A worthwhile experience was enjoyed by the U12 Boys soccer team at this year’s BC Summer Games in Nanaimo earlier this month. Their fifth-place finish (best summer games result ever for a Kootenay soccer team) only partially reflects how well the boys played over the three-day tournament , according to assistant coach Yuro Ihns.
“Our first round -robin game began against the Thompson-Okanagan team,” Ihns recalls. “The nerves were clearly visible in the first half on both sides. We carried the balance of play and should have been up. Unfortunately, we were down 1-0 after the first half. The boys settled in and played a much stronger second half, tying the game 1-1.”
The second round- robin game was against Vancouver Island-a very up-and-down affair.
“We came on strong and built a 3-0 lead, only to see it diminish to 3-2 by half time,” said Ihns. The somewhat nervous boys would come out strong in the second half to build another three goal lead at 5-2. Costly mistakes would be their undoing, however, as the Island crew would get back on even terms.
Two tie games put the Kootenay team at two points in the round-robin, and they would likely need a win in the final game of the round-robin against the top seeded team from Vancouver Delta.
“Our final round- robin game was one of our best played games,” Ihns continued. “We matched up very well against the top seed, and carried a 1-0 lead into the final minutes of play.” A tough call for a handball in the box led to a penalty shot goal for the Vancouver team. The rattled Kootenay boys then surrendered an own-goal on a freakish deflection off an opposition header.
Kootenay ended up losing 2-1 in the final few minutes. They then played the Cariboo team to decide whether it would compete in the 5/6 place game or the 7/8 place game.
Shaking off the memory of the previous game they easily grabbed a 4-1 win. In the 5/6 place game they had a score to settle against a against a familiar Vancouver Island group.
The determined club quickly built a 3-0 lead, when a simple defensive error made it 3-1.
“This time,” described Ihns, “the Island could not mount another comeback. Behind some solid goalkeeping and some great defending we maintained the lead, winning 3-1 and claiming fifth place.”
The assistant coach sent out a word of thanks to head coach Jamie Spendlove.
“Jamie had our boys playing at a much higher level, implementing a system of play that is rarely seen locally,” said Ihns. “Many volunteers at the games commented on how well-behaved and gracious our team was during the tournament, and their skills on the field speak for themselves.”