Three local girls were selected to attend the Star Fire Showcase Soccer Tournament in Seattle at the end of November. Linnea Wrajez, Emily Stober, and Anna Erikson were chosen to be a part of U16 and U17 teams that were attending the tournament. The players on these teams were all from the Whitecaps FC Kootenay Regional Academies, with girls from all over the Kootenays on the same team. The local girls were joined by a number of other players from Nelson, Cranbrook and Trail. The tournament was a test of sorts for the girls, as some of the girls on the chosen teams were playing up an age group. It was also challenging for the girls as they were placed in the top groups at the tournament.
Linnea, Emily and Anna were chosen from a trial at the Whitecaps’ regional east centre, which eventually lead to them getting picked to join the Whitecaps team for the tournament in Seattle. Brett Adams, the Kootenay Regional Head Coach, eagerly commented on the team’s success at representing the Whitecaps, saying “the teams were fantastic. They embraced the Whitecaps style of play and passed the ball with conviction and confidence. Since I have been here, it’s the best soccer I have seen any team from the Kootenays play. We were placed in the A group, the teams in that group are regarded as the best teams in the tournament. Our teams competed as good as any of the teams in the competition.”
On what Linnea, Emily and Anna accomplished, Adams said, “What they can take from this is, to go to a tournament and be placed in the top group and compete with teams is a true sign of just how far they have come.”
He did note the competitive challenge of not being able to train outside all year long like teams from Washington and the Lower Mainland.
Regardless of the challenge, the teams played hard and made Whitecaps proud, said Adams.
“It’s a great platform to go out there and test themselves,” he said. “This is a very exciting time for soccer in the Kootenays. To have professional coaching for the players is only going to grow the game and make the players better. We want to create as many success stories as we can for the Kootenays and over the next few years we are going to see players gaining scholarships and playing college soccer.”
Adams said one of the local girls has already been scouted by a university, and similar success could be achieved by other Kootenay youth soccer players. To try out for the Whitecaps, Kootenay players can contact Adams directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.