The Kootenay Whitecaps U16 and U18 male teams played in the Portland Timbers Alliance Showcase and proved to be tough competition.
The U16 team finished second out of 16 teams. Losing their first match, they went on to win three straight games.
“They did very well, we had high hopes for them going into it, but they over exceeded our expectations by the way they played. They were very mature and experienced in everything they did. You would think we go these events every week the way they played,” said Kootenay associate head coach Sam Heap.
After the first loss, Heap said the team bounced back quickly. During the showcase, they scored eight goals and conceded three.
“We beat some very good teams on Saturday,” he explained, adding the team beat state champions the Portland Westside Timbers 2-0.
“The U16s were a very exciting group to watch. Some of the stuff they played was the best we have seen from a Kootenay group. They were very good at possession with the ball. They were dangerous and threating, Everything we want to see from our players.”
The U18 squad didn’t get a win in the competition, however, they were defensively resilient. The group they were in included Oregon and Idaho, who are state champions.
“We had chances, probably could have got something out of a couple of the games. They were unlucky to go 0-4, but when you don’t take chances that is what happens,” said Heap.
Even though they weren’t in the win column, all of their games were lost by a single goal. In two of those games, it was on the last kick of the game.
“It was frustrating because to come away with four losses looks bad, but it doesn’t tell half the story. They put so much work right into the games. To be honest, they deserved a couple of things out of it, but it just wasn’t to be their weekend,” said Heap.
The showcase was a good way for the players on the teams to get their name out there and be recognized by scouts.
“We will use a lot of the footage we have taken so they can make highlight packages together and send them off to their targeted schools and colleges,” said Heap, noting he had conversations over the weekend with scouts and coaches about the players.
“It seems to me that we are getting a little bit more known … now we are going down and people are approaching us, they have already heard of us,” said Heap.
The teams will now have to gear up from April when they attend the SX Collegiate Showcase in Vancouver.
The players are going to take a month off and be back to work as they prepare for the next showcase.
“Definitely the biggest tournament in Canada – showcase event. It’s probably one of the biggest ones in North America. So, we need to be geared up for that. It’s probably going to be the biggest test our players have ever been to,” said Heap.