The Nelson Selects U13 Boys team made the trip to Kamloops this past weekend to compete in the annual Slurpee Cup soccer tournament.
The team knew they were in for a weekend of tough competition as the U13 age group only had one bracket, unlike some age groups that had a silver and gold category that allows smaller clubs to compete only against each other.
The Nelson boys had games against clubs from much larger centres, like Vernon, Richmond, Kamloops and Abbotsford. Nonetheless, the boys came confident, and ready to play, and this was rewarded in the opening game with a 2-0 victory over Vernon.
“All of the boys played well to the last player,” said coach Kerry Dyck. “And terrific goals by Milo Baranyai-Sheppard and Josh Schacher in the second half gave us the game.”
Next up was a very strong team from Richmond.
“In my estimation, that Richmond team were the class of the tournament in our age group,” said Dyck. “They were a complete team, physically big, strong and
fast, but also skilled and mentally very sharp, working very well as a team. I felt they were distinctly better than any other team we came across, and even though they beat us 5-0, I thought the boys actually acquitted themselves well in that game. We told them that there is nothing wrong with losing to a very good team, as long as you gave your best, which I felt they did.”
In the third game, the Nelson boys faced another strong team from Kamloops. The boys fought hard and played well. The score was still tied 0-0 going into the final 15 minutes of the game, when the Kamloops team finally broke through and opened the scoring.
“We had about three good chances to even the score after that, but failed to convert,” said Dyck. “And then right in the last two minutes, Kamloops nabbed to more late goals to make the final 3-0. But this score wasn’t really reflective of the game.”
These results left Nelson pitted against Abbotsford in the final game.
“Again, this was a very high quality team that moved the ball around as a unit with high precision and effectiveness,” said Dyck. “But we played a terrific game, with the final score being a 1-0 loss. And we came incredibly close to scoring the tying goal in the final minutes. Centre defender Jesse Thurston played a beautiful cross in from the wing, which was volleyed by Jaden Dyck. From my angle, it seemed the Abbotsford keeper was certainly beaten, but unfortunately the shot struck one of our own players. Even the resulting scramble in front of their net nearly netted us a goal on two rebound attempts. In any event, I was extremely proud of how well the boys played that tournament, but especially in that final game.”
Player of the game awards throughout the event went to Thurston (twice), Blake Markin-Hellekson and Ezra Foy.
Next up for Nelson is the home event, the Terry Walgren tournament in Nelson this coming weekend.