Many on the Yukon Strikers Selects were younger and smaller but their talent was on par with other teams at the recent Soccer Canada National Club Championships, said head coach Jake Hanson.
“It was a U14 tournament and three quarters of our team were 12 and 13, so we knew we had a young team. Talent-wise they were definitely in the mix, but at this age a little bit under-sized,” said Hanson. “Some of the other teams’ representatives were talking about how the Yukon team will be a scary team in the future when these kids do their growing.
“They have a lot of work to do over the next years, but if they keep working hard and showing commitment, hopefully we’ll be able to post some good results in the future.”
The Selects went winless to place 10th out of 10 at the U14 Cup in Moncton, N.B., Oct. 5-10. In all of their matches they were competitive — especially during first halfs.
The Selects opened the championship with a 2-1 loss to Saskatchewan Eastside FC after finishing the first half up 1-0.
They then lost 7-0 to the Ontario Brampton East Blades, after being down just 1-0 at half. (The East Blades went on to win gold.)
Yukon then fell 3-1 to the New Brunswick FDSA, after trailing 2-1 at half.
The Selects finished the round robin with a 4-1 loss to Manitoba’s Bonivital SC, who took bronze, after taking a 1-0 lead at half.
Losing captain Rhys Faragher to a head injury midway through their first match didn’t help things. Faragher was sidelined under concussion protocols.
“A little bit of a turning point early in that game and in the tournament was at the start of the second half our captain and centre back took an injury that kept him out of the rest of the tournament,” said Hanson. “He’s fine now but he wasn’t able to enter the rest of the tournament.”
“I guess we got a little tired and overpowered in the second halfs of our games,” he added.
The Selects capped the championship with a 4-1 loss to P.E.I. Hillsborough United in the ninth/10th place match of the seeding phase. Playing in the wind and rain as remnants of Hurricane Matthew brushed by the coast, the Selects fell behind 3-0 by halftime.
“Our final game against P.E.I. we got into a little bit of trouble early in the game,” said Hanson. “We were a little sleepy to start and weren’t able to climb back into that one.”
Yukon striker Joe Hanson scored all of his team’s goals in the championship, putting him seventh for scoring in the tournament.
The Strikers Selects were the only Yukon team at the championships that this year included a U16 Cup in Lethbridge, Alta. and a U18 Cup in Vaughan, Ont.
“(Goalkeepers) Ole Heath and Callum Weir split the first four games of tournament and were very good. Ashton Bryant moved back to defense from forward to help team and drew attention for his outstanding play. Andrew Roberts, Ben Kishchuk and Andreas Lavanderos had good tournaments for the team at midfield and Alvaro Diaz in his first major tournament showed extremely well at the stopper role in defence,” added Jake.
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