Sports

Provincial B Cup boys' soccer underway in Richmond

Richmond Gunners will play for the Provincial B Cup under-17 boys
Richmond Gunners will play for the Provincial B Cup under-17 boys' soccer title this weekend in Richmond.
— image credit: Don Fennell photo

The future of Canadian soccer will be on display tonight in Richmond when the under-20 women’s national team faces the provincial under-15 boys’ team in an exhibition tilt at Minoru Oval. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Following the opening ceremonies of the Les Sinnott Memorial Boys’ Provincial B Cup, on through Sunday at Minoru and Hugh Boyd parks, the feature match will provide an opportunity to see some of the best young players in the country—some of whom will go on to play for Canada’s senior squads.

“With the U20 World Cup coming up soon, it’s an opportunity for the ladies to play in front of an appreciative soccer audience and for young fans to get some autographs,” says Clive Clarke, who, as a member of the Richmond Girls’ Soccer Association board, arranged the match for the local organizing committee.

“It will be a good match for the ladies to be challenged by top-level strength and quickness, while the boys will also benefit from playing a ladies’ team that is skilled and plays the ball well.”

Coached by Andrew Olivieri, the women’s national squad—which is tuning up for World Cup matches next month in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal and Toronto—features a lineup that includes three B.C. players: Chelseay Harkins, Sessen Stevens and Emma Fletcher, the latter a high-scoring midfielder from Victoria who is coming off strong freshman season at Louisiana State University where she teamed with Richmond’s Summer Clarke to power the Tigers’ offence.

“Emma is very quick and agile and an attack-minded midfielder,” said Clive Clarke.

Youth teams from throughout the province are competing at the Les Sinnott Memorial Boys’ Provincial B Cup for top honours at the under-13, under-14, under-15, under-16, under-17 and under-18 age groups. Richmond has teams entered in each division—Athletics (U13), Seair (U14), Lightning (U15), Athletics (U16), Gunners (U17) and Athletics (U18).

Fresh off their Major League Soccer match versus Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are expected to make a special appearance at the championship Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to noon where a player will be on hand for photos and to sign autographs.

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