The Nelson Selects U16 boys recently took part in the annual Terry Walgren Tournament and like many of the local teams, it was a successful event, as they came away with gold medals.
In the first game, the team defeated their younger clubmates, the U15 Nelson Selects, who played up in the tournament, 2-0.
“Overall, I was pleased with our play and the 2-0 result, though at times I thought we got away from our possession style of play and resorted to long balls,” said U16 coach Kerry Dyck. “I think our team may have been a bit nervous playing our U15 boys, as they are a strong team and gave us a good game. We didn’t want a slip up! They also narrowly lost to the Kootenay East U16 boys, who are a good team, 3-2. I was very impressed with their play.”
Goals in the game came from Josh Fogal and Milo Baranyai-Sheppard. In the next game, the boys tied the Kootenay East team 1-1.
“It was a good, tightly contested battle, and for the most part we played well,” said coach Lyle Hill. “The goal we scored, in particular, was a fantastic play, with several players linking up in a beautiful combination play that ultimately sprung Thomas Baxter down the wing, from where he delivered an inch-perfect cross to Josh Yasek, who calmly tucked it home.”
However, it was in the next two games that the team really found its rhythm, playing some of the best soccer they have all year. First, in the final round robin game, they defeated Creston 6-0, in a game they dominated from start to finish, despite missing several players and having to play the game with no substitutes.
Goals in the game came from Thomas Baxter and Aidan Mushumanski, with two each, Jaden Dyck, with a bent free kick around the wall, and Baranyai-Sheppard. And the boys saved their best till last, against the same Kootenay East team they tied the day before in round robin play. The Nelson squad won the game, and the gold medal, 3-2, in a game they controlled much more than the score indicated.
“The boys played fantastic, against a very strong opponent, controlling majority of the play, territorial advantage and scoring opportunities,” Dyck said. “Other than a couple defensive lapses that they capitalized on, we didn’t give them much. And our passing, possession style was the best I’ve seen the boys deliver this year.”
Nelson Youth Soccer technical director Brett Adams added: “In the final, the U16 boys played the best soccer I have seen in the last two years of watching them. They played with freedom, and they looked to pass the ball around. They attacked very quickly. This was exactly the way we want our association to play.”