The Vancouver Island Wave soccer team won the BCSPL Premier Cup on June 23 at the Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey, B.C.
The team featured two Yukon Select FC players who made their mark as the Wave won their third consecutive championship.
Callum Weir and Joe Hanson, both 16U athletes, were the two players from the territory who helped the wave to the win.
Weir, a goalie from Haines Junction, posted two clean sheets during the playoffs. He shut out Fusion FC in the quarter-finals as the Wave downed them 3-1.
In the semi-final match, he gave up one goal to Mountain United but the Wave still cruised to a 3-1 win.
The championship game was played against Coastal FC and the Wave downed them 2-0.
In winning, Weir becomes the second goalkeeper from the territory and Haines Junction to win a B.C. Championship.
Ole Heath became the first local soccer player to win British Columbia’s Top Division Soccer Championship when in 2017 he played with Mountain United.
Weir said Heath was one of his best friends growing up in Haines Junction and that it was a cool feeling to know that he and Heath are the only two goalies to win B.C. Championships.
Weir got the call after the Vancouver Island Wave lost their goalie, whom Weir described as the best goalie in the league, to a broken wrist.
“The team made me feel so welcomed,” said Weir. “The D was really strong in front of me.”
Upon joining the team, Weir said, the team made him feel welcomed but he could still feel the pressure when the games mattered most.
“I could tell there was a lot,” said Weir. “It took a lot of mental strength, and I had to keep myself in the game.”
When the referee blew the whistle and the game was over Weir said it was an amazing feeling.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Going down and playing with some new players, it was so sweet to help them win their third consecutive title.”
Having a Yukon teammate made the transition to the B.C. team easier, said Weir.
“I’ve played with Joe since I was six and seven,” he said. “It was nice to see him play well. It was awesome because I know how he plays and I trust him when he gets the ball.”
Hanson typically plays centre striker for the Selects, but mostly played on the left wing for the Wave.
Although he doesn’t have much experience playing with the Wave players, he said, he enjoyed some good practice with them as he joined them a month or so before playoffs.
“I fit in well and really enjoyed it,” said Hanson. “It was pretty cool. I’ve never won a provincial title before so it was cool to see how excited everyone got and to see all the fans.”
Fans, Hanson said, are often a rare occurrence for the Yukon team.
“It seemed like every player (from B.C.) had at least one family member cheering for them,” he said.
Although the Wave won the final 2-0, he said, it did not come without some adversity.
“I was happy we pulled it off because there were many times I didn’t think we’d pull it out,” Hanson said.
“We didn’t have a good first half and did not get many chances. We weren’t pressing and they were coming at as hard.”
Hanson said he relishes the hard moments in a game.
“I love the competitive feel,” he said. “The adversity and the hardship makes winning that much sweeter.”
During the Wave’s playoff run, Hanson said, he was able to carry the ball well and attack, as well as set up scoring chances. He credits his training in the Yukon in helping him step up in the championship.
“Training in the Yukon helped a lot,” said Hanson. “There are so many opportunities to train and touch the ball, and there are so many great coaches.”
Up next for the two Yukon players are the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current, Sask. Both said playing with the Wave will only make them stronger contributors to the Yukon team.
“There was a lot of valuable lessons learned,” said Weir, “ and it is going to help put the Yukon on the podium.”
“It was helpful to get those extra games in,” said Hanson.
“I think I will be a better leader and now I have more experience to help myself and the team prepare.”