The U13 Boys Select soccer team, the CVUSC Timberwolves, sponsored by Ryan Williams ReMax, have had a fantastic regular season.
"And now, before we head into our finals, I would like to thank them," said Tony Dickson. "I am their coach, and I work with a team of coaches who work consistently at bringing out the very best in these boys. I would like to thank each of our boys for what they give back: today I saw some of their best," Dickson said.
"I could wax poetic on the score and provide a play by play that resulted in a 3-0 victory over Harbour City in our last official game of the regular season. To be sure, the game was a stellar display for how the beautiful game could be played.
"On our side, we played with a possession to direct attack style designed to draw out an opponent then cut through them. On their side, they played a more conservative counter-attack game with some nice control and pressure through the midfield," Dickson said.
"To be sure, the match was played well by both teams, and it was exciting at both ends of the pitch. What is truly significant was the sense of gratitude that struck me as I watched our boys play this beautiful game of soccer.
"In sport we often talk of the character that is built through competition. As a group of coaches, we have placed a great deal of time and focus on repeated messages about respecting the opposition, about digging deep, of the pride that comes when you know you have done your very best, about sticking to your game plan and focusing on the things that are within your control," Dickson said.
"In every game, there are moments where these lessons shine. In today's match I realized how lucky I am to be working with such a great group of boys. Today they showed in no uncertain terms that when we focus on character, and when we focus on the journey towards improvement and long-term development, the rewards will go beyond the game," the coach said.
"At one point in the match one of the Harbour City boys went down due to an injury. The ball had gone out of bounds in our favour. I watched as our players, without direction, dropped back away from the ball as our own player threw the ball in to the Harbour City team to restart the match.
"This was deeply respectful of the boy who had gone down and to the team we were playing against. It spoke to the quality of character in our own team. They recognized that the advantage that had come to them was at the expense of a fellow player on the opposing side, and they respectfully and collectively gave up that advantage to restart the play. It was soccer's equivalent to picking up the fallen opposition. At the conclusion of the match, the boys congratulated the other team, shook their hands and encouraged them for the great play that they had to offer us (we meet them again on the field next week).
"In our program, we do not often speak of winning or losing. We as a coaching staff fully recognize that there are times when you can score more often than the opposition but you can still lose in a deeper and more meaningful way, and then there are times when you score less that the other team, but you win on a deeper, more meaningful level," said Dickson.
"Today was one of those great moments where our team's success was fully realized on many levels. When you see a team gel, and they put together a game plan, it is a wonderful moment as a coach. When you see them do something you have been working hard to get across, it is a winning moment.
"You intuitively know that the old cliche is true: the journey is more important than the destination. You know that your hours of practice are more meaningful than the outcome of your games," said Dickson.
"But when, as in today's match, you witness an entire team work together to demonstrate a character and resolve that goes beyond the meaning of the match, it is then that you know you have truly won. Gentlemen, this is a most impressive and deserved win. I am thankful for the opportunity that you, your parents and our supporters have given to me to work with people of such esteemed character," Dickson said.
– Timberwolves U13 Select Soccer