Members of some of the Yukon’s most promising soccer teams took a moment out of training to recognize all the players who started off on local pitches and went on to play Outside.
On Dec. 20, billboards with the names of the 82 Yukon soccer players who have gone on to university and other high-level rosters was unveiled.
“I think that’s probably the best we can do, you know, as a small territory and a smallish community, to try to give kids the opportunity to take their sport as far as they can go,” said Yukon Soccer Association technical director Jake Hanson.
“If that means getting a college or university scholarship or to dream bigger than that to play pro or represent their country.”
Hanson said getting out of the territory at some point is an important step to moving on for the Yukon athletes. Hanson said the number of soccer players getting picked up by out of territory teams really increased when Sean Fleming, currently coaching the Yukon’s U18 Canada Summer Games boys soccer team, got involved.
Fleming brings some serious qualifications to the Yukon team, having coached a variety of high-profile youth teams including two U17 World Cup qualifying squads.
Hanson said that along with good coaching, the boys team that will be heading for the Canada Summer Games in 2022 has had plenty of time to train together as the 2021 games were postponed.
“We just decided to look at it as a positive thing. And we have an extra year to prepare,” Hanson said.
Having been involved with several Canada Games Soccer teams coming from the Yukon, Hanson said the girls side is a young team that is going through some real development and already has more depth than he has seen in the past. He said the boys team is without question the strongest he has seen during his time coaching in the Yukon.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org