Nelson teams cleaned up at the EKC Sam Steele youth soccer tournament this weekend, but the host KEYSA Rovers were able to lay claim to some medals.
Six teams out of the West Kootenay town won gold, but the hosts came away with two silvers in the U13 girls and the U16 boys divisions.
Based on the accumulation of points, the U13 team took silver with a record that included three wins and one loss in four games.
The girls opened with a close 2-1 to the eventual champions, but rebounded after that to win the rest of their games.
“It was a very exciting weekend,” said U13 girls head coach Mike Fox. “We played Nelson—they’re sort of a rival—and they beat us 2-1 and after that the girls got their nerves all settled down and we went on to win the rest of the games.
“The competition around here has increased, but the girls had fun and came out with the silver, so it was great.”
The U13 Rovers, which has players from Cranbrook and Kimberley also brought in some younger players for substitutes, who kept up and played well against the older opposition, Fox added.
Following Nelson, the Rovers went on to beat the KSYSA Storm 2-1 to close out their games on Saturday. On Sunday, the team didn’t allow a goal as they won 2-0 over the CV Titans and 4-0 over the Creston Blitz.
In the U16 boys division, the Rovers took the Nelson Selects to a 1-1 draw to open the tournament, but lost 2-0 in the final for their silver medal.
In between their two games, the Rovers also fell 2-1 to the Creston Blitz, but rebounded with a 2-0 win over the KSYSA Storm.
“We played definitely the best we’ve played all year,” said U16 head coach Pete Campbell. “It’s the first time this group of boys have been together.”
Campbell added the team, which has a first-year goaltender, has made big improvements since the beginning of the season, with help from Sam Heap, a local academy coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“Now, they’re playing like a team, passing the ball around, not the kick and run game,” said Campbell. “Passing the ball around, talking to each other, calling for it and making plays.”
The 1-1 draw against Nelson was a pretty good result, considering the Rovers were handily beaten at zone playdowns against the same team a week ago.
“When we played against them at playdowns for provincials, we were totally outclassed,” said Campbell.
However, Heap came in to help out with some pointers on defensive formations, among other things, which helped improve the overall team play.
“We’re competitive now, it was great to see and they did really, really well,” said Campbell.