Moose Jaw soccer team takes in international experience
I thought, competitively were right there.”
The second place finish was good enough to qualify for the playoffs, where they met Ontario’s Heads United Spartans. The Spartans finished second in the D bracket with two wins and one draw while only allowing two goals against.
While the Moose Jaw squad put together a valiant effort, they just couldn’t handle the Spartans as they dropped an 1-0 decision on penalty kicks to knock the Excelsior out of the tournament.
“I though we played well enough to put ourselves in a position to win. It just didn’t go our way that day,” said Jones.
On Tuesday, the girls got off to a quick start to the round robin with a convincing 3-0 win over Minnesota’s Lakes United FC.
“That really boosted the confidence of the girls for the rest of the week just knowing that we could now compete with we some of the teams because we took a team down that half was under-15 and we were playing in the under-20 division,” Jones said.
They kept a hectic schedule as they went straight to the opening ceremonies and didn’t get back to their hotel until later that night with another match early the next morning.
A tired crew then dropped their only round robin decision to Euro FC Brigatto 3-2 on Wednesday.
“I felt we played fairly decently once we settled in and then we had to win our next game on Thursday to get into the A-side bracket,” Jones said.
They wrapped up the round robin with a big 1-0 win over EPSC Eagles to qualify them for the playoffs.
Even though the Excelsior only faced teams from Minnesota and Canada, there were also other international teams, including squads from Spain and Mexico.
“We had seen the Cayman Islands and a Mexico team and the passion they bring,” Jones said.
“Every shot that went in, they were excited about, and every shot they missed was like the end of the world so that was pretty cool and the girls got to see that.”
The tournament had 1,168 teams compete in dozens of age categories at the 54-field National Sports Center and adding to the excitement for the girls, it included playing for international referees and pin trading.
“One of the highlights for the players was a pin-trading thing that is really big down there,” Jones said. “We went ahead and had some Excelsior FC pins made and the girls were able to go and trade them. I think that was an experience just how competitive the pin trading is. Some girls got really into it and got pins from around the world.”