Kootenay shines in Seattle rain, impresses college scouts
The Kootenay Thunder earned respect from more than a few colleges and university coached during the Starfire Fieldturf Showcase Soccer Tournament this past weekend in Seattle.
The Thunder finished the tourney with a 1-1-2 record.
“The Thunder team impressed many coaches and teams with one U.S. College coach stating he would take the whole squad if he had the budget,” said Kootenay head coach Dave Spendlove, who runs the regional squad out of the Soccer Quest Indoor facility in Nelson.
The team, consisting of players from throughout the Kootenay region along with a handful of imports from Kamloops and playing in the top division, opened the tournament by playing to a scoreless draw against Seattle Legacy.
According to Spendlove, “Kootenay outplayed their American opponents in all departments but could not get the ball in the net.”
Kootenay kept its goal-scoring drought alive in a 0-0 tie against Semiahmoo Scorpions of White Rock.
Saturday afternoon the Thunder, playing its best half in two years, edged the Sun City Strikers 2-1.
Kelsey Martin of Kamloops gave Kootenay a 1-0 lead. Martin converted a rebound off a Kootenay corner kick, depositing the ball quickly into the net after Sun City failed to clear the zone.
Sun City tied the game ten minutes into the second half.
However, Nelson’s Andrea Stinson, a thorn in the side of most teams during the tournament, was hauled down inside the penalty area.
Stinson calmly collected herself before converting the penalty kick.
The only blemish on the weekend came Sunday during the rain when Kootenay lost 1-0 to MRFC of Portland, Ore.
The only goal came when the game referee incorrectly gave an indirect free kick inside the Kootenay penalty area for a pass back to the keeper.
MRFC quickly took the kick and beat Kootenay keeper Kat Garbula of Nelson.
“The Referee apologized to the Thunder coaching staff at half time saying he did not really see what happened on the pass back incident but made a quick decision which later his line assistant told him was wrong,” Spendlove explained.
“The incident cost the Thunder their only loss of the weekend but the Thunder should still have won the game again not taking their chances in front of goal.”
The tournament attracted more than 40 scouts from various U.S. colleges.
This is the second time Soccer Quest has taken a team to Seattle.
Next tournament for Kootenay is the Vancouver Whitecaps Showcase event March 2012 in Vancouver.