When the Courtenay Imports showed up in Kamloops for the B.C. Day long weekend they knew two things; it was going to be hot and that fun was about to be had.
It turned out the weather wasn’t the only thing heating up the soccer field as the Imports walked away with the Kamloops Invitational Soccer Tournament trophy, beating out Drake and Macefield of Kamloops.
Playing in their second Kamloops Invitational, the Courtenay Imports defeated tough competition to claim the top prize. They beat out Edmonton Athletico 3-0 and Stolo United 6-0 then ran into some trouble with Drake and Macefield in the round robin, losing 3-1.
That single goal scored by Joe Butcher on a penalty kick proved crucial as it gave the Imports the goal differential needed to get into the playoffs.
Once there, the Imports leaned heavily on captain Adam Amlani and he didn’t disappoint. With his tireless work effort and playing a more attacking role, he left tournament MVP Gokhan Avcil and Joe Brooker to defend and distribute the ball.
This new formation saw the Imports walk away with a 4-0 win over North Ireland of Edmonton. Butcher stepped up and collected a hat trick with Owen Hart getting his third shutout of the tourney. The steady backline was strong throughout the tournament, making life extremely difficult for opposing strikers.
The final was a rematch against Drake and Macefield. The Imports looked to prove a point after having played poorly in the teams’ previous meeting. The Imports came out firing with Mason Walker and Sean Kerrigan working the wings, and they almost were rewarded when Kerrigan was inches away from connecting onto a cross by Walker.
The Imports felt a goal was coming and in the 22nd minute Amlani had an open net after some great work by Walker to make it 1-0. Dakota Garrett then came on to man-mark and talk the ear off Drake and Macefield’s striker.
The strategy worked until the 50th minute when a mix up by the Imports left the game tied. It didn’t remain tied for long with Butcher answering minutes later, making moves only seen by a ballerina, and placing the ball into the back of the net. Two cart-wheels and a six-shooter later, the team swarmed him.
Anxious last minutes saw Drake come close, only to be dealt with by Grant Mcleod and Carl Bjarnason. The final whistle went and the boys from Courtenay pulled off the win.
The Imports would like to thank Rick Olson for years of dedication and coaching, their sponsors, Mason Walker Re/Max, Sure Copy, Eco Peak Web Strategy and Windsor Plywood for all their support.
For a team photo, check out this story online at www.comoxvalleyrecord.com.
– Courtenay Imports