Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

MAKING THE WALL – Liverpool Reserves player Rhys Faragher (centre) jumps as the Riverdale Football Club player takes a free kick. Goalie Sean Macdonald (right) prepares to make the save Sunday in the Insomnia Tournament championship game at Vanier.

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Photo by John Tonin

TEAM CELEBRATION – Members of the JBD team embrace after winning the women’s championship game in the Insomnia Tournament Sunday at Vanier.

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Photo by John Tonin

Image title

Photo by John Tonin

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Photo by John Tonin

There was no sleep for the soccer players

There was no time to sleep over the last weekend of 2018 as the annual Insomnia Christmas Tournament got underway at the Vanier Secondary School gym.

By John Tonin on January 3, 2019

There was no time to sleep over the last weekend of 2018 as the annual Insomnia Christmas Tournament got underway at the Vanier Secondary School gym.

Alejandro Pulido has been organizing the Insomnia Tournament for about ten years now but says the event has been going on for years.

“It started off as a Canada games fundraiser for one of the boy’s teams in the early 2000s,” said Pulido. “Each year we try and do a little bit more. Unfortunately, we had a good friend pass away a couple years ago, but it has brought the community even closer together and also allowed us to put even more effort into the tournament.”

The friend that passed away was Donny Richardson, whose name adorned the back of many jerseys worn by the players. The Liverpool Reserves team, named after his and his friends’ favourite soccer team, all played with Richardson across their backs.

Pulido was a member of the Reserves who won the men’s tournament in a back-and-forth championship game that went to overtime.

“I’ve been playing in the tournament since 2006 so it’s nice to get one under the belt,” said Pulido. “It feels amazing, every time we were these jerseys we feel proud to wear him on our back, it feels great to get one for him.”

The Liverpool Reserves defeated the Riverdale Football Club (RDFC) to hoist the tournament trophy. The game had everything you would want from a championship game.

The tournament on a whole is face-paced, as four players aside, plus the goalies, fly around the court which is sectioned from the bleachers by wooden boards. The men’s championship game was even played at an even quicker pace with the added sense of urgency with a championship on the line.

“Any time you use these boards it’s super fast paced and physical, that’s sort of been the style of the Insomnia tournament since I’ve been organizing it,” said Pulido.

The tournament on a whole is face-paced, as four players aside, plus the goalies, fly around the court which is sectioned from the bleachers by wooden boards. The men’s championship game was even played at an even quicker pace with the added sense of urgency with a championship on the line.

Players went flying into the boards and got pinned against the walls. The lead changed numerous times leading to the necessity of an extra frame. In the overtime, the Liverpool Reserves were able to get two goals past the RDFC keeper to seal the win.

The women’s final preceded the men’s final and they too put on a show for the sellout crowd at Vanier. JBD kicked-off against the Western Canada Games (WCG) girls. The game was an aggressive low scoring affair.

The team’s traded goals in first half action, then it was the goalies time to shine the rest of the way as both made key saves for their teams at pivotal moments of the game.

JBD got the deciding goal late in the second half off a pass across the goal mouth leaving the WCG goalie out of position to stop the ball as the JBD player tapped it into the open net.

Pulido says champion Sunday is always a great day for everyone who comes down to watch the games.

“Every year, man every year.”

The tournament features players returning home from college or university for the holidays, young players like the WCG team and players who have been playing for years.

Pulido said the tournament is always looking to grow and attract new players. This past Insomnia tournament had eight women’s teams and seven men’s teams, whom all played a full round-robin before deciding a champion. It is a lot of soccer packed into three days, truly for the insomniacs.

The tournament most valuable players were the goalies for both championships teams Emily Hoefs and Sean Macdonald.

There was a three-way tie for the honour of the men's top goal scorer. Boris Hoefs, Domo Pehar, and Robin Stacey each had eight goals apiece.

On the women's side Abby Rich, Madison Pearson, Christine Moser and Camille Galloway each had seven goals to tie as the women's top goal scorers.

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