This past weekend a local team of U12 boys surprised the competition at the first annual Vancouver Whitecaps FC Soccer Tournament in Surrey by going undefeated with convincing wins in all four games. In its first taste of competition out of the North Island no-one really knew what to expect from this team. “We know our boys are talented and have been working hard through our various rep and development programs,” said coach Gerald Fussell, “but we have had no way to measure how we stack up against teams from the lower island and the rest of the province.
In their first game, the U12 Red Devils faced Peace Arch Fury, a team that had won the first half of their season and had gone undefeated in the second half. The Comox team started out tentatively but defended well. Half way through the first half the team started to push back and when the game was over the Comox team had won 3-0.
The team’s second game was against a U13 team “that was huge.” The SFC Golden Boots won their first game 7-0 and stunned the Comox team with a goal in the first two minutes on an incredible shot from range. The boys dug in and built momentum from the back line and by half time were leading 3-1 by using speed and tenacity. The Golden Boots came out firing in the second half but the Red Devils held firm, absorbed the pressure and won the game 3-1.
The team’s third game was against CCB Junior Ronaldos, The winner of this game would play in the finals on Sunday. The Comox team started well, but a misplay on a corner kick resulted in a Ronaldos goal. Again, the boys battled from behind building on stingy defense and the result was another 3-1 win for the Comox Valley Red Devils.
On Sunday the team found themselves in the feature game against home side Surrey Stallions, F.C. a team that already had a 12-0 victory in the bank and were the early favourites to win the tournament. Comox came out ready to play and scored 2 goals in the first 5 minutes. The boys continued to play hard and by the end of this physical and spirited match, the Red Devils team had a dominant 6-0 win.
Seven of the twelve boys on the team scored goals and the defense was absolutely solid. Every game they played better individually and as a team also their conditioning paid significant dividends as they were able to outwork and outrun all of their opponents.
“We are really impressed with the speed with which these boys have come together as a team and with how hard they are working to play the best soccer possible,” said coach Andrew Duncan. “This was a team we put together specifically to play in a couple of tournaments off the island and we are looking forward to the next game action for the boys in the Kamloops Slurpee Cup on the May long weekend.”