Riptide technical director Shel Brodsgaard, left, is pictured at Saturday’s gala with Award of Merit recipient Sean Arbour.

Comox Valley soccer teams gear up for playoff weekend

MOWI Riptide soccer is winding down league play with two weeks left in the season before the playoff weekend, Feb. 29 and March 1.

Last weekend, the U16 girls defeated Victoria South 2-1. The game was tight, seeing the visitors take the lead early in the game. The Riptide battled back to tie it 1-1 with a goal by Kassie Aickinclose in the 67th minute. The team capitalized on the momentum and took the lead in the 76th minute with a second goal by Kassie and won the game 2-1. The U14 girls played Victoria South at home Saturday, and battled to a 1-1 draw. The girls dominated the first half and were unlucky not to score a second goal leading into the halftime break.

“The weekend stared with two excellent performances by the U16 girls and U14 girls on Saturday (Feb. 8) in two very windy home games,” Riptide technical director Shel Brodsgaard said. “The two teams both played exceptionally well given the weather conditions.”

On Sunday, Feb. 9, the U18 girls beat the U18 Gorge 4-1. The U18 boys beat the U17 Saanich Fusion team won 6-1. The U16 boys lost 3-1 in a road match, and the U15 boys won 7-0 on the road. For the second weekend in a row, the U15 boys played a cross divisional game against a U14 VIPL team and scored a total of 16 goals in two games.

On Saturday evening, the Riptide held its annual gala for players and parents. The guest speaker was Reilly O’Neil from Pacific FC. O’Neil grew up playing for the Campbell River Youth Soccer Association and went on to have an extensive professional soccer career playing at the University of Kentucky and with the Canadian National Youth Team System, and in Germany and Finland. He is under contract with Pacific FC as a first team assistant coach.

Each year, the Riptide provides $500 scholarships to four players selected from the following criteria: academics, community involvement and sport history. The winners were Maddy Harris, Hailey Wingert, Scott Gilfillan and Josh Kalhous.

Leadership Award winners were Hailey Wingert from the U18 girls team and Landon Macleod from the U16 boys.

Sean Arbour won the Award of Merit for his contributions to the Riptide and youth soccer in the Upper Island. Sean has been volunteering for the past 20 years in some form of capacity with the Campbell River Youth Soccer Association, the Upper Island Soccer Association and the Riptide.

”Sean has given from his heart with no hidden motivations for years,” Brodsgaard said. “He thinks of the bigger picture with all his actions, decisions and input. He has been an asset to the local youth soccer community for many years and a valuable part of the Riptide organization. The Riptide will be forever grateful for all of his time and effort to create the program that we have. “

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