Wool­wich U17 boys and U16 girls each take top spots at An­caster soc­cer tour­na­ment

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - VERON­ICA REINER

A WEEK­END TRIP TO the Hamil­ton area proved fruit­ful for the Wool­wich U17 boys’ and U16 girls’ soc­cer teams, as both cap­tured gold at the An­caster Her­itage Tour­na­ment, one of the largest one-week­end out­door soc­cer tour­na­ments in Canada.

“This tour­na­ment gath­ers one of the [largest] amounts of teams in the year dur­ing the week­end,” said Brandon Lowther, rep chair and tech­ni­cal direc­tor with Wool­wich Youth Soc­cer. “That alone makes it a pretty tough com­pe­ti­tion over the course of that week­end.”

The teams played five games in the tour­na­ment, both fin­ish­ing with a score of 1-0. The U16 girls con­ceded zero goals, and U17 boys only gave up one goal in the en­tire tour­na­ment, noted U16 girls’ coach Ger­ard Douglas.

Tak Shibayama is the coach for the U17 boys’ team for the past two years, with five years of over­all coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“His­tor­i­cally our team in this tour­na­ment, we’ve never won it, and we did this year,” said Shibayama. “The other cool thing that hap­pened is that we broke our shootout curse. When­ever a game is tied in these kinds of tour­na­ments, we never go into over­time; we go into shootouts. And when that hap­pens, we usu­ally lose. But for the first time, we were able to de­feat that curse.”

Shibayama at­tributes the team’s suc­cess to their many years play­ing to­gether and their chem­istry on the field.

“We train hard and prac­tice, we prac­tice the ba­sics over and over again,” he added. “To be hon­est, I’m just for­tu­nate to be train­ing a group of very tal­ented play­ers. These boys have been play­ing to­gether for six or seven years. I just took over the team last year, so this is just my sec­ond year coach­ing with this group of peo­ple. I think the fact that they’ve been to­gether for so long; they just have such good chem­istry out on the field. They’re 17-year-old boys, and they have other hob­bies, an­other life go­ing on, so we try to keep this team pretty re­laxed. So I think it’s mostly the chem­istry and the will to play soc­cer makes them a win­ning team.”

All of the rep teams prac­tice a min­i­mum of twice a week. Each team chooses to go to dif­fer­ent tour­na­ments in vary­ing amounts. Their sea­son has just be­gun in May, mak­ing this a nice way to kick it off.

“I think the one thing we wanted to add to it was that gen­er­ally speak­ing, Wool­wich Youth Soc­cer is do­ing a lot of great stuff,” said Lowther. “We have the host­ing of the On­tario Cup, which is a pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion for the high­est level teams in soc­cer. We’re host­ing the U13 girls’ tour­na­ment round in July which is a pretty big deal.”

The boys’ U13 and the girls’ U17 teams will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the On­tario Cup this year.

“The U17 girls’ team are the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons of On­tario Cup,” added Lowther. “This year they’re look­ing to try to get back to the win­ning round and be­cause the win­ner at U17 goes to the na­tional cham­pi­onships.”

There was also the Canada soc­cer fes­ti­val for house league this past week­end, said Lowther. It took place across Elmira and St. Jacobs.

“We fol­low the On­tario Soc­cer Pro­vin­cial Devel­op­ment Ma­trix for re­cre­ation so there’s a lim­i­ta­tion on how much they can play in a day, and what size of fields they use, etcetera,” added Lowther. “And so we fol­low that as well. At the club, we have claimed our bronze level club ex­cel­lence from On­tario Soc­cer this past year. One of the re­quire­ments of keep­ing that bronze medal is fol­low­ing along in the devel­op­ment ma­trix, and so we do that.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in play­ing soc­cer can do so through the Wool­wich Youth Soc­cer Club.

“We will be open­ing reg­is­tra­tion for the fall adult league this week,” said Lowther. “It will be recre­ational, fun, co-ed, all of the words that ev­ery­body wants to hear so hope­fully they’ll come and play. Even if you don’t have any ex­pe­ri­ence with soc­cer, it’s okay. We’ll still have fun.

“We will be start­ing that league the week­end af­ter the long week­end in Septem­ber. That one goes through right through the end of Oc­to­ber – seven weeks. We skip the Thanks­giv­ing week­end but other­wise, seven weeks is our pro­gram­ming. Sun­day af­ter­noons, 11-5, and just go out and have some fun.”

The Wool­wich U17 boys’ team took gold in An­caster. Back row: Lo­gan Cress­man (coach), Danny Douglas, Adam Chittick, Ben Hay­den , Owen Harnock, CJ Sider, Jack Hale, Peter Holmes, Takuya Sibayama (coach). Front row: Mitchell McNabb, Seth Mor­ri­son, Quinn Kuepfer, Owen Fen­ton, Ryan Par­rot, Ian Naisby, Devin Noble, Brett Springer.

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