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HANGING OUT - The Western Canada Summer Games Boys soccer team travelled to Alberta last week to play in four exhibition matches in preparation for the WCSG. Photo submitted by JAKE HANSON

Soccer team completes exhibitions in Alberta

The boys’ soccer team that will be representing the Yukon at the Western Canada Summer Games were on the move again,

By John Tonin on July 30, 2019

The boys’ soccer team that will be representing the Yukon at the Western Canada Summer Games were on the move again, this time travelling to Alberta for a set of four exhibition games.

The team has been wracking up the travel rewards points lately as they recently travelled to Anchorage to compete in the 33rd annual Alaska Far North Soccer Tournament.

In Alaska, the team had a successful tournament going unbeaten until the finals where they lost in penalty kicks.

The team's first game was against a younger squad from St. Albert. Jake Hanson, who travelled with the boys, said the team had a dominating first two games.

"Our boys overpowered them," said Hanson. "They created lots of offence and kept the ball a lot. In the second game, we leant them one of our goalies so that made it closer."

The second game was played against an older 02 team which the boys defeated 3-2.

"It was a really good game," said Hanson. "It was nice and close and competitive until the end."

Their fourth and final game came against the Edmonton Warriors who, in Hanson's opinion, are the "strongest team in western Canada" and who are trying to qualify for the '07 Nationals.

The boys played a hard-fought game against the Warriors but ended up falling short 3-0. Still, Hanson liked the effort from the team.

"I thought we had a good game against them," said Hanson. "We probably had more chances. I wasn't expecting to see our boys competing at that level. We had some mistakes, some hiccups, but it was the best way to end a trip with some quality competition."

The set of four games was a good way for the coaching staff to see any tweaks and areas of improvement to work on before the Western Canada Summer Games.

"We see what needs to be shored up," said Hanson. "Everyone played and the boys were able to step in to play different positions. Ash (Jordan) was able to make adjustments.

"The boys settled in and knew their jobs and knew how to play."

Often in the Yukon sports scene, the challenges are noted, especially when it comes to the competition aspect and the need to travel to get games in.

Hanson said the team needs to continue appreciating the advantages that being from a remote community offers. The team has trained together for eight years.

"They deserve a lot of credit for pushing each other," said Hanson. "There is internal competition but that is a huge reason why this group is where they are."

The team has the continuity and the trust in each other that is often absent in southern teams.

Throughout their four games, Hanson said, the consistency was always there.

"We played three levels of competition, "said Hanson. "Young, average and outstanding. Our consistency was there. They never played down and they adjusted quickly."

Heading into the Games, Hanson said the team needs to work on capitalizing on their opportunities more.

"Our defence is really strong and the midfielders are moving the ball well," said Hanson. "We are starting to get forward on teams we just need to capitalize now. We would like to score more."

The Western Canada Summer Games are in early August, and will be held in Swift Current, Sask.

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