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PLAYING AS A UNIT - The Lions played in the North Shore Girl’s Soccer Tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend. Photo submitted by JOHNNY NUNAN

Dawson City Lions girl’s soccer team brings home valuable lessons from B.C. tournament

The Dawson City Lions girl’s under-13 soccer team travelled down to northern Vancouver for a tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend and grew as a unit.

By Dustin Cook on October 25, 2017

The Dawson City Lions girl’s under-13 soccer team travelled down to northern Vancouver for a tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend and grew as a unit.

Head coach Johnny Nunan said going in the team didn’t have experience playing as an 11-member unit and never played against such stiff competition.

The team didn’t win a game, but that’s not what mattered for Nunan.

“Sports is more than winning and losing,” he said. “The growth of these girls as athletes was outstanding.”

This was the second trip for the team to a tournament, Nunan said, after competing in a Maple Ridge tournament in Sept. 2016.

“We blew everyone away,” Nunan said of the tournament where the team played eight aside at the house league level.

For this trip to the North Shore Girl’s Soccer Tournament, Nunan said they wanted to challenge themselves by playing 11 aside for the first time and jumping up two levels, to the silver division.

In order to finance the trip, Nunan said the team fundraised everything by selling raffle tickets and bagging groceries for months.

“We work for the trip, that’s what life is about,” he said.

The Lions started out the tournament with a massive 11-0 defeat, which Nunan said upset and discouraged the team.

But they continued working throughout the tournament, not giving up, and improved in every game they played.

They lost 4-0 and 2-0 in their next two games, the latter a very close game that included a penalty kick goal, Nunan said.

In their final game of the tournament, the Lions scored their first of the tournament and led for three quarters of the match.

They ended up losing the game 3-1, but Nunan said the improvement from the team in such a short amount of time was the real win.

“Learning how to play as a unit in that time was remarkable,” he said.

Coming from Dawson City, Nunan said the team doesn’t have experience playing high-level games and the talent level they have with just a small pool of people is incredible.

The 15 local girls on the team he said also vary in age so the team was a lot younger than the teams they were playing in the tournament with five 10-year-olds and even one nine-year-old.

Playing in an under-13 tournament a lot of the team was two to three years younger than most of the teams they were competing against.

This is common, Nunan said, because of the smaller population of athletes and they wouldn’t have been able to field a team of all 12-year-olds.

There were a lot of firsts for the team on the trip and although they didn’t came back with a win, Nunan said there were more valuable lessons brought home, that they will take with them to the next tournament.

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