A St. Albert soccer team is celebrating after a second-place win at provincials this month.
On the weekend of March 12 and 13 the St. Albert Impact U15 boys team snagged a silver medal at provincials in Red Deer and coach Chris Clarke said the team's hard work and commitment helped them make it that far during the season.
“These boys they’re just all heart,” Clarke said. “They work really hard, they show up and listen and they’re respectful. They’re just a good group of kids.”
Over the weekend the team played four games, winning the first match against Foothills FC 1-0.
On Saturday the team won again, beating Lethbridge FC 2-0, which sent the team to semi-finals against a familiar rival team.
The U15 Impact faced off against the North Side United team, based out of north Edmonton. The kids have a “little bit of a rivalry” Clarke said of the two teams.
“The game was fast paced. There were chances on both ends and big saves by both keepers. There were moments of brilliance by multiple players on both teams,” Clarke said.
Team captain Carter Turcott, 14, said the game against NSU was pretty intense.
“It was one of the most intense games I’ve ever played in. The stands were going crazy. Everybody was losing their mind,” Turcott said.
“My teammates gave it their all and everybody wanted to beat this team.”
The game tied at nil until one goal in the first half, scored by Turcott, tipped the scales and put the local squad ahead.
Turcott was able to get the ball in the net off a corner kick.
Turcott’s goal was the only goal of the game and when the final whistle blew the energy was “unmatched.”
“I’ve never seen that type of energy in a group of people,” Turcott said. “It was the loudest game I’ve seen.”
After the win at semi-finals, the team was off to the final match a few hours later to face off against the Foothills FC, whom the Impact beat in the tournament's opening match.
But Clarke said it was tough to get the team to regroup after their big win and in the end they dropped the final game to their foes, earning second place overall.
“It was a bit of an upset to lose in the gold medal match,” Turcott said.
“I was very proud of my team and how well we preformed and how much it took for us to get to where we were.”
For many of the players, the coach said it was their first time ever travelling to provincials, so it was a fun and exciting experience for all.
“Winning is fantastic and it’s something that these players I’m sure will remember that for a long time, but I would bet dollars to donuts that they’re going to remember the stuff off the field that they did with each other … for a really long time,” Clarke said.
“They’re going to have those memories when they’re old like me and to me that is just as fantastic, if not more fantastic than the accomplishment on the field.”
They started the year at the bottom of the pack in their league, Clarke said, with a few losses and some ties and after a few games the team had already fallen to fourth or fifth in the league of six teams.
Even before they went to tryouts, Clarke said he was worried they wouldn’t even have a goalkeeper for the year.
But as the season pressed on, the boys improved and so did their position in the standings.
The provincial tournament was the last event for the indoor season and Clarke said the team is now shifting gears for an outdoor season.
Turcott said the team has thier eyes on an even bigger goal this season: the boys have decided they want to make nationals, which would require them to win provincials in August.
They are determined to win for their coach, whom Turcott and many of the other boys have played with for five years.
“He has definitely done a lot for us and we wanted [to win gold] for him. We were kind of upset we didn’t win gold for him,” Turcott said.
The outdoor soccer season starts in April.