As the outdoor soccer season comes to a close, the best teams in their division competed in provincials and the Sherwood Park District Soccer Association was well represented.
The SPDSA has established itself as a high calibre soccer club that consistently produces high performance athletes and soccer teams, and this year was no different. Over the August 9-11 weekend, soccer teams all over the province were competing in provincial tournaments. The SPDSA had a number of teams competing in provincials and many outstanding performances. The U17 tier two girls won gold, the U15 tier two girls took the silver medal, the U17 tier two boys also took home silver, and the U17 tier three girls won a bronze medal. All teams battled tough competition and worked hard to grind their way into the position they finished in.
The U17 girls played four games in their provincial tournament. Their first game they won 7-0 against South West Sting. In their second match of the weekend they played the second place team from Lethbridge. Although they had 30-40 chances the lost that game 3-1. In their third game, they beat a tough team out of Calgary 4-2. After that they needed the South West Sting team to win against Lethbridge in order to go the gold medal match. When it happened they went to the gold medal match against South West United. They won the gold medal match with a score of 2-1.
“The girls did very, very well,” said head coach Andres Schillin. “Even in the game we lost they played very good, there was nothing to complain about. We came into the tournament as the favourites to win, everyone expected us to win. I think that sometimes the pressure makes it harder. If everyone is expecting to win you might take the competition lightly. I think that the girls did super well.”
The girls performed exceptionally well even though they were missing their starting goaltender, who had been selected to play on the Canadian Championship Team.
“Everyone played incredibly well, I cannot even single out anyone, it was a great team effort. We had six underage players on the team this year and they did very well fitting into the group and I think that was a big part of our success,” added Schillin.
The team played a hard fought season to make it to provincials, battling against older teams.
“The regular season was fantastic,” said Schillin. “They combined the younger age group and the older one into one division so our team was playing against older girls. We played against very hard competition very well. We won most of the games. We beat almost all the older teams. We only had two losses in the whole season.We won the division by a lot of points, I think we were almost 30 points ahead at the finish.”
The U17 girls team also played a showcase tournament in Kamloops in May, where they walked away with another gold medal.
The younger SPDSA U15 tier two girls also had an incredible regular season before provincials, going undefeated.
“The girls were awesome, we played really well all season,” said head coach Chris Pearson. “A lot of new girls came onto the team this year and they gelled really well. We had seven new players and they all just clicked.”
They brought that momentum into the provincials where they battled their way to a silver medal. In their first game of provincials they tied with South West Sting 2-2. They then beat the older Lethbridge team 3-0. They beat another older team, the Calgary Rangers on the same day. The score of that game was 3-1. Their last game the girls were tired out from those two tough games against the older girls and ended up losing the final game 4-1 to Edmonton Inter.
“They played good in the final game, I think that the two games the day before against the older teams just took too much out of them,” said Pearson. “We had a few injuries for the final. Things just didn’t go our way. We had a bit of bad luck with a couple of goofy goals that went against us. This was the first game we let in more than two goals all year. It was a bit of a shock for the girls to go down those goals. They weren’t used to playing behind. We had already beat that team two times in the regular season, the girls were disappointed we couldn’t beat them a third time.”
The team was a bit disappointed to be handed their first loss in the provincial final, but they were proud of their performance.
“The girls played some unbelievable soccer all season,” added Pearson. “The passing and movement was really impressive. We didn’t have one girl that was the star of the show. Everybody was equal and playing really well. Our goals were spread about from lots of different players.”
The SPDSA’s U17 tier two boys played hard throughout their provincial tournament and came away with two wins, one tie, one loss and a silver medal. In the first game they squeaked out a 1-0 win against St. Albert. Their second game was against Calgary Foothills, which they tied 1-1. Their third game was against Fort St. John. Due to a tight race in the standings. this game the boys needed to put up a large score in order to win the goal differential and make the gold medal game. The team put their foot on the gas and came away with a 13-1 blowout win. The final game was a battle against Edmonton Victoria Soccer Club, which ended in a 2-0 loss.
“I feel good about the team’s performance considering that this was only the second time we’ve made provincials,” said head coach Mike Tennant. “I think this is by far the best team we’ve had.”
The boys played a whirlwind season. Coming off a slow start at the beginning of the year, they persevered and came away at the top of the division. Only losing two games all season the team finished the year with the best goals against and the second best goals for total.
“it was a great season. When we got back from our tournament in Minnesota we had to win our last five games in a row to qualify for provincials and we ended up winning all five,” added Tennant. “We worked hard on getting them to be a team this year and they did awesome.”
The SPDSA’s U17 tier three girls also had a strong performance at provincials, winning a bronze medal in the consolation final.