For the first time in youth soccer history, Pemberton and Whistler will be fielding an Under 18 girls’ rep team in the North Shore wing of the Five Districts Representative Soccer League. They will play against teams from the North Shore, Burnaby, Vancouver, Richmond, Ladner, North Delta , Tsawwassen, White Rock, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, New Westminster and Mission.
The team will play as the Whistler Valley United Spartans, and includes four girls from Pemberton and 12 from Whistler.
The team played its first game this past Sunday in Burnaby, and eventually defeated the home team 2-1. It was a tense second half after a second Whistler goal was called back because of an offside call, but the girls made it back to take the win.
The squad includes Nancy Bayly, Brynne Benbow, Hilary Carrell, Alisha Cherry, Lauren Edwards, Kristi Hemingson, Cele Jones-Smith, Kyle Kirkegaard, Lisa Laird, Eleanor Messeguer, Brooke Milne, Chelsea Norman, Elise Rose, Kathryn Williams, and Emily Wright. The head coach is Bernard Messeguer, who has also worked with successful Whistler Secondary teams in the past.
“I’ve worked with some of these girls for four or five years, mostly in house league, but this is the first year I’ve taken it to that level,” said Messeguer. “We had a tryout way back in May, and a group of girls from Pemberton and Whistler tried out.”
The first game was tough because of the heat, but Messeguer is not expecting things to get any easier as the season progresses into the fall and winter months. Because of the limited number of athletes in Pemberton and Whistler, the Spartans have three players that are 14, several players that are 15 or 16, and just five players that are 17. Most teams from the Lower Mainland will be comprised of mainly 16 and 17 year olds.
“It puts us at a bit of a disadvantage, but the girls are doing great,” said Messeguer.
Whistler teams will continue to play in the Squamish house league through the fall on Saturdays, while the rep team will play on Sundays through the fall and into the winter. Their last game will be in late February or early March.