With local soccer players unable to train and play through the winter months, Whistler’s young footballers don’t have the opportunity to play many teams outside the corridor. Most teams generally play in a league with Squamish and Pemberton teams in the fall, and in the Green River league in the spring.
The one exception for young players is tournaments, and on the Thanksgiving weekend Whistler’s Under 14 team, the Winter Eagles, finished third overall at the North Shore Girls Soccer Thanksgiving Tournament.
The Winter Eagles lost their first game to a North Shore team that went undefeated to win gold, but tied their second game and won their next two matches to tie another team for second. With an equal number of wins and losses, Whistler was relegated to third overall with one fewer goal scored in the tournament.
The same team won silver in the Kelowna Canada Day tournament in their category.
Coach Boyd McTavish credited the team’s performance to the strong competition they get during league play from the Pemberton Timberwolves team. Pemberton competed in the Under 15 category.
“The strength of Pemberton brings up our game,” said McTavish. “Squamish is not as tough, but they have a rep team that plays in the Lower Mainland that draws away a lot of their top players. Still, it’s pretty competitive for soccer in the corridor, and we’re producing teams that can play anybody.”
Most of the Under 14 girls, who are also coached by Stephane Delage, have played together for several years, although some have been playing less than a year. Many of the same girls will play on an Under 14 team that will join the Squamish winter league for the first time. There will also be a boys’ Under 14 team in the winter league, and an Under 18 team girls rep team from Whistler and Pemberton that will play in the Lower Mainland.
More than 100 teams took part in the North Shore tournament, ranging from ages 11 to 18.
The Under 14 team includes goalie Berit Beattie, Emily Larochelle, Esme Christensen, Jennifer McTavish, Katrina Underhill, Alicia Longstaff, Erin Bonin, Ramona Seidler, Sydney Calder, Emma King, Averi Willis, Sierra Farr, Kerri Ann Hamilton, Jacqueline McKinnon, Eliane Taillefer, Meaghan Burko, Maddi Delage, and Emily Cankovic. Sydeny Calder was picked as the team’s MVP.