The Sooke U14 boys soccer team’s new head coach Andrew Greenwood calls their current season a “Cinderella story.”
Starting in September in the silver division, it quickly became evident that the group, who in one of their games beat their opponents 17-0, was ready to move up to the next level.
“We were basically just walking over all the teams,” said Greenwood.
After winning five straight in round one playing each of the clubs once and outscoring them 47-4 (there are three rounds in a season, followed by the playoffs), the boys shifted to gold in round two. There was a marked difference in speed and skill between the two divisions, and the boys dropped the first game against Juan de Fuca 3-1.
After making some adjustments, the team has gone 3-3-1 in their last seven. A big part of the team’s ability to compete in gold is striker Tyler Duncan whose “lightning fast” speed makes him often untouchable on the way to the goal. The coach didn’t want to discount the rest of the team, however, many who have played together for eight years and do a great job of feeding Tyler the ball while keeping it away from their own net.
“That makes my job a lot easier,” he said, a job that Greenwood is comfortable with having coached a few times in his career starting as a player coach with the Peace Arch Soccer Club. He’s played the sport his whole life, a tradition his son Brady is carrying on in Sooke.
Greenwood joined the U14 boys at the beginning of the season after moving here from Langford with his family in the summer. One thing he has noticed since arriving is the town’s reputation for being the underdog.
“We get no respect, (we hear other team’s say) ‘They’re only from Sooke,’” he said.
“I tell the kids ‘Do not say nothing, go out on the field and let your guys’ game do the talking for you.’”
That’s what they tried to do on Saturday at home against top-ranked Peninsula, but couldn’t match up with who the coach said was the “better team” losing 5-0.
Star-striker Tyler had an issue with his heel that put the brakes on his game, and there were problems in the backfield as well.
“My defenceman, my backline guy (James Lieph) who has got us to where we are keeping people away from our net, didn’t.”
The third goal against came when James botched a clearing attempt that put the ball into their own net.
“It just shows (success is not) a gift for them. They’re going to have to fight for it.”
The loss puts Sooke at about the middle of the seven-team pack. They will have a chance to make things right in January on Peninsula soil their first game back after the Christmas break.