Whitehorse Daily Star

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CELEBRATING SILVER – The Whitehorse FC Avalanche U11 team took home the silver medal at a Thanksgiving tournament in Burnaby, British Columbia.

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KICKING TO VICTORY – Avalanche captain Chris McCarron (left) races for the ball against the host Wesburn Revolution. Whitehorse FC won the game 5-2 with McCarron scoring a goal, adding to his team-leading total of four goals in the tournament.

Avalanche takes second in Burnaby tournament

The Whitehorse FC Avalanche under 11 soccer team brought back some hardware from a Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Burnaby, British Columbia.

By Dustin Cook on October 10, 2017

The Whitehorse FC Avalanche under 11 soccer team brought back some hardware from a Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Burnaby, British Columbia.

The team competed in the Tier 2 competitive division of the tournament, finishing with three wins and one loss to take home the silver medal.

Head coach Grant Zazula said the core of the 14-member Avalanche team has played together for two years.

“They deeply care about each other and want to do well,” he said.

This wasn’t the first time the team went down to Burnaby to participate in the annual Thanksgiving Gobbler tournament hosted by the Wesburn Soccer Club.

Competing in the U11 division, Zazula said the Avalanche were younger and smaller than the other teams because half of them are nine, with even two eight-year-olds on the team. The other three teams mostly had larger 10-year-olds, Zazula said.

The team competes hard, Zazula said, and they have coached them to leave all their effort on the field.

“For us, it’s not just about soccer. We’re trying to build good kids that are hard-working and put a lot of pride into what they do,” he said. “We tell them to go out and play like it’s the last time they’re going to play the game, and they do.”

Following their flight down to B.C., the team took on Vancouver United FC in a friendly warm-up game, which they won 8-3. The Vancouver team is developed under the Whitecaps FC Academy so it was a big test for them, Zazula said.

The tournament started early the next morning with the Avalanche taking on the North Delta Royals in an intense and rough affair, with Zazula noting he had to run out onto the field and pick up a few of the Avalanche players a couple of times.

“The first aid kit came out a few times,” he said as a result of bloody knees.

But Zazula said after being knocked down the team kept getting back up and grinded out a 2-1 victory. Team captain and striker Chris McCarron scored both goals for the team and Zazula said he was likely the smallest player in the entire tournament.

“Seeing them fight through that adversity was awesome,” Zazula said of the opening win.

The Avalanche then went on to defeat the host Wesburn Revolution 5-2 before again playing the Royals and winning 5-4.

In their final game, Zazula said the tired team wasn’t able to pull out the victory against the Maple Ridge Albion United, who went undefeated to win the tournament, losing 4-1.

Zazula said overall the team is happy with their result and the silver medal.

The Avalanche are now transitioning to the indoor game, Zazula said, with practices starting up and they plan to attend a tournament in January.

The core of the team will stay together throughout the winter and will be back on the outdoor pitch in the spring.

“We’re really excited about the future and seeing what these kids can do,” Zazula said.

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