Whitehorse Daily Star

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GROWING THE SPORT – The Yukon Selects FC competed in their first Futsal Canadian Championship in Kingston, Ont. April 19-22. They finished with a 1-3 record. Photo by CANADA SOCCER

Yukon Selects FC competes at futsal nationals

With the growing popularity of the sport of futsal across Canada,

By Whitehorse Star on April 26, 2018

With the growing popularity of the sport of futsal across Canada, the Yukon Selects FC jumped at the opportunity to expand their skills by competing at the national level.

The club represented the territory at the 2018 Futsal Canadian Championship in Kingston, Ont. last week.

“I think it was a pretty rewarding experience in terms of gaining insight into the quality of play across the nation and what it takes for a team to compete for the top spot,” Selects goalkeeper and manager Andrew Mott said.

The 2017 edition of the tournament had only three teams, which was more than doubled this year with eight squads from across the country. Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Ontario and Quebec – with two squads – also had representation.

The young club was in tough against teams that have played together extensively in the sport of futsal for many years.

They opened the tournament against two of the top teams, with their first test against Sporting Québec FC. Mott said the team faced some adversity through injury during the tournament. He was put into the first game as it was already in action and he said in his first minute he broke his thumb.

“I kept playing the game and figured I’d deal with it when I got back to the Yukon,” Mott said.

The team lost their opener 11-1.In the second game against Toronto Idolo Futsal – who went on to win the tournament – Mott said two Selects players had to go to the hospital for dislocated shoulders.

“It was intense. I think everybody’s feeling a little worse for wear,” he said.

The Toronto squad won the game 15-2. The Selects team was made up of 11 players varying in age, Mott said. The team had six players in their teens and five players in their 30s.

Team head coach Victor Lavanderos said it was good learning experience for the young squad as they hope to expand the sport in the territory.

“It was an eye-opener for us because we have to work more on basics and defending,” he said. “It was a learning experience for everybody.”

The team finished their round-robin with a 10-1 loss to Calgary Progressive FC to set up a seeding game against Rankin FC from Nunavut.

With the injuries earlier in the tournament, Mott said the Selects had a short bench for the game and were missing a couple of key players. But the team stormed out to a 3-0 lead with two goals from Carl Knickle.

“Had we continued to press the way we had been pressing, we could have increased the lead a little further,” Mott said.

The Nunavut team pushed back with two goals to make it a tight 3-2 game. Facing a little more pressure, the Selects were able to hang on for the victory.

“It was important to get a win and not finish at the bottom and take something beyond just experience,” Mott said.

Lavanderos said the team will bring back what they learned to the Yukon in hopes to move forward with the surging sport.

“That’s the next step, to move forward to go with a league to play futsal. Not just players have to get in the futsal mode, but coaches too and refs,” he said. “I think that’s going to be the focus for a couple months now to make sure we have futsal refs.”

The Selects team isn’t fielding a soccer team for the outdoor season, but Mott said they will instead be focusing on the game of futsal and building the momentum.

“I think there’s a lot of potential for positive growth. There’s a good opportunity for a far stronger squad,” he said.

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