The Whitecaps Kootenay Academy is back in Canada following a successful sojourn to Seattle, in which three girls teams travelled south of the border for tournament play in Washington State.
“The tournament was a huge success,” wrote Brett Adams, Whitecaps Kootenay Regional head coach, via email Monday. “The results were close in most of the games and we came away with some wins. This is the first time that the Kootenay teams have won in America.”
The trio of Whitecaps squads, consisting of athletes from Castlegar, Cranbrook, Fernie, Invermere, Kimberley, Nelson and Trail, competed at the 2015 AstroTurf Collegiate Showcase from Nov. 27 to 29 at the Starfire Soccer Centre.
All three Whitecaps crews played up an age division in Seattle — the U14 team competed in U15, the U15 club competed in U16 and a combined U16/17 outfit competed in U17.
The most successful of the three squads was the U16/17 girls squad as they posted a third-place finish (2-2-0) in the five-team Group D.
Opening the tournament, the U16/17 Whitecaps fell 2-1 to RVS Orange, before responding with a 2-0 blanking of Fusion 98 the following day.
The U16/17 Whitecaps strung together back-to-back wins with a 4-2 victory over the ISC Gunners in their third tilt of the tournament before dropping their final contest 2-1 to FC Alliance.
“The girls played some amazing soccer,” Adams wrote. “[The 4-2 win over ISC] will be remembered for a hat trick from Naomi Perkins.
“It’s fair to say that the standout player from the tournament was Naomi Perkins, who scored five goals in the four matches.”
Perkins, a native of Nelson, is hoping to obtain a soccer scholarship by the end of this academic year and after her electric performance in Seattle, Adams has high hopes.
The U15 Whitecaps squad wrapped up tournament play with a third-place finish in Group C, while the U15 Whitecaps wound up fourth in the four-team Group B.
The highlight for the U14s came in the team’s final game of the weekend — a 1-0 victory over the HPFC Eagles.
Eva D’Odorico registered the lone strike as the Whitecaps pressed the game and controlled the play.
“Having never won at this tournament before, to come away with victories and solid performances in a fantastic achievement,” Adams wrote. “[It] shows the progress of what has been happening in the Kootenays.”
Boasted as a scouting showcase, the AstroTurf Collegiate Showcase brought in scouts from and representatives from nearly 30 American and Canadian universities and colleges, including but not limited to Central Washington University, University of Lethbridge and North Idaho College.
As it stands, there are 340 prospects playing in three Whitecaps development centres through the Kootenays — 130 based out of Nelson, 120 based out of Cranbrook and 90 based out of Castlegar/Trail.