One of the largest soccer events of the season in the province will descend on the city this week as Kelowna plays host to the B.C. Soccer Girls Provincial B Cup.
Kelowna United will be represented by teams in five of the six divisions as close to 900 players and 46 teams will compete at the Mission sports fields from Thursday, July 5 to Sunday, July 8.
United will field teams in the U13, U14, U15, U16, and U18 divisions.
Kelowna U14 coach Rob Johnson said his team is looking forward to a intense weekend of competition on its home soil.
“I think the girls are really excited about the opportunity,” said Johnson. “They’ve never been to provincials before, and it’s always a really good experience the first time around.
“Playing at home may add some pressure, but it’s also going to be nice for them to have family and friends around.”
The U14 girls went unbeaten during the regular season before losing in the TOYSL final.
“The girls worked hard and had a good, strong season,” Johnson said. “At provincials, it will be all about who comes to play, because I think the skill level of all the teams will be fairly close.”
Here’s a look at opening day games for Kelowna clubs:
• U13 United vs Saanich FC—9 a.m. @ Mission 73
• U14 United vs Powell River—9 a.m. @ Mission 68
• U15 United vs Terrace—3 p.m. @ Mission 69
• U16 United vs North Coast—3 p.m. @ Mission 71
• U18 United vs Gorge FC—1 p.m. @ Mission Turf
The United U16 girls hope they’ve saved their best for last after finishing third in league play, then winning back-to-back playoff games to take the TOYSL title.
Coach Jim Elwood says it’s hard to know what to expect at provincials, particularly because many of the teams are unfamiliar with one another.
“It’s always a little tricky, you could be playing a weaker team but a break here and there, and games can go either way,” said Elwood. “That’s soccer.
“The ultimate goal is for the girls to play well, have fun and get them all to come back for next year. They really have found out what it’s like to be part of a team this year.”
The finals in all divisions will be played on Sunday, July 8.
For more information, visit www.bcgirlsprovincials.com