The U18 Riptide girls and coaches at Pike Place Market in Seattle.

The U18 Riptide girls and coaches at Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Comox Valley soccer players gain experience south of border

Members of the U15, U16 and U18 Riptide boys soccer teams participated in the 2019 Timbers Alliance Showcase in Portland, Dec. 12-15.

The U15s lost their first game 3-0 to FC Portland, one of the strongest teams they have faced this season. The U16s lost 2-0 to the Washington Timbers, a much stronger and well organized team. The U18s played Eastside Timbers and tied 1-1. The older boys who could have walked away with a victory with some better finishing. Regardless, the team established the proper mentality after a slow start in the first 15 minutes to finish strong.

On the second day of competition, the U15s lost 3-1 to the Washington Timbers. The U18s played a strong game against Pacific FC Fire. U16 Goalkeeper Devon Cleghorn made an excellent save to keep the scoreline 1-0 for the Riptide. The ensuing attack led to a second goal for a 2-0 win. The older boys played with positional and tactical awareness implemented through head coach Stephen Hall. The U16s beat Mt Rainier FC 2-0 to round out the Saturday morning games.

Each team was back in action for a second game Saturday. The U18s lost 3-0 to a tough Southlake Select team. The U15s lost a 5-4 heart-breaker to SFC Piamonte, despite being up 2-0 in the first 15 minutes. The U16s lost 3-0 to a strong Oregon Premier Academy.

The three teams finished the tournament with favorable results on Sunday. The U18s beat EX Surf 5-0. Logan Pierce from the U15s earned the shutout. The U16s tied 1-1 with Eastside Timbers. Ty Ludikowski scored an amazing free kick goal. The U15s beat FC Salmon Creek 1-0 on a penalty shot conversion by Kaizan Hajdrych.

Starfire Showcase

The U16 girls played in the Starfire Collegiate Showcase, Nov. 28-Dec. 1 in Seattle — Riptide’s annual trip to expose Grade 9-10 players to the university and college recruiting process. The girls played FWFC Blue, PAC North West Blue and WFC Kootenays of Washington, and the UBC Okanogan Heat of Vancouver.

The team opened Friday with a 2-0 win over FWFC Blue. Savannah Meeres and Kassi Ackinclose of Comox scored in each half. They lost Saturday 2-0 against a strong PAC NW Blue team, but bounced back that night with a 3-1 victory. Kassi, Shea O’donell of Powell River, and Juliette Nimmon of Campbell River all contributed to the comeback win. On Sunday, the girls won 1-0 over UBC Okanogan Heat on a goal by left midfielder Isabella Garrett.

The U18 girls also attended the showcase, where they faced two Washington clubs: UBC Okanagan Jr Heat and TSS Academy out of Vancouver. Going undefeated, the girls played four good games.

The team opened Friday with a 1-0 win over Mount Rainer FC. Abby Duncan of Comox scored off a nice setup from Madyson Harris of Port Hardy. On Saturday, they tied tied 0-0 with rival TSS – the highlight of the tourney. Inara Jhawer of Campbell River, Molly Keyes of Comox, Camryn Cline of Powell River and Madyson all had notable performances in a solid team effort. Later Saturday, the team again tied 0-0 against Pacific Norwest Soccer Club. On Sunday, they beat UBC Okanagan 4-0. Madyson opened the scoring, followed by a natural hat trick from Powell River’s Sidney Elliot.

Several girls played well enough to be approached by a number of coaches. Others like Kirsten Cook of Royston played their best soccer of the year.

“Seeing the teams face stiff competition in each of the games and rising to the challenge each game brings the program forward on the field,” Riptide program director Shel Brodsgaard said. “Off the field, the camaraderie, team meetings and individual contact with the players allows everyone to grow and gain experience.

”These events always raise the level of play and form memories for each of the players that they will carry through the remainder of the season, which makes these experiences even more special. With players from Alert Bay, Port Hardy, Port Alberni, Parksville/Qualicum, Campblell River, Powell River, Comox Valley and Denman Island, each of these trips allows the players to learn more about one another, spend quality time together doing something they enjoy and are passionate about.”