Without a Select League to play in for their age group this past year, Wolves coach Steve Betts rallied his players and formed a Comox Valley United Soccer Club U17 tournament team. He added some old faces and brought in three from the U16 division, which did not field a team this past year.
The team started practising in January and first on their agenda was the South Burnaby Metro Club Youth Tournament held March 25-27. Three games were played against some very skilled Mainland teams and although the Wolves were unsuccessful all the games were close.
This was the team’s first opportunity to utilize what they had been working on, which drew kudos from the opposing teams when they learned these were the first games the Wolves had played.
On April 3, the team travelled to Oceanside for the Upper Island Qualifier for the Island Cup. A very physical game was played by Oceanside, but the Wolves were easy 5-2 victors on goals by Ian Betts, Aaron Cambrey, Moise Herringer, Adam Lariviere and Jacob Stewart.
This game determined which team would play the Lower Island for the Island Cup but as there was a scheduling conflict with the date of that game and a tournament the Wolves were playing in, the berth was conceded to Oceanside.
On the weekend of April 22-24, the Wolves went to Vancouver to attend a Whitecaps Team Training Camp. Included in the itinerary was a game against a pre-selected team from the Lower Mainland. It turns out this team went to the North American championships last fall in Florida and came second.
There were also three team training sessions run by Whitecaps staff which focused on speed, agility and power. The Wolves also managed to fit in a highly entertaining Whitecaps FC vs. FC Dallas match on Saturday.
May 7-8 saw the Wolves put their new skills into effect to win the Salt Spring United Youth Challenge Cup in four games. Jordie Serafini, Keith Bystrom, Nathan Tough, Jeff Travis and Aaron Cambrey scored goals in this tournament. Great goaltending by Karlen Dillman allowed only four goals against.
The success of both tournaments could not have been achieved without some excellent defending and passing from Ben Collin, Jordan Hiebert, Riley Murray, Robin Schoenhoff, William Wood-McDonnell and Nate Ruston.
That being said, the final game of the Salt Spring Tournament was just an amazing work of skill by all players. The passing and ball movement was spot on and it was an absolutely superb game to watch. The opposing teams were a little surprised to find out the Wolves had not been playing all season in a league and the tournament director also complimented the Wolves by stating, “You sure have a good team and I enjoy the(ir) sportsmanship.”
On May 28, the U17 Boys played an exhibition game against a team of North Island College Nigerian exchange students. The entertaining game ended in a draw with both teams having a great time.
The Wolves finished their season by participating in the CVUSC 24-Hour Soccerthon held June 17-18. With their coach spearheading the Soccerthon it only stands to reason the boys would get a 3 a.m game time on the Saturday morning – thanks Steve! “Actually, they really enjoyed playing under the lights in the wee hours of the morning,” a team spokesperson said.
“So even without a league, Steve and the boys came through, and gave their parent support group a very entertaining few months. Thanks Wolves.”
For a team photo, check out this story online at www.comoxvalleyrecord.com.
– Comox Valley Wolves