Sports

Chilliwack girls make B-Cup soccer history

Meghan Rose of U15 Chilliwack Attack kicks one past goalkeeper Ava Stautman to score the first goal of the game against the Nelson Selects last Friday at Exhibition Park (final score 4-0, Chilliwack). - Greg Laychak
Meghan Rose of U15 Chilliwack Attack kicks one past goalkeeper Ava Stautman to score the first goal of the game against the Nelson Selects last Friday at Exhibition Park (final score 4-0, Chilliwack).
— image credit: Greg Laychak

In an impressive display of home turf dominance, Chilliwack Attack won medals in nearly every age division last week at the BC Soccer Youth Provincial Girls B Cup tournament, hosted locally by the Chilliwack FC soccer club.

“It’s a piece of history for our club,” said Glenn Wilson, head coach of four years.

The host teams won gold in all three of the most junior categories (under-13 to under-15), and took silver in the under-16 group during the competition July 3 to 6.

Prior to last week’s games, the club had only won a single provincial category in the 30 years of its recorded history.

“And then all of a sudden, we win three in one year,” said Wilson.

The successful medal run follows a similar display in the spring, when the U13, U15 and U16 girls won in their respective Coastal Cup tournament divisions, qualifying them for the provincials. As hosts, the remaining three teams were also entered in the series.

Wilson credits a decision by the club four years ago to improve the development side, focusing on not just the players but the coaches as well.

“At the end of the day our players and teams can only be as good as those that coach them,” he said. “And I think we’re just starting to see the results of that [improvement].”

Looking to get kids playing earlier, the group now has starter programs for seven-year-olds, lowering the previous beginning age from 10.

The head coach said he sees the club being regular contenders in the future, and that the days of winning one division every 30 years are over.

His next goal is to try to achieve the same sort of success on the boys’ side, who did not have a qualifying team this year.

From a community standpoint Chilliwack was very supportive of the tournament, according to Debbie Chand, chairperson of the local organizing committee.

“It went off without a hitch,” she said, adding that both sponsorship and fan support exceeded expectations.

Chand estimates over 2,000 visitors came to Chilliwack for the event, with local hotels booked full, leaving some families to stay in Abbotsford and others choosing to camp.

Saturday’s schedule was arranged to allow three busloads of athletes to travel into Vancouver to watch the Whitecaps beat the Seattle Sounders.

“For the teams from out of town, that was absolutely a highlight,” said Chand.

In other results from last weekend, bronze went to the under-18 Chilliwack girls with a 5-0 victory over the Kootenay South Saints in their final game.

The under-17 team fell short of a medal, taking fourth prize after losing to Nelson on Sunday.

The six Chilliwack FC teams hosted 39 visiting teams last weekend. Teams played their matches at Townsend Park and Exhibition Stadium.

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