In their final tune-up before the 175-team Slurpee Cup in Kamloops this weekend, the Prince Rupert under-15 select girls’ team are in fine form.
The team defeated Terrace earlier in May 3-1, and then the practice squad topped Terrace 2-1. It’s all part of the developmental process from a team that came together approximately a month ago.
“[They’ve improved] leaps and bounds, it’s been incredible,” said head coach Gordan Armstrong.
“We started the program last year since the soccer season was so short here in Prince Rupert, we wanted something so the kids could play competitive soccer [longer] … their soccer season has about tripled in length [going into September].”
The Slurpee Cup hosts teams from all over B.C., Alberta and even the United States and it’s a terrific chance for the Prince Rupert teams to get some top-level competition that they may not get otherwise staying in the North.
“It’s the first time these girls will ever see competition this size,” said their coach.
The under-12 boys team will be heading to Kamloops as well, and Armstrong thinks they’ve got a fighting chance to do as well as any of the other squads participating.
“They’re very consistent. They’re dedicated as soccer players and they come out to everything. Then there’s probably about 15 other boys that come out on occasion because it’s developmental, it’s open to everybody and it’s just about keeping kids interested in improving in soccer.”
The coach added the same rule applies for the girls’ under-15 team, which is made up of mostly 13-year-olds with a few 14-year-olds and 12-year-olds mixed in. The younger ones practice with the team so they can help make a smooth transition when the older members graduate from the program in the years to come.