The Prince Rupert under-12 boys’ developmental soccer team initiative is paying off in spades already.
Four talented and skilled Rupertites will be off to Nanaimo in July to participate in the B.C. Summer Games to represent the Northwest on the soccer pitch.
Sherangad Sahai, Brendan Eshom, Jarred McMeekin and Kaito Hirai all made the squad after trying out earlier in May and all of them made the team on their first try.
“They made us run laps and then we did stretches and then we did some shooting skills, one-on-ones,” said Sahai at Prince Rupert Middle School last week.
McMeekin was chosen to be a defenceman after the developmental soccer team’s coach Gordan Armstrong imparted some defensive instincts in the youngster.
“He taught me a lot of new tricks, like shepherding, jockeying and that stuff. Don’t always just go for the ball and beat it up, just look for passes on the sides or run it up the sides if they’re giving you enough room,” said McMeekin.
“It was pretty funny, because I was like, ‘hopefully it’s me, hopefully it’s me’ and I was the first person called,” he said.
After half the participants were cut on the first day of the weekend tryout, which was open to any player, the four buddies returned on Sunday to play in a series of games to test the groups’ chemistry.
Eshom, who was picked for left defence, believes he was picked for his physical advantage, being taller than the majority of the players, but also for his talent on the pitch.
“I lean into a lot of people [while playing],” he said.
Sahai, who’s been playing under Armstrong for a few years, believes his stamina and various skills and traits led to him being picked as a midfielder for the prestigious team. Sahai has played numerous positions in the past.
“Building stamina [on the Prince Rupert developmental team] and running with the ball [are my strengths],” said Sahai.
Dominic Strand would have attended the tryout as a goaltender, but injured his finger prior to the selection camp.