Stittsville Hay River claims silver at Junior Super Soccer

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Keira Coakwell, left, of the Stittsville Hay River girls' team chases the ball during the Junior Super Soccer tournament in Yellowknife. The team finished second in its division. James McCarthy/NNSL photo
Keira Coakwell, left, of the Stittsville Hay River girls’ team chases the ball during the Junior Super Soccer tournament in Yellowknife. The team finished second in its division.
James McCarthy/NNSL photo

A team of Grade 6 and Grade 7 girls from Hay River claimed a silver medal at the recent Junior Super Soccer tournament in Yellowknife.

But because the schools in the South Slave were on spring break when the tournament was held from April 24-28, the team was not representing any particular school.

Instead, it was made up of girls from both Princess Alexandra School and Ecole Boreale.

And they wore grey jerseys from Stittsville Soccer that Hay River Elks Soccer received as a donation years ago.

Heather Coakwell, who organized and coached the team with Christy Schwartz, said it consisted of 13 players.

“We were undefeated until Sunday (April 28) when we lost in an overtime final,” said Coakwell. “We had just 30 seconds left in the last half and we scored to take the game to a 6-6 tie, at which point we went into a sudden-death overtime and eventually lost at that point. But it was a great tournament.”

She said she was absolutely pleased with the showing of the team.

“They worked their hearts out,” she noted. “It was a Grade 7 division that we were in even though we had Grade 6 and 7 players.”

Coakwell said the atmosphere of the final game was great.

“The kids were cheering and screaming, and it was a very intense game,” she said. “The crowd was freaking out just as much as we were. It was so much fun. It was an intense game, but well worth it. Even the other coach was like, ‘That was the best game we’ve seen all weekend.’ It was a lot of fun.”

The Stittsville Hay River team was edged out for the gold by the Weledeh Wolves of Yellowknife.

Twelve-year-old Emerson Beck, a Grade 7 student at Princess Alexandra School, mostly played in goal for the Stittsville Hay River team.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” she said of the final game.

Emerson said the team was happy to win silver.

“You could have swore we won gold,” she said.

Christy Schwartz also enjoyed the tournament.

“It was a great group of girls that are quite passionate and, from the start of our practices to the end of the tournament, they all just improved every single practice, every single game, and just poured their hearts into it,” she said.

The co-coach and co-organizer said there were 10 teams in the Grade 7 division.

Coakwell explained that spring break was held in Yellowknife in March and in the South Slave in April.

“They didn’t realize that when they made the tournament, which is fine,” she said. “So we couldn’t have a school to organize a team. So we just kind of put together a team. Kids from any school that were in Grade 6 or Grade 7 could come out, and we put together a team that way.”

The Stittsville Hay River girls’ team was the only one at the tournament from Hay River.

It was supported by Hay River Elks Soccer and the Royal Canadian Legion, which both helped with travel, registration and hotel expenses that totalled between $2,500-$2,700.

Parent volunteers also helped out by driving the players to Yellowknife.

“So it worked out really well,” said Coakwell. “It was a group effort.”

She said the team became Stittsville Hay River because it needed jerseys for the tournament and the Stittsville Soccer jerseys from a community in Ontario were available.

“I think what originally happened was years ago Elks Soccer of Canada had donated old jerseys and whatnot, and sent them around the country, and when we had applied for jerseys years ago they had sent some to us,” she explained. “These jerseys were old, but we had them in the Elks Soccer storage.”

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