Coach Andrew Bowler watches as Hannah Meerdink and the rest of his team receive their good sportsmanship medals. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Coach Andrew Bowler watches as Hannah Meerdink and the rest of his team receive their good sportsmanship medals. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Fun comes first at year end Prince Rupert youth soccer tournament

Tournament at Charles Hays lets kids showoff what they learned during the year, take on parents too

Charles Hays Secondary was the scene of the Under-10 Youth Soccer Tournament on Saturday, June 22, with every young player in Prince Rupert coming together to celebrate another successful season.

While coaches still called out instructions from the sideline, the focus was less on keeping score and more on having fun and building a love for the game. This was reflected in the post tournament medals, handed out for good sportsmanship rather than for results.

The Coast Remax Mountains squad takes a team huddle during Saturday’s tournament action. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Kristina De Araujo, U-10 division coordinator and organizer of the event, said instilling a fondness for soccer is always priority number one.

“My son and his whole school play at lunch time, the school that I work at all plays at lunch time,” said De Araujo. “I think days like this are fun because they’re still friendly. If they’re having fun, they’re happy.”

READ MORE: The DP World GoalGetters soccer camp returned to Prince Rupert July 9-13

Kids were split up into six teams for the event, playing three games against other squads. This was followed by the always popular parents versus kids game, where the adults could put their talents to the test against their young proteges, (occasionally with humbling results.)

Kids get the opportunity to teach their parents a thing or two in the youth versus adults game. Here Riley Murphy dribbles the ball with Kyle Yaroshuk in pursuit. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Andrew Bowler spent his day coaching the Mission Health and Wellness sponsored team. All the coaches are volunteer parents, and Bowler said he performs this role in hopes of inspiring the next generation.

“When the kids have fun then they get passionate about the sport, and then they want to keep on playing,” said Bowler. “Soccer was my big sport growing up, so I’m hoping to pass on that passion that I have for it.”

READ MORE: Whitecaps soccer camp kicks off on the North Coast

For those kids who develop this passion, there are a pair of summer camps coming to Prince Rupert where they can showcase their skills. The DP World GoalGetters soccer camp will take place July 8-12, followed by the Vancouver Whitecaps development camp coming to town from July 29 to Aug. 2.

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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