Wild soccer team preparing for season

Despite no game experience, team continues to sharpen skills for eventual zone playdown.

Mount Baker Wild soccer player Matt Sopkow shields the ball from teammate Brody Kappler during a drill at practice on Wednesday.

The Mount Baker senior boys soccer team has been practicing for the last couple weeks.

All they need now are some games.

The Wild have been out on the pitch twice a week, but are working towards getting in some game action.

The team didn’t get together right off the bat at the start of the school year and missed a tournament in Creston, but head coach Jesse Jarvis is hoping to pit the squad against some men’s teams in tune-up matches.

Till then, Jarvis said there are a few things to work on.

“Fitness and heading,” Jarvis continued, “because most guys are a little tentative to do it, so if we can be fearless, that’ll give us an advantage.”

Wednesday’s practice consisted mostly of possession drills, heading drills and fitness work, as the boys sharpen up their skills in preparation for real-time game situations.

There was so much interest in the senior team, that Jarvis was able to funnel off enough Grade 10 and Grade 9 students to form a junior boys soccer team.

There wasn’t enough interested students to form a junior team last year, according to Jarvis, who is back for his second year as head coach and third year with the Wild program.

Most of the boys are Grade 11 students, with a few younger and a few older players mixed in.

The team is mostly represented by local students, as opposed to half a dozen international students from Mexico, Brazil and Germany that formed a large chunk of the squad last year.

The Wild worked their way into provincials last year, facing a young team in Nelson during zone play downs, winning a thrilling 3-1 match in extra time to earn the trip to Metro Vancouver.

Seeing a young Nelson team perform like they did last year means that youth isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, said Jarvis.

Without any game time experience on the resume yet, Jarvis still doesn’t know if the fact that his team is a little younger is a strength or not.

“It’s not that we’re weak anywhere,” Jarvis said. “We’re just young.”

First guaranteed game action for the team will be the Wild’s home tournament at Moir Park on Oct. 19-20.

The following weekend, the boys will hit the road for an excursion across the 49th parallel for a tournament in Kalispell, Montana.

The crucial zone play down against Nelson to determine who will represent the Kootenays at provincials will happen in the first week of November.

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