They’ve only played together a few times since starting the team back up again this year, but already the Prince Rupert under-12 rep soccer team has cultivated an identity.
The defensive, let-the-ball-come-to-me style of play.
“They’re always slow to react, those guys,” said head coach Dave Magnusson after two games versus the Terrace under-11 squad Sunday.
“We try and push urgency in them. Terrace is always urgent. When they’ve got the ball, or when they want the ball, they go get it. Our guys kind of wait and play more defensively and just wait for them to come to them.”
While the approach hasn’t served them too well so far — the team dropped the two matches by scores of 4-0 and 5-2 — it’s a habit Magnusson is working on, and seems to be a trend that fits the laid-back Rupert sporting landscape throughout not just soccer, but basketball and hockey too.
“That’s what I was told,” the coach said with a laugh.
“We’re not aggressive kids.”
There were bright moments in the matches, specifically when executing drills that the team worked on the day before.
“They played better in the second half of both games, so they’ve played pretty good considering they’ve only played four games together [this season],” said the coach.
“There’s set plays we were doing. We had a couple set kicks that they did really well on. Their corner [kicks] worked really well too. They’ve come a long way with their corner kicks.”
There was no under-12 team last year, and Prince Rupert Youth Soccer Association creates age-based rep teams based on the number of players interested in an age bracket and the skill level of those players.
This is the first time the under-12 division has had a rep team in two to three years.
Some highlights from the matches included the goaltending and the forward corps, who managed to “tie the second half” of the second game, when Jakob Hall scored twice against Terrace’s two markers to end the half 2-2.
“Our goaltending was pretty good. It could have been a lot worse if we didn’t have [goalies] Jakob Hall and Gavin [Magnusson] both playing well in net. My striker, Jonathan Pirillo, played really good. I moved him from fullback to forward and it was a big difference-maker. All of a sudden we were starting to put pressure on them,” he said.
It was a small squad suiting up on Sunday as most kids were out of town for the summer holidays, but Magnusson did receive a boost in a couple younger players — a 10-year-old and the coach’s other son, eight-year-old Cooper joined the fray.
“They’ve come a long way from the beginning of the year, that’s for sure,” said the coach. The team may suit up again in late August depending on player availability.