Scoring the winning goal in one of the biggest club soccer games in B.C. this year was a big deal, but school still comes first for Whistler's Will Robson.
Robson is in his second year in Architecture and Building Engineering at BCIT, and in his spare time he plays soccer with the West Vancouver Football Club's Under 21 team. That means two training sessions and one game every week, playing year-round through the winter months.
This season Robson helped his Under 21 club to win the title as the top team in the very competitive Vancouver Metro Soccer League, scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Surrey in the final.
Robson's team was favoured to win the provincial Under 21 title, but lost last weekend to Rino's Vancouver — a team they've beaten before. Robson did play games for the club's premier team during the regular season, but is inelgible to join them as they continue their own pursuit of a provincial title.
Right now Robson isn't looking to take soccer any further than the club level, but he hasn't ruled it out, either. B.C., and especially Vancouver, play host to some of the best amateur soccer in Canada right now and with the addition of a professional Major League Soccer team in the Vancouver Whitecaps, there are opportunities in Robson's own backyard to go to the next level.
"If the opportunity to play professional soccer came up I would definitely consider it, but I feel that focusing on my education and playing soccer whenever I can is what's best for me right now," he said.
Robson is one of a group of Sea to Sky soccer players that have risen up the ranks in the sport, playing together on regional and tournament teams and winning titles against older, more established squads. Robson would train and play in Squamish through the winter with players from around the corridor and play league games in the Lower Mainland.
Robson said it was fun growing up in Whistler and playing soccer here, usually with his dad as his coach, but when he started to take it more seriously it meant spending a lot of time on the road.
"The high school team was always a fun team to play with because you were always playing with your friends — and although it wasn't overly serious the team was still usually pretty good," he said. "However, because there was a very limited amount of teams in Whistler, my parents would have to drive me to Vancouver three times a week so I could play with some higher level teams. It was sometimes tough to keep doing that, but I'm happy I kept at it, considering all the people I've met and the opportunities playing soccer has give me.
"My teammates were always surprised when I told them I was from Whistler, but I wouldn't have wanted to grow up anywhere else."
Scoring the goal to win the Metro title was a highlight this season, but it wasn't the only one for Robson.
"This was the first year that the WVFC organization put a team into the U21 Metro League and I wasn't sure how well our team was going to do," he said. "But our coach Leo Nash always expected a lot out of our team, and we were able to win the league and the cup in our first year playing together. The way our team was able to go from never having played together to being the top team in the league within a month or two was definitely a major highlight. I feel pretty lucky to be a part of this team, it's definitely one of the best teams I've been a part of."