The girls’ under-13 Woolwich Wolfpack soccer team ended a successful tournament as the finalists at the 25th annual Walter Kirchner Tournament in Woodstock.
Assistant coach Mike Steer said the team had a ton of fun and played excellently, with reaching the finals being a terrific result for the seasonal soccer team.
The tournament is Woodstock Soccer Club’s signature event of the year. Held at Cowan Park over two days, the tournament saw close to 2,000 players from 124 teams – 56 of which were girls’ squads – competing in 16 divisions.
One of the largest teams the area for youth soccer, the Wolfpack girls had a phenomenal outing for their first time attending the tournament, which saw participants from London, Brantford, Kitchener-Waterloo and Hamilton.
While the Sarnia Spirit took the U13 girls’ tournament, Steer said he is extremely proud of the girls and optimistic for the rest of the season.
“We had two wins and a loss in round robin play,” he said of the tournament. “We beat London FC 3-1 in the semi finals and then we lost to a terrific Sarnia team in the final.”
That 5-0 loss came at the hands – well, feet – of an opposing team that was stacked with some pretty amazing players, he said. The team is well on its way to playing L3 next year as they top the London league with a record of 17-0-1.
“We have been having a decent season so far but the Woodstock tournament has for sure been a highlight for us,” he said.
Although none of the girls came away with a goal in the finals at the tournament their top overall team scorer, Jadyn Calder, has been recognized as the ninth overall score leader in their league, the South West Regional Soccer Association.
Each of the goalies have had exemplary seasons, mentioned Steer. In the regular season play Ainsley Milne has posted one shutout while Hannah Moore has a pair.
This was no different in the tournament, where Steer credits their success to the fantastic goal play.
“We had a good round, our two goalies played really well throughout the whole tournament, Hannah Moore and Ainsley Milne who really helped us out a lot, both playing with injuries at the time too. That was key for us,” he said. “We are really proud of making it to the finals in this tournament in Woodstock.”
The U13 girls’ regular season record to date is 5-4, with a +/- average of eight after 19 goals for and only 11 goals against.
The team’s season begins in May, which Steer says is unique to their soccer program and allows the girls to play competitive hockey, ringette and basketball in their off-season from October to April.
“Our girls team is truly a seasonal soccer team. We play at the rep level, but a lot of our girls play other sports in the winter, including rep hockey (ringette, basketball). So we get together early spring to start training, while most of the teams we play against are teams that would play soccer, for the most part, all year round,” he said. “We are kind of proud of the fact that we do offer in Woolwich the unique ability to play other sports in other seasons, and then when its soccer season, we play soccer.”
The seasonal competitive team helps to build well-rounded athletes from a young age and keep the sport fun, he noted.
“It keeps them fresh and energized about soccer, so to speak. They get excited to come and play in April – it is not boring.”
This is the second year the team has been intact, with Steer and head coach Rob Milne – each of the girls turning 13 within 2017.
Steer has high hopes for the remaining season, which will keep the girls on the pitch until September.
“Our current league record is five wins and four losses, but we’re about to go on a big run,” he said. “We have got still a couple of months left in the season and we are excited about that as well.”
The team will be headed to their next big tournament next weekend in Cambridge.