For the first time since the Whitecaps Academy’s introduction to the Kootenays, the girls team got the chance to play competitively for an away-trip to Vernon.
“They were outstanding,” said regional head coach Brett Adams. “It really seems like the penny’s starting to drop, so to speak. They’re starting to understand what we’re trying to teach them. We’re seeing them build attacks from the back, and that’s how we attacked every time.”
There were four teams in the tournament, two from the Kootenays and two from Okanagan.
“We used it as a mini-league, everyone got to play three games,” said Adams, noting the girls seemed well-prepared and energetic. “It was certainly a huge success and something we will look to do on a larger scale in the future.”
Of the six games played, the Kootenay teams won one, tied two and lost three. The standout performance went to Shianne Michalchuk.
“Shianne scored six goals in three games,” said Adams. “She’s an attacking-style player that is very direct with the ball and she’s a hard worker. She really embodies that style of playing from the back, and she’s easy to coach.”
But there were many other players that shone over the course of the day.
“We had both of our goalkeepers do very well. That was Hannah Quinn and Bella Guderyan. The other teams were keeping them very busy,” he said.
He was proud to notice that his charges no longer boot the ball as far down the field as possible, like they used to.
“The goalkeeper is actually the key player that starts the attack, so they’ll be brave and do the save, but then it’s not a case of ‘how far can we kick it?’ They’re right away looking for a player to build it from the back line,” he said. “We call that the Whitecaps way.”
Even though Okanagan ultimately emerged victorious, Adams said the event was a success.
“The standard of player they were up against was way more competitive. They’re exposed to a lot more soccer opportunities in the Okanagan,” he said.
“Overall, it was a fantastic day with some excellent soccer being played by all four teams.”