This is one of those times of the year which could be termed a championship season. The Stanley Cup final is providing the main excitement in this area of the world of course, but other sports, like the NBA, are also determining winners. Meanwhile, followers of soccer have seen championships decided recently at both the international and local levels…
Overseas in English soccer, teams from Manchester this year scored a double win in claiming the two most prestigious trophies. Manchester City won the FA Cup for the first time in 35 years. On the same day, manager Sir Alex Ferguson saw his powerful Manchester United team clinch the Premier League championship for a record 19th time.
Another soccer title was decided last weekend, when United was in action again, playing in the Champions League final. This time though the English team had to settle for second, losing 3-1 to a Barcelona squad that claimed the European Cup for the third time in six years.
Locally, last month marked the end to another season of youth soccer. Top league teams from the various boys’ and girls’ divisions were recognized at the recent Nanaimo and District Youth Soccer Association awards night. It was my pleasure to assist with medal presentations to the winning coaches and team players.
Dealing with top boys’ teams this week, we’ll start at the U13 level. There, the first-placed team in league action could take pride in going undefeated this season. On the championship squad were players Jackson Marshall, Bradley Bater, Andy Reynolds, Ayden Holme, David Hildebrandt, Ben Parker, Stephen Martin, Quin Christopher, Liam Schilberg, Raul Canto-Nobelo, Aaron Paetkeau, Quinn Middleton, Jaden Paetkeau, Daniel Doukakis, Ryan Trassolini, Sean Becker, D.J. Smith-Hodgson and Darian Mant. Dave Reynolds was the winning coach, with Jamie Fletcher the team manager.
Runners-up in the U13 league were the Nanaimo Bravehearts, coached by Liam and Marianne Roden, assisted by Ben Streifel and Rob Jakobsen. Team members included Jordan Cox, Evan Garrow, Daniel Goodman, Keegan Jakobsen, Robert King, Tiernan Kingzett, Tyler Lucente, Matthew McCamon, Jackson Mize, Mitchell Nelson, Colin Olson, Thomas Roden, Carson Rumley, Isaac Sandri, Quinn Tannar, Kevin Theobald and Euan Wilson.
Third overall on the season went to the U13 Thoz Guyz coached by Ted Olynyk.
In the boys’ U14/15 league this season, first place went to the Nanaimo Silver Celtics. Alan White coached the squad, aided by assistant coach John Vos and team manager Wendy Vos. On the winning team were players Callum Richardson, Josh Powell, Ben Daniel, Robby Manj, Kaleb Graham, Christian May, Spencer Vos, Heath Dean, Gavin Cameron, Ross Trebett, Logan Thompson, Jake Goodman, Madison Boond, Garrett Livesey, Ryan Walerius and injured team member Curran Hunter-Jongsma.
Second place went to the Blue Storm team of Nanaimo, coached by Max Ascui and Dale Nagra. On the pitch were team members Nicolas Ascui, Braedan Zimmer, Philip Denhoff, Brent Miller, Nicolas Grueneklee, Jason Roodbol, Cameron Vallee, Brenden Johnston, Max Norcutt, Theo Lee, Andrew DeGroot, Max Cadillac Molson, Steven Olson, Kreston Lance, Trevor Zonneveld and Shaan Nagra.
Taking third place in the boys’ U14/15 league was Cam Scott’s Nanaimo team.
Champions in the boys’ U16/18 soccer league this season were coach Mick Sampson and his Nanaimo team of Colton Cosgrove, David Sampson, Manvir Purewal, Darian DeGroot, Peter Foyd, Jake Dean, Tony Huynh, Callum Baird, Jeff Vezina, Ryan Loggia, Amandeep Parhar, Cameron Pettit, Tim Mathews, Sabastian Walenciak, Nikolaus Lunny, Jordan Murray, Nicholas Teran and Enrique Jimenez.
Second in the league was a Port Alberni squad, while third place went to the Cedar Silvers coached by Geoff Donnelly and Peter Richmond.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.
Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.