Local youth soccer players were out of the classroom and out on the pitch Friday (Oct. 19) as the Whistler Youth Soccer Club held its second annual Professional Development Day Tournament for U12 boys and girls.
More than 200 players from the Sea to Sky corridor and beyond were in action for the one-day tournament, which saw Whistler teams holding their own against top-level competition.
“We invited some Gold (tier) teams that we had never played before because we usually play against Silver and Bronze,” said Whistler girls’ coach Philippe Melun. “We thought we could get smashed or crunched, but we did awesome. The girls did really well.
“It was a really good test and we were very proud of them.”
Whistler entered three girls’ teams into the six-team draw, which saw two Gold and one Silver team from North Vancouver in the mix. The Whistler No. 3 team held two of the visiting teams to scoreless draws in round-robin play, while Whistler No. 1 would have reached the tournament final if not for a late goal conceded against the North Shore Dynamites.
Whistler No. 1 ended up topping Whistler No. 3 in the bronze-medal game, while Whistler No. 2 beat the North Shore Maseratis for fifth place.
There were just two Whistler teams entered in the boys’ tournament and they wound up facing each other in Friday’s third-place game, with the Avalanche No. 2 squeaking past Whistler No. 1 for bronze. The Squamish Storm won in overtime over the Squamish Dynamites to take first place.
Avs win Community Cup quarter-final
The top players from Whistler’s three girls teams on Friday assembled on Sunday (Oct. 21) to start off the North Shore Youth Soccer Association’s Community Cup with a 5-0 victory over the North Shore Mustangs.
The quarter-final win put the Avalanche through to the semifinals of the single-knockout U12 ‘A’ girls’ tournament.
“We were very happy,” said Melun, who is also involved with coaching the Community Cup team. “The Cup is challenging because if you lose, that’s it. You’re done.
“We’ve got two more games to go to get the championship.”
Whistler carried the play through a mostly-scoreless first half until Irie Smith broke the deadlock. Smith scored again to make it 2-0 early in the second half and open the floodgates. Mila Wittenberg netted a pair of goals from outside the box, while Gigi Kranjc completed the scoring.
Smith shared the shutout with fellow goalkeeper Gabby Flynn. Other team members included Amy Romano, Arabella Ng, Charlotte Feagan, Jen LaFreniere, Jenna Tobias, Syndy Lovell-Schmidt and Victoria Saldat.
Whistler’s semifinal will take place on the first weekend of November. Should the team advance, it will have to wait until February to play the division final. Another win would guarantee that the team matches the result from last season’s Whistler U12 squad, which finished second.