With both teams having a bye, the U14 and U15 Riptide girls soccer teams squared off against one another in a friendly match to open the 2017/18 season last Saturday.
The 14s did not know their opponent had placed second at provincials this year, and their coaches did not want to tell them. The younger team was nervous to be playing their ‘older sisters,’ but the game plan was easy.
“We are here to learn, have fun, and support one another,” said Jerret Dickinson, a member of the U14 coaching staff along with Graeme Sargeant, Claudia Vachon and manager Tara Anderson. “We took any pressure away from the girls and wanted them to just play.”
During the first 10 minutes of the game, the U15 girls scored early to make it 1-0. The butterflies left and the U14s got back to basics. At the 29th minute, the U15s made it 2-0. But the U14s started to play with more confidence, stepped up their physical game and tried to keep pace. In doing so, at minute 33, Savannah Meeres crossed the ball just inside the 18 yard box for Katie Anderson, who sniped it just under the keeper to make the score 2-1.
“You could hear/see the eruption from the parents who went almost Whitecap-crazy along with the girls who thought it was Christmas time,” Dickinson said.
As the second half started the more experienced team began to pursue. The U14s kept pace as best they could but couldn’t hold back their sisters. The game ended in a 6-1 loss, but Dickinson said it was a massive gain in terms of learning.
“The U14s did an outstanding job and left the field with smiles on their faces,” he said. “Call outs go to the whole U14 team who stood on their heads and battled for a solid 80 minutes.”