Whistler Youth Soccer Club (WYSC) teams were no turkeys on Thanksgiving weekend, bringing home multiple tournament titles and great results overall.
Eight Whistler squads were on the pitch altogether over the holiday, with the U18 and U13 boys’ teams attending the Richmond Thanksgiving Soccer Tournament.
The U18 Avalanche won their first two games in the Bronze division by a combined 14 goals and then went on to win the tournament.
The U13 squad went undefeated through its first three matches to reach a championship final against the North Vancouver Fury. Noam Steele gave Whistler an early 1-0 lead, but the Fury replied with goals in the 20th and 37th minutes. The Avalanche took home silver medals after they stormed the goal in the second half but couldn’t net an equalizer.
Six Whistler girls’ teams were among the 100-plus at the North Shore Girls Soccer Club’s Thanksgiving tourney, and the Avalanche U13 squad captured top spot in the Silver division.
The team went 3-0 and did not allow a goal in round-robin play, then won Monday’s (Oct. 8) final over the North Shore Tigers, 3-1.
“All the coaches were very impressed by the way the girls played, as they can only train four months a year, so we had a big disadvantage against the Lower Mainland teams,” said coach Phil Melun. “But our local girls are very athletic (and have) great sportsmanship, and it made a big difference.”
Whistler’s U16 girls also won their tournament, going on an impressive run to the title. The team went a perfect 3-0 to win its pool of four, then beat the Storm 2-1 in the final to take the title.
Playing in the U14/15 Bronze division, the Whistler U14 girls finished in third place after toppling the North Shore Cheetahs 6-0 in their last game. Five different Avalanche players scored in the victory.
Whistler’s U12 girls also had a thrilling tournament, taking the silver medal in their Silver division. The team had a win and two draws in the round-robin to make the final, where they fell 2-0 to the Surdel Force. Whistler nearly tied the game when they hit the crossbar late in the second half, but surrendered another goal late in the match.
The Avalanche U18 girls knocked off the North Shore Blue Thunder by a 3-2 score in its final game on Monday, which put Whistler fifth for the tournament. The U11 Whistler girls earned some great experience playing up a division against U12 teams and played well against some stiff competition.
After a tremendous first season, Whistler Youth Basketball will return to the hardcourt on Tuesdays next month.
The program, run in conjunction with Steve Nash Youth Basketball, saw high participation numbers last winter and is looking for interested players in Grades 4 through 7 for the coming season.
“We had a great first season last year with all sessions being full,” said program director Alan Kristmanson, a former Olympian and member of the Canadian men’s national team. “The kids improved tremendously throughout the year and, more importantly, we had a lot of fun.”
Weekly sessions begin Nov. 13 at Myrtle Philip Community School, with Grade 4 and 5 players on the court at 5:15 p.m., followed by Grade 6 and 7 ballers at 6:45.
The program is also seeking more volunteers to become certified coaches. Last year, Whistler Youth Basketball held a coaching clinic led by women’s national team coaches Allison and Mike McNeill, and Kristmanson is expecting them to come back this winter.
“We had lots of parents step up last year to assist, and we are always looking for more coaches,” he said. “We look forward to Allison talking to our kids about their Olympic experience in London this year.”
Players and coaches can visit www.whistlerbasketball.com or call 604-935-1128 for more information.