Riptide U14 boys capture Island soccer championship
The Upper Island Soccer Association Riptide U14 boys won the Island championship in Tier 2 BC Soccer play March 7-9 – and the best is yet to come as they have qualified for both the Provincials and Coastal Cup competition.
The team's Island playoffs were heavily impacted by weather cancellations, with the snow finally relenting for the team to travel to Ladysmith for the semifinal Friday night (March 7) against a very good Nanaimo Storm team, with the game ending 2-0 in the Riptide's favour.
Less than 36 hours later, the team made the trip down-Island again to play the unbeaten Saanich Fusion. The Riptide battled hard, holding Saanich to a scoreless draw at the end of 70 minutes of regulation time.
Saanich drew first blood two minutes into the 20-minute overtime period and settled into their defensive shell, as the Riptide had experienced in their previous meetings this season. This time was different, as the Upper Island boys re-doubled their efforts and were finally rewarded with the equalizer with only two minutes remaining in overtime. With the score 1-1 after 90 minutes of play it was on to the shoot-out, where the Riptide ultimately prevailed after six rounds of penalty kicks.
Coach Bruce Mitchell said, "At the beginning of the season we asked the boys to be the best they could be. Win or lose, we asked them to work hard, give everything you've got and be proud of what you accomplish.
"Well, I can tell you the boys left it all on the field, never gave up, and through skill, effort and intensity, came out on top. To be Island champions at this level of soccer is a huge accomplishment. The boys and staff should be very proud – I've certainly never been prouder of a group of boys."
The Riptide have three months to prepare for Provincials, held the first weekend in July in Burnaby this year. Coach Mitchell added, "It's a long season, but one the boys will remember for the rest of their lives."
Shel Brodsgaard, Riptide organization technical director, said, "The commitment level of this entire group has been tremendous from the start of the season forward, bringing the success that they deserve."
Brodsgaard emphasized that it has taken many years’ effort to achieve this success, with support from parents, current and former coaches, trainers, team managers and other club volunteers all contributing to the team's success.
The Riptide is automatically entered into the Coastal Cup competition, which determines the two Lower Mainland/ Vancouver Island representatives to go to the Provincials. For the Riptide, the Coastal Cup will be an opportunity to preview the top Lower Mainland competition as they have already captured their entry by winning the Islands. The Riptide enter the Coastal Cup at the quarter-finals, game time is 2 p.m. Sunday, April 6 at Valley View in Comox.
To get an early start on their Provincial preparations, the Riptide travelled to the Surrey Mayor's Cup, BC Soccer's largest tournament, playing four games against top Lower Mainland and Interior teams over two days (March 15-16) and finished second.
Conditions were difficult, but the boys were up to it, with two wins, a loss in shoot-out and a single-goal loss for a strong showing. Team manager Pam Silver says it was an important learning opportunity for the team with exposure to the intensity of Lower Mainland Metro teams as well as playing time on turf.
– UISA Riptide U14 Boys