This weekend saw all of our 2015 Development Teams in action for the last time this year

Our U10 (2006) team took the field on Friday night at CNC to play a selected Soccaskool U11 squad. We deliberately selected a strong U11 squad to set up a good game and to challenge our U10 development group to the maximum. The U10s rose to the challenge beautifully, playing some excellent soccer and keeping possession of the ball for long periods particularly in the opening 30 minutes. It took a while, but once Liam netted the first with a stunning strike from the edge of the box, more goals began to follow.

Incredibly, the U10’s raced to a 6-0 lead ! However, this prompted a response from the U11s, and they battled back to make it 6-4. The U10s made the mistake of becoming embroiled in a physical contest against an older team, which is always very difficult to win. In the end though, the U10s were able to regroup, compose themselves, and resume playing great, quick and simple soccer. Once that happened, they were able to regain control of the match and add a final goal to make it 7-4 final score.

All in all, a very exciting match to watch with some great quality on show. Notable performances from captain Sam, as always, and from Charlie P in his new holding midfielder role.

Our U11 (2005) team travelled to Salmon Arm on Saturday to take part in Salmon Arm’s Youth Soccer Association’s Indoor Tournament and to play a year up against the TOYSL teams of Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Vernon. The opening game of the day was against Kamloops and we were given a glimpse of things to come for the rest of the day, as we faced a bigger, stronger, faster opponent who looked to take advantage of their physicality at every opportunity. Kamloops pressed the ball very hard to try and force us into errors, they played the ball long and early to make use of their speed. They crowded our box and dumped the ball in there whenever they could. This direct style can be difficult to play against, but we maintained our composure and our philosophy of wanting to play good soccer and possess the ball. This was to our eventual benefit, as we came out on top with a 2-1 win, courtesy of a late strike from Kai, which followed an earlier debut goal from new boy Reese. In the second game, we faced the exact same scenario against Salmon Arm. This time, however, we saw what happens when you play against teams like this when you are not at your best ! In a below par performance after lunch, we failed to make good decisions when under pressure resulting in some sloppy play. As a result a strong, determined, highly motivated, older TOYSL team took full advantage and we fell to a 4-0 loss.

Determined to bounce back after a disappointing loss the team showed great character to put in there best performance of the weekend with a convincing win over Vernon who had earlier recorded a fine 6-0 win over Salmon Arm. With these earlier results in mind Vernon could have considered themselves strong favourites to beat us and go ahead and take the gold medals. Our boys however had different idea`s though, and from the opening whistle set out to prove that we were a much better team than our previous result had suggested. Vernon literally could not get the ball from us, as we dominated the game from start to finish, playing some beautiful soccer. We created chance after chance with our quick and simple passing, this coupled with some very good controlled possession provided some real entertaining soccer. Notable performances from captain Koen, U10 player Sam, and rock solid Steve as we ran out 2-0 winners following goals from Jackson and Saion. Other results went our way afterwards as well, as Salmon Arm failed to beat Kamloops, meaning that we won the tournament. Despite one poor performance in the middle, and being at least one year younger than our opponents, our boys totally deserved their gold medals and we were very proud of the way they played. Well done everyone !

Our U12 (2004) team also went to Salmon Arm on the Sunday to compete in the U13 version of the same event. Once again, we were faced with an older, bigger opposition that played with a more direct style of play and looked to use their physicality to maximise their opportunities against us. This was perhaps best demonstrated in our opening fixture against a Kelowna United team which were a much bigger team than us. This was certainly an entertaining and exciting game of contrasting styles of play and game plans. As always we endeavoured to play a good brand of soccer, possessing the ball and trying to create space and channels to work in. With the game going back and forth and closely contested we went 1-0 up following a great strike from Daxton and Kelowna equalized from a corner kick. Kelowna United took the advantage after half time and established a 3-1 lead. We however regrouped and regained control of the match and fought back to 3-3 following some great soccer. Kelowna scored late on a breakaway to make it 4-3 and we worked extremely hard pushing for an equalizer in the dying seconds and came agonizingly close, hitting the underside of the bar. From here Kelowna went straight down the other end and made it 5-3 with the last kick of the game. A fantastic game, which was closely contested. The next two games were very tame in comparison as we ran out comfortable winners 9-1 and 6-0 against Salmon Arm and Vernon respectively. Kelowna did the same of course, although not quite so convincingly as they only narrowly beat Salmon Arm 2-1. Subsequently we finished in second place with our younger group of players missing out by the “width of a cross bar“ from winning the tournament.

A very pleasing effort and execution all weekend with notable performances on the day from Daxton, who was very impressive, Grayson, who gave the opposition plenty of problems. Devin, who stuck to his task very well against an opponent twice his size in the Kelowna game. Not forgetting Koen and Kai, who both got on the scoresheet playing two years up !! Well done everyone

A big thank you also to the Podollan family, who made us welcome at their beautiful Salmon Arm hotel for the weekend…..much appreciated !