Over the summer, one Prince Rupert rep soccer team and one Terrace team with a lot of Rupert representation reached the provincial stage down south.
The Prince Rupert Youth Soccer Association’s (PRYSA) under-18 rep boys’ team reached B.C.’s top tourney for the second year in a row (last year they attended as under-17 players).
“[Making provincials in two consecutive years] hasn’t been done for a very long time for a team from Prince Rupert,” said boys’ under-18 coach Peter Riley.
“Especially when you’re trying to build a soccer association as a whole.”
While they didn’t win at the eight-team round robin tournament, having a small bench and not many substitutions, the team learned lots from the play of Lower Mainland teams they faced such as squads from Lake Cowichan, Kelowna, Surrey and the Kootenays.
“You’re competing with teams who play from September all the way through to June in the Lower Mainland, whereas we don’t. Our season’s pretty short,” said Riley, adding that each rep team from Rupert starts up around April for a relatively short three-to-four month season because players often have other sporting commitments to school teams or minor hockey.
“[In the younger rep teams, like under-13 or under-14], I’m hoping they have high numbers this year because when you mould your team, regardless of how you do or whether you make provincials at that age group doesn’t really matter because you’re still developing them as a whole. Then, once you’ve done a year or two with them [on the rep level] and you’ve got them developed, then you’re playing at a different calibre level and then you’re definitely in a position to compete,” he said.
Members of the team that faced off in the Provincial ‘B’ Cup Tournament in Penticton from July 9 – 12 included Gary Sekhon, David Smith, Kevin Cochrane, Cole Marogna, Ekam Sekhon, Kevin Rioux, Tyler Matalone, Karan Gill, Cullen Riley, Paul Cavin, Caleb Perrie, Cody Schaeffer, Jared Carter and Zach Wilson, with Peter Riley and David Beil coaching.
For the under-15 girls’ squad from Terrace, the team held their own facing competition from across the province in Nelson from July 9 – 12. While losing to eventual champion Marpole (Vancouver) in their first game, they earned two ties and two losses playing Marpole, Pitt Meadows, Oak Bay and North Vancouver.
The Prince Rupert contingent included Alexi Armstrong, Emily Cavin, Emily Mair, Hannah Wittchen and Reagan Pomponio, while Gary Peden, Daniel Mercer, Celina Gorerro and Leanne Dejong worked with the team.