Sir Alexander Mackenzie Secondary School (SAMSS) co-ed soccer team was thrilled to win third place at the zones tournament held in Prince George Oct. 15 to 17.
“Seeing the younger generation give it their all for us Grade 12s in our last year it was cool to know this team is going to go on to be pretty energetic and successful for sure,” said player Finn Carlson, 17.
Most of the team members have played together since Grade 5 and 6, he added.
“Because we are such a small-knit school we really know each other a lot better than some of the teams from a bigger city. We play basketball together, we play intra-murals together, we do track and field together — we see each other every day,” Finn said. “We have good chemistry, one could say.”
In addition to helping the team win third place overall, Finn took home player of the game in the first game, Nicholas George in the second game and Hayden Nygaard in the third game.
Coach Alex Boileau said had there been a best junior keeper award, Grade 9 player Ewan Koroluk would have taken it home.
“He did really well for being in Grade 9 up against Grade 10, 11, 12 players,” Boileau said. “He is a young guy who wanted to play goalie and stepped up this year.”
Boileau also praised Shayleen Mack, 17, for being an awesome leader off and on the field.
“She was really inspiring the girls to play. That’s huge having someone like Shayleen.”
Aside from Bella Coola, teams came from Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Prince George, said player Kyle Doiron, 16.
“We go every year, except last year because of COVID,” he added.
Kyle said it was great to finally win a medal.
“Normally we are going for last place so to compete for a medal was really good.”
This year there were 22 players on the team spanning Grade 8 through 12, said player Nicholas, noting 18 of them travelled to Prince George for the tournament — 14 young men and four young women.
Soccer gets started once school is in session in September and Shayleen said to prepare for competing they divide the players into two teams and play in an annual ‘mud ball tournament’ and compete for first and second place.
“And occasionally we will incorporate another local team — from Acwsalcta School — with players on our team and we just play for fun,” Shayleen said.
Boileau thanked the team’s manager Sara Burgess who was a huge help to him and the team this year and said it was ‘amazing’ how well the team did considering there was no soccer league or winter drop-in.
“They really had to pick up after a 19-month absence from soccer,” Boileau said.
“We made over $3,000 on the We make U bake pasta fundraiser. Nathaniel Schooner and Thompson Beloin were the team’s top two fundraisers.”
He also thanked Sara Burgess for being the team manager, Brad Beloin for his assistance during the games and chaperoning along with Kerry Boileau, Jules Pelletier and Nicola Koroluk.
“Leonard Kozak was once again an amazing bus driver,” Boileau said, noting he also wanted to thank Kristina Knudsen, School District 49, board of directors, James Waddell for organizing zones and all the organizations and community for their support.
Boileau said he was very proud of the team ‘who gave it their all.’
“This year was a special year.”