Moose Jaw soc­cer team takes in in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - SPORTS - SHAWN SLAGHT

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.”

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