Nelson’s U17 Girls Selects soccer squad is coming home with provincial bronze.
Striker Naomi Perkins scored three goals in the final game of the Girls B Cup Provincial Championships to lead the locals to a dominating 6-1 victory over the host Chilliwack Attack on Sunday.
The victory capped off an impressive tournament for the U17 squad that finished with a 2-1-1 record.
“That’s an amazing story in itself, the fact that they won 6-1 in a bronze game. It just shows how well their weekend went,” said Brett Adams, regional head coach of the Whitecaps’ Kootenay Academy Centre.
The only game the U17 girls lost was to the Aldergrove Ambush, the eventual provincial championships. And that was a game Adams said the Nelson squad could have won.
“It was the only game that they lost. It was a very close game and our girls probably created more chances, but it just felt like one of those games. Although they won the bronze, they were probably unlucky not to win the gold.”
Adam complimented Perkins for her superb play but was quick to point to the whole squad.
“It was a complete and utter team effort. They really looked like a team and have gelled along the way from the first tournament to now. They’ve had a fantastic season and fair play to the coaches, they’ve done a fantastic job.”
Adams said he was thrilled by how all the Nelson squads played at the provincials. Six teams — four girls teams and two boys teams — competed on the weekend.
“I was totally impressed with the overall efforts of the teams and the professionalism from the coaches. I noticed that our teams were playing more of a passing style game. They were playing the right way.”
He said it was a ball control game, trying to find gaps, rather than the kick-and-run style.
“It was really pleasing to see them playing that style.”
Adams added that all the teams were competitive.
“None of our teams faced anybody where they were absolutely outplayed.”
The girls U13 Selects had a strong tournament, finishing fifth thanks to a 3-0 victory over the RGSA Riot. The girls finished the event with a 2-2 record.
“That’s their first time ever playing at this level because they are coming out of playing in jamborees and not really playing in anything that would strike you as a competition. It is a fabulous age group and has some really talented players in there,” said Adams.
He called it an age group to “keep your eye on.”
“It’s a breath of fresh air to watch them play because, no matter what happens they give it their all, they just play with a smile on their faces.”
Nelson’s U14 girls struggled in Chilliwack, finishing with an 0-3-1 record. The locals finished eighth overall, losing their final game 1-0 to the Terrace Kermodes.
Like the other Nelson squads, the U14s played well and had opportunities to win, but just fell short.
The U15 squad finished the provincials in sixth, dropping their final game against Aldergrove in a shootout.
The locals finished with a 1-3 record.
At the Les Sinnott Memorial Boys Provincial Cup Championships in Richmond, two Nelson squads battled it out for soccer supremacy.
The U18 Selects finished the event in sixth, thanks to a 1-2-1 record.
The locals battled the Terrace Kermodes in the final, falling in a shootout.
Despite the sixth place finish, Adams said the boys should be proud of their play, considering how strong the division was.
“That was a sharp division. I saw one of their earlier games [in the tournament] and it was a draw 1-1. But they were by far the best team. It was an end to end game. Our boys were so composed and were working hard. With this being their last experience with the association, they have definitely gone out on a high,” he said.
Losing the final in a shootout was just bad luck, according to Adams.
“That’s just a lottery, the shootout. It doesn’t tell the true story of what happened in the game.”
The U15 Selects faced the RVSA Lightning in the battle for fifth and sixth. Despite some hard play, the locals dropped the contest 3-2 to finish sixth.
The U15s ended the provincials with a record of 1-2-1.
“We have a good, tight-knit base of coaches that are all trying to do things the right way… I’ve certainly seen an improvement, not just in the play, but in the coaching.
“It’s been a successful year. Would we have liked to seen the teams finish higher? Yes, because you always want the teams to go as far as they can go. But the way the association has done it, it has given us a massive platform to build on.”