By Ian Eakins
The Clearwater Secondary School (CSS) girl’s soccer team is having a great season this year.
We started with a few indoor practices and only two outdoor practices before our first tournament. The snow melts off our fields much later than any other team that we play. Our first soccer tournament of the year was in Hope and our team played great.
CSS came second place in Hope in a tourney of 15 teams. That was a strong showing with five wins and one loss. Two of the wins came in shoot outs, which is a stressful, unpredictable, but exciting way to win a game. CSS worked hard in all the games and never let up.
We got into the finals for first place, but lost to Merritt 1-0. That early tournament helped them get ready for their league play.
Next in line, we had five league games and I have been impressed with the level of play. The team is getting better with each game and we have four wins and one loss so far. In our first five games, we beat Chase 2-0, Kamloops Art School 3-0, Barriere 1-0, and St Anne’s 2-0. The only loss was against a very strong and talented team from Ashcroft 5-1.
Our best game of the season was against St. Anne’s. The ball was passed with confidence and we kept a lot of pressure on their team. Being first to the ball in soccer is so important and the players are getting better at that.
Our second tournament was in Clearwater in early May. There were 11 teams in town and they came from all over the province—Burns Lake, Abbotsford, Prince George, Merritt, Hope, 100 Mile House and other teams. It was an excellent competition and we ended up coming in 4th place.
On the first day we won all four games with a 1-0 score in regulation time. On the second day, we tied both games and went to shoot out both times. This time we were not as lucky as in the Hope tourney and we lost both games, one to a strong team from Abbotsford, who ended up winning the tourney and the second loss was to Nechako.
Overall, it was another excellent showing by the team. Our record for this season is now 13 wins vs four losses.
We placed 2nd in our league and had a to play St. Anne’s in order to go to qualify for the Zone playoffs. The game was held in Clearwater and our team prevailed with a 1-0 win. It was not a pretty game. It was scrappy, but I give credit to the team as they ground out a win against a strong team.
We have a large team this year with about 24 players, which helps us a lot in tournaments when we play numerous games in two days. Many of the players are in Grades 8 and 9 and show a lot of skill and drive. This is because they have come through the community soccer program from a young age and arrive at CSS with good soccer sense.
The community soccer program has improved the level of soccer in town and is feeding the high school teams with some skilled players. Our defense has been exceptional this season (12 goals against in 18 games) with a new goal keeper, Cierra Gallager, who has been amazing in goal – 13 shut outs this year. She plays this difficult position with confidence.
Our D team is led by Ahmae Eakins and Annika Wadlegger, who are co-captains of the team and play an aggressive game. They have played together for many years and work well as a tag team defense. They are supported by the talented group of Vienna Wadlegger, Emma Collins, Cadence Busse, Makayla Breda, Kawi Creed, Martha Taylor, and Kiah Phillips.
Midfield has been impressive this year with some young and dynamic players – Cassidy Tucker, Mackenzie Ross, Julie Simard, Emma Watson, Hanna Macdonald, Sage Barstow and Bailey Murray. Our strikers have a lot of speed this year, which keeps the opposing defense honest. We have scored 25 goals in 18 games. Leading the charge is Claire Arduini, Laci Hancock, Aubrey Levington, Hailea Hughes, Rio Earle, Madi Clark, and Alexus Parlby.
We cannot forget our new manager we brought in from Slovakia on a one season contract, Reka Csefai, who has been a positive addition to the team. The coaching team is Darren Coates, Ian Eakins, Ryan Wilkes and Tod Phillips and a big thanks goes out to them.
On a final note, I want to say what a wonderful group of young ladies this team is. They are cheerful, positive and have a fun time together. They have fun on the bus to and from the games and fun on the field. It is a pleasure to be a part of the coaching team.
Now we are off to Vernon in mid-May to play some very strong teams.