By Keith McNeill
Clearwater Secondary School girls soccer team hosted a 12-team tournament for the Raiders Cup last Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, and ended up fourth overall.
Darren Coates, the CSS principal and one of the coaches, described this as a good result for the team, as it has many Grade 8 and 9 players and only a handful from Grade 12.
“One of the things we are really starting to improve on is ball movement,” Coates said. “The girls had stretches of game play where they were able to distribute the ball with purpose and linked together four to six passes in sequence.”
Clearwater’s first game of the tournament was also an important league game against Barriere, which the local squad won in regulation time 2-0.
Players who significantly improved their game included Mackenzie Ross and Jasmine Carr, who are really starting to dominate the middle for CSS. Cassidy Tucker played both in the middle and in the net and logged the most playing time of any of Clearwater’s Grade 8 players.
“Our backline (defense) players logged huge mins (minutes) and anchored the team all weekend long,” Coates said. “Ahmae Eakins, Natalia Biagioni, and Annika Wadlegger hardly stepped off the pitch through five games.”
Clearwater coach Ian Eakins noted that the only goals against CSS during the tournament were penalty kicks and a shootout, which showed the strength of the defense.
According to Eakins, no other secondary school in the B.C. Interior has regulation-sized soccer fields. Clearwater has two of them.
“And they’re immaculate. The visiting teams are impressed,” Eakins said.
Eventual tournament winner was Westside. Other teams taking part included Hope, Fort St. James, Nechako, Northside, Merritt, Kumsheen, Lillooet, Abbotsford and Peter Skene Ogden.
Eakins was awarded a lifetime achievement award during an awards ceremony held after the tournament for his decades of coaching soccer in Clearwater.