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Class act from Kootenays shine at Umbro Challenge Cup

By Contributor
May 30th, 2014

During the May long weekend, the Boys U11 and U13 Regional squads played at the very well organized Umbro Challenge Cup at Coastal FC in Surrey.  

The U11 squad with players as young as nine-year-old went undefeated in all four games topping their U12 Metro group.

Their first game against a deep Chilliwack Attack U12 team ended in a 4-2 victory with goals from captain Hardy Hutt, sniper Alex Sowiak, the tenacious Nathan Savage, and midfield maestro Callum Cutler. 

A strong performance by the energetic Pax Arrowsmith on the outside of midfield greatly contributed to the boys success in the first came and set the pace for the rest of the tournament whilst his neighbor in midfield Callum Cutler claimed the MVP award for himself.

The second game on the Saturday had the Kootenay squad up against the top ranked and very well established TSS academy team. The Kootenay boys took a deserved I-0 lead midway through the first half on a goal scored by Callum Cutler and carried it late into the second half.

TSS finally slipped one past the nine-year-old Kootenay goalkeeper Matteo Chirico who despite playing three years up put on an outstanding performance, earning himself MVP for one of the best U12 games ever witnessed by the Soccer Quest coaching staff in their 15 year reign in BC.

The lone game on Sunday had the young lads up against an undefeated Coastal FC who play throughout the year in the Coastal League.  The Kootenay boys came away with an unlikely (to those who do not know the up and comers) 3-1 victory thanks to goals scored by Alex Sowiak, Callum Cutler, and lastly a well-earned finish by the hardworking Mark Rimmer.

Unsung hero Oliver Arcuri dominated the center of the pitch with strong support from the solid and consistent duo of defenders behind Andreas Rentke-Watkins and Hardy Hutt, who earned himself the MVP award for the match, behind him.

The final game on Monday had the Kootenay squad against Vancouver United Football Club and the boys came away with another victory, triumphing by a score of 3-0. Goals were scored by the midfield tandum of Oliver Arcuri and Callum Cutler with two.

The Most Valuable Player award for the game was awarded to the young Andreas Rentke-Watkins who won all of his tackles and was finally given the credit he deserved.

This group of players have shown the rest of BC soccer how commitment and hard work can develop into a quality program and the Soccer Quest coaching staff spent a long time answering questions from various coastal club Technical directors, coaches and opponent parents of who exactly these players are and where they are from.

The low in number but large in heart squad of only nine boys were built on a foundation of solid defense from goalkeeper Matteo Chirico and defenders Hardy Hutt and Andreas Rentke-Watkins who allowed the skilled and energetic midfield of Oliver Arcuri, Callum Cutler, Pax Arrowsmith, Mark Rimmer, and Nathan Savage to control the flow of the game and feed their lone striker of Alex Sowiak. 

The U-11 boys showed that the Kootenays can compete at the top level of Metro soccer on the coast of BC and this performance was mirrored by their mentors and friends of the U-13 squad.

The Under 13 Kootenay Thunder Regional team played in the Metro level and were outstanding in their field. Unfortunately, their first game of the weekend had them pitted up against a very strong Coastal FC team who were also the host club and the early game on Saturday morning after a long day’s travel the day before resulted in the boys being caught like a deer in headlights for the first quarter of the game. 

Once the boys realized that they were more evenly matched than they had originally thought the boys settled down and began to play their game.  However, the boys conceded a goal shortly before halftime due to a communication error that is not uncommon to a team that does not get to play together as regularly as their opposition but the boys bounced back in the second half.

The second half saw a determined Kootenay team get back in to the game with a head turning volley from outside the box by Liam Harder. Although the goal gave the boys the momentum and urged them on in what appeared to be an even battle the effects of their commute seemed to take their toll late in the game and Coastal FC scored 2 more goals to run out as 3-1 winners.  The long range strike and strong defensive performance from Liam Harder earned him the title of MVP for the game.

The second game on Saturday saw a re- organized Kootenay team with Noah Kilby moved from the center of defense to center forward who gave the team more pace and a larger target for the defence and midfield to play the ball into feet.

This change worked as Linden Jones played off the big center forward (and former defender Noah Kilby) to get on the end of a precision through ball from Emmett MacDonald and find the back of the net within the first minute of the game.  From then on the Thunder began to roll as the boys controlled the game and amassed a total of four goals for and only one against. 

The newly found striker, Noah Kilby got his name on the score-sheet which were followed by a pair of well taken strikes by the quiet but effective midfielder Fynn Keywood. 

The boys conceded a goal near the end of the game only because of an unstoppable strike by a young Coquitlam Metro Ford striker that should not demerit the performance of the Kootenay defense of Nathan Masini, Luke Taylor, Liam Harder, and net minder Ryder Marzicola.  Although the boys were boosted by the return and great effort of Benjamin Fogal who missed the first game due to illness, the performance by Luke Taylor was undeniable of the MVP award and the centerpiece of the 4-1 victory for the Kootenay team.

Sunday saw the Kootenay team face a local Vancouver United FC team. The Kootenay squad needed a 3-0 victory to insure maximum points and clinch first place in their group but were at a disadvantage as their wall of a goalkeeper was weakened due to sickness but the young man by the name of Ryder Marzicola put on a strong face and rallied the boys in front of him to a 2-1 victory. 

The Kootenay boys kept the ball well and built from the back through another solid game from Nathan Masini and Luke Taylor.  The midfield members Matt Wouters, Max Spielman, and Heiko Ihns put on a great performance which played a significant part in the 2-1 win with both goals being scored by the lightening quick Max Spielman dubbing himself MVP for the game.

The Kootenay boys thus finished second in their group and found themselves in the final against Coastal FC who had previously won the recent encounter on Saturday morning. With the Kootenay players more relaxed after an afternoon at the beach the day before and the tactical changes made within the team the boys came out strong and took the lead in the first half through a long range left footed effort from Fynn Keywood.

Braeden Hessel found his feet in the final and dominated the wings as an impact player being utilized whenever and wherever needed leaving Matthew Wouters to hold the base of the midfield triangle in place and command the field.  The game was very close throughout with very few chances at either end and both keepers doing their jobs. In the last few minutes Coastal FC gained a free kick on the edge of the box and while the referee was talking to the offending Kootenay player the Coastal team took advantage and took a quick free kick catching the Kootenay team off guard and scoring. 

Regulation time ended 1-1 and took the game into penalty shots which Coastal FC took advantage of and scored 3 very well taken penalties.  Although Coastal FC was given the gold and the Kootenay boys the silver the weekend was most definitely a victory as they also turned some heads of their own and made their name known amongst the biggest clubs in BC. 

The boys, although heartbroken by the rough end to such a great weekend, should hold their heads high as they too (in addition to the U-11 team) proved that they can compete at the highest levels in BC soccer and their coaches and parents are very proud of them.

Categories: Sports

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