Yukon soccer clubs get new look

At last year's soccer nationals, the Yukon was represented by five teams with three called the Yukon Selects, one called the Arctic Wolves and another the Klondike Blizzards.

At last year’s soccer nationals, the Yukon was represented by five teams with three called the Yukon Selects, one called the Arctic Wolves and another the Klondike Blizzards.

Having three names for teams representing the same territory may seem a little superfluous, or even confusing, but this coming season things will be more straightforward.

At an awards ceremony held January 29, the Yukon Soccer Association unveiled its new logo and club name that will be donned by players representing the territory in national events.

Instead of Selects, Arctic Wolves or Klondyke Blizzards, Yukon soccer squads will now be called the Yukon Strikers S.C. (soccer club).

“Our club or development teams will all be called the Yukon Strikers soccer club,” said Tony Gaw, vice-present of Yukon Soccer Association. “When we go to Arctic Winter Games, we go as the Yukon Soccer Association with the original logo with the husky and the soccer ball. For tournaments like the nationals, we’ll use the Yukon Strikers logo.”

Both the name and the logo were inspired in particular by two submissions from local junior soccer players. The logo was largely inspired designs submitted from Juliana Campbell and Luca Van Randen. The name was sparked by Campbell’s cleaver bid, the Yukon Gold Strike or Yukon Gold Strikers (notice the double entendre.)

“Some said it was easier if you’re cheering on the sideline, just to yell out Strikers, opposed to Gold Strikers,” said Gaw. “We thought it was a little catchier and easier to scream.

“The logo has gone through 50 renditions and has gone back and forth to players, coaches, ex-coaches. We kicked it around until we all came up with something we’re all comfortable with,” added Gaw, who drafted the finalized logo with Bob Colberg.

An African soccer club inspired Gaw to put the date of the club’s founding, 2008, in the logo.

“I thought that was pretty cool,” said Gaw. “In 20 years people will be able to see when we established the club system.”

The soccer association’s awards ceremony, which included Leadership, Most Spirited and Most Improved awards, was held at the Mt. McIntyre Recreation Centre. Unlike the majority of the awards, presented to recipients for their efforts from one end of the season to the other, the ceremony included accolades for the boys’ and girls’ teams that competed at the Canada Summer Games last August in PEI.

Fittingly, boys’ captain Cody “CJ” Reaume was given the Leadership award for his positive influence in and outside of matches.

“Simply, CJ was our most valuable player,” said Jake Hanson, head coach of the Team Yukon’s boys’ team at the Canada Summer Games. “He was so valuable to the team in so many ways. Certainly he was our leader on the field, whether it was in a game environment or a training environment.”

Coty Fraser, who scored Yukon’s final goal of the Games in PEI, was named Most Spirited.

“He was a player that was useful in so many positions – he was my utility man,” said Hanson. “(In addition) to the value he supplied to the team all over the field and his ability to raise his level whenever needed, he was a very positive influence on the team. Other players respected him for his character.”

Both Reaume and Fraser played their first year of college soccer on SAIT Polytechnic Trojans out of Calgary in the fall. The Trojans lost in the finals of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference in October.

Midfielder David Ratcliff, one of the youngest on the Team Yukon, was given the title of Most Improved.

“For me David is a player steadily and continually pursuing excellence in the game,” said Hanson. “He’s on the young side, so for him to make a starting spot in the mid-field and to play against the likes of Quebec at the Canada Summer Games was an incredible accomplishment.

“He’s a player that has aspirations to play at a very high level of soccer and at the rate he’s developing, he’s going to reach those goals.”

The boys’ Canada Games team finished the Games with a 1-3 record, taking a 5-1 win over Team NWT to end the tournament.

Team Yukon’s girls head coach at the Games, John MacPhail, nominated three of his players for awards, tailoring the categories a tad.

Instead of giving out a Most Spirited award, both Jaime Whitty and Courtney MacPhail were given Leadership awards.

“I didn’t have a spirited one for the Canada Summer Games girls, so I elected Courtney and Jamie for leadership ones,” said MacPhail. “You’re allowed three awards, so I just said, ‘Why don’t I just give those two the same award?’

“When we started this program two years ago, selecting and putting together the Canada games team, (Whitty and MacPhail) didn’t miss any practices, they were there at every game and whether they were hurt or not, they were playing.

“They weren’t always the most vocal players, but they were always there and I knew exactly where to put them in the line-up and, as I call them, they’re low-maintenance players.”

Shannon Thompson was named Most Improved, but MacPhail felt her can-do attitude and her desire to improve and learn the game is what earned her the award.

“On their list they didn’t call it most improved,” said MacPhail. “I didn’t select Shannon as most improved, I selected Shannon as somebody who wants to learn as much as anybody I ever met, was willing to do anything for the team that was necessary. What I mean by that is, even though she wasn’t a starter, if I asked her to go in forward or defend – or if I wanted to throw her in goal – she’d go out and do it without any complaints.”

At the Canada Summer Games last August in PEI, the Yukon’s girls’ team was winless, but had close, one-goal games against NWT, PEI and Saskatchewan.

Other recipients

Leadership Award

Sam Wintemute (U-12), Alex Hanson (U-12), Owen Hedstrom-Langford (U-14), Camille Galloway (U-14), Katie Lowey (U-16), Dillon Vickerman (U-16), Elia Parker (U-16), Kurtis Hills (U-16)

Most Spirited

Anna Janowicz (U-12), Graydon McDonnell (U-12), Jonathan Runions (U-14), Laurolie Menelon (U-14), Kendra Murray (U-16), Alex Ordonez (U-16), Hana Val (U-16), Jesse Cebulak (U-16)

Most Improved

Chloe Turner-Davis (U-12), Kyle Jacobs (U-12), Kieran Halliday (U-14), Jaylene Kelly (U-14), Kelsey Smeeton (U-16), Theoren Richards (U-16), Aven Knutson (U-16), Michael Hare (U-16)

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