The Yukon boys, who will represent the territory at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, BC, next month, lost both their opening games 1-0 to the St. Paul Blackhawks from Minnesota and the Howard Hurricanes from Wisconsin. The losses prevented the team from reaching the playoffs.
The boys, along with Team Yukon’s girls team, will remain in Minnesota for the rest of the week for the USA Cup’s weeklong tournament.
“We had incredible rain, thunder and lightning,” said Hanson. “And then there were issues with field condition, once the lightning let up. I think we got two inches of rain in that very short time, something incredible like that.”
Whitehorse’s Tyler Milton also had success at the USA Cup over the weekend.
Playing as a guest player for the Crystal Lake Force from Illinois, Milton helped the team go undefeated en route to winning the Cup in the under-11 A flight division. Milton registered as an individual player and was picked up by Crystal Lake just prior to the start of the tournament.
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