A pair of Yukoners won gold at the B.C. Soccer Premier Cup with the Vancouver Island Wave under 16 boys soccer team in Surrey, B.C., on June 23.
Whitehorse’s Joe Hanson and Callum Weir of Haines Junction were part of the squad that defeated Coastal F.C. 2-0 in the final.
“It was great,” said Hanson about the victory. “It’s always nice to win and be the top team and end up on top. It was really nice though because it felt like we worked really hard for the wins that we got.”
Hanson joined the team at the beginning of May, but Weir — a keeper — was an even later addition after the team’s goalkeeper went down with an injury.
“It was weird because normally you don’t have those opportunities to come in and play big minutes,” said Weir. “I felt very honoured to get called up and felt I played quite well.”
Weir had previous relationships with a number of Wave players outside of Hanson — a teammate for close to a decade here in the Yukon — so his name was the first to come to mind for many after the injury.
“The kids were all talking and said, ‘what about Callum?’” said Cindi Cowie, Weir’s mother. “So one of the players on the Wave team contacted Callum and said, ‘Any chance you could come to the island and play with us?’”
Hanson said Weir was a quick fit with the team.
“Everyone was a little bit worried and a little bit stressed as playoffs were near, so we knew we had to find someone else to fill (the injured keeper’s) spot. Being able to have Callum come down was really helpful and I thought he jelled with the team super quickly.”
Weir said the way he plays the game made it easy to find his place.
“It was immediate because here I’m quite a vocal goalkeeper,” said Weir. “Taking it onto the Wave team, I just tried to be as big of an impact as I could be and that’s one of the ways.”
Both players did say adjusting to the Wave’s 3-5-2 formation — three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards — took a bit of time, as the Yukon Selects play primarily a 4-3-3 — four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.
“That took a bit of figuring out and getting used to,” said Hanson. “But I was playing a similar role that I’ve played with the Yukon Selects.”
For Weir, the change to the backline meant some adjustments were needed.
“It wasn’t that hard to get used to, but I definitely could feel it,” said Weir. “I could get into the rhythm pretty quick — what I do when I get the ball, looking up, playing higher off my line, stuff like that.”
Both players now turn their attention to the upcoming Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current, Sask., later this summer, where their experience should be a benefit to a team looking to medal.
“It’s nice especially that we can both bring that victory home and both bring a bit of experience back to Whitehorse,” said Hanson. “It’s really, really good that we were both able to be a part of that.”
“I’m 100 per cent focused on finishing on the podium at Westerns,” said Weir. “I’ll be in the Yukon training every week as hard as I can, going to tournaments with the boys and hopefully finishing on the podium in Swift Current.”
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org