As noted comic strip philosopher Calvin observed to his friend Hobbes one summer night, “If your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously reexamine your life.” Such an attitude has served Woolwich Youth Soccer well: the organization’s U11 boys and U16 girls teams, which both triumphed at recent tournaments.
On July 6-7, the boys won three games out of four at the Barrie Soccer Tournament and took home championship medals. The girls went undefeated at the Stratford Tournament June 15-16. Both coaches had nothing but praise for their squads.
“We were thrilled, because this is the third year in a row the girls have won it, which is incredibly unusual,” said coach Steve Sider of the his U16 team.
“They never give up. We had a game the other night, they were down 3-1, and they scored two goals in the last 10 minutes. That’s the way they work – they don’t get down, they have a great attitude, and they work really, really hard.”
Of the attributes of his U11 boys, coach Clare Cressman said, “Desire and hard work, with quite a bit of talent mixed in… It was probably the most energy I’ve seen from them. This is my second year with this group, and it was probably the most energy I’ve seen from them in a game.”
The girls were up first in Stratford, tying a 0-0 game with Wilmot, before beating Stratford 2-1 and Middlesex 3-2. The streak continued with their championship game against Leamington, which Woolwich took 1-0.
“The majority of these girls have been playing together for at least six years, so they know each other really well, and they have just gelled as a team,” said Sider, who has been head coach for the last three years.
“For the last three years, they’ve been in a more competitive league. The first time we were in there, we were in the bottom third of the league; last year we were in the middle third; and this year they’re in the top third.”
The boys were up next with a similarly successful tournament in Barrie. For their first game, the boys beat Barrie with a 7-1 victory, and then lost 3-1 to Sarnia. The third game saw them regain their footing with a 3-1 win over Byron, before clinching the championship with 1-0 in a Sarnia rematch. Cressman said that the rematch did not threaten the team’s morale.
“These guys don’t worry about anything, and they’re not afraid of anybody – they just go out and play,” he said. “Based on how the game went Saturday, we knew we had a decent chance if a couple of breaks went our way.”
This weekend, the U16 girls will play their first south-of-the-border tournament in Rochester, New York, and Sider thinks their chances are good.
“They’ll be playing against some topnotch American teams, and I have confidence that they’ll be right in the thick of those teams,” he said.
With regular league games still ongoing, the U11 boys will next see tournament action in Woolwich, August 10-11.
There, the team will put into action its philosophy of soccer: “Just work hard and have fun,” said Cressman. “Almost all the players playing as kids aren’t going to make a career out of it, so make it fun.”