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Northwest soccer stars claim gold at 2014 NAIG
Two northwest boys soccer teams finished strong at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2014 in Regina two weeks ago, with the U16 boys team breaking team records and claiming gold, and the U18 boys team grabbing silver.
The teams qualified to represent as Team BC at the NAIG after winning provincials in August 2013, and headed to Regina July 20-27 to see how they stacked up against teams from across the continent.
And they stacked up better than fine.
The U18 boys claimed silver following a hard final match that finished 4-0 for Team Saskatchewan after besting Team Manitoba earlier in the round robin.
And Team BC’s U16 boys played a tough round robin and final against the other top team in their division, the hometeam Team Saskatchewan. The final was close, but Team BC never gave up the lead, and ultimately won 2-1 to claim gold on the final day of events.
“The team played with tempo and grace on the field,” wrote team manager Brian Grant in an email.
Grant said notables on the team were Clark Mathews Jr., who scored in all round robin games, and Team BC flag bearer Joel Patsey who scored a hat trick in the team’s game against Northwest Territories. And on defence, he noted stellar performances by Joshua Wesley and Richard Hillis.
“Great Team effort from this team, destined to be together,” he said. “Coaching was also key to winning. Coach Chris Daniels and assistant Brennan Patsey matched their experiences and prevailed.”
He also made note of the efforts of Toni Muldoe. Muldoe “started all of this with her fiancée Chris Daniels. Toni played a big part in organizing from day one. Her ambition and dedication and manager skills are top notch. Toni got the boys to Seabird Island, BC Provincials 2013 and organized the practices and rides for the teams, and deserves a gold medal as well.”
“We thank those who made it possible to get the team to Regina. The boys families, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and community. The boys were well represented on the team, many Nations in our northern area: Gitxsan, Haisla, Haida, Nisga’a and Tsimshian.”
Team BC broke records, winning the closest medal count matches and slightly beating second place finisher and hosts Team Saskatchewan by one medal – B.C. with 160 medals and Saskatchewan with 159 medals. Team BC also won both the Overall Team Title and the John Fletcher Spirit Award.
The John Fletcher Spirit Award is presented to the contingent that best demonstrates the spirit of teamwork, fair play, respect and integrity throughout the NAIG competition week.