Three South Cariboo soccer players are shooting for a win at the Les Sinnott Memorial Boys Provincial Cup this week.
Griffin Carmont, Matthew Keller and Isaac Todd, who are playing for Williams Lake FC on the U16 team, will compete in the tournament, formerly called the Boys Provincial B Cup, at McArthur Park in Kamloops July 7-10.
Williams Lake FC head coach Grant Gustafson said he’s “really excited” about the tournament, noting this was the first year since COVID-19 that his team was eligible.
Gustafson, who has been coaching soccer for over 10 years, said he has been coaching a lot of the players since they were about five. Many of them started in the Future Stars program, an under-nine and under-10 soccer training program for those wanting to move on to Rep programs.
“I’m expecting us to go, represent our town and do the best we can,” he said.
Gustafson said practices have been going well, noting they played a couple of exhibition games against other Williams Lake teams. He said it’s been tough to find games because there are no Quesnel or Prince George teams for them to play against this season.
The majority of the teams in the tournament are from the Okanagan or from the Coast. “Most cities are bigger, have played more games and Vancouver teams are nearing the end of their season,” Gustafson said.
However, he said his team has many individual strengths.
“Griffin is a tough, tenacious d-man. We’re looking for him to shut down the other team’s attack,” Gustafson said. “Matthew is a skilled midfielder. We’re looking at him for distribution and leadership. Isaac is a quick utility player that we’re going to swap around to a few positions where we’re going to fit him in.”
The team’s first matchups will be against Kamloops Blaze, CMF Porto and Saanich Fusion FC, while Nelson Selects, Pinnacles FC, Langley United Rathor and Richmond FC are also in their division.
Meanwhile, Timothy Lake resident Amelia Whiting played for Quesnel’s Youth Soccer Association U17 girls team, the Quesnel Strikers, last weekend.
Gustafson is also the assistant coach of the Williams Lake FC U18 girls team. Two girls from the South Cariboo, Megan Holyk and Julia Siclari, are on the team, but Siclari did not play in provincials due to injury.
Both the Williams Lake FC and the Quesnel Strikers played at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West in Burnaby, June 30 -July 3.
Williams Lake FC finished 7th overall. The team finished with losses against Kamloops Youth Soccer Association, VAFC Venom and RFC Vikings and a 2-1 win over Kelowna United.
“It was really close. Anyone could have come first,” Gustafson said.