For North Cariboo Senior Soccer League (NCSSL) players, the actions of the weekend told the story.
It wasn’t a tale of failure or frustration, even though Mother Nature did its part to ensure they wouldn’t be getting an early kick on the outdoor soccer season.
The Ice Breaker Tournament on Saturday and Sunday marked a reason to celebrate for players and coaches involved in the league. The cheers from the clubhouse and enthusiasm from players on the field indicated that despite being far from mid-season shape, they were willing to compete.
Considering it was only a pre-season tournament, the soccer competition has plenty of supporters, several who wouldn’t leave until the final whistle of the last game on Sunday.
While it was a relief to play soccer again, the players had no problem admitting that the training had just begun.
Of the 19 weekend games, four finished in scoreless ties. Bedetti United FC player Sipho Sibiya said after his team’s scoreless tie with Mr. Quick on Sunday that he’s still getting back into the groove of playing soccer again.
“We just couldn’t finish today,” he said. “Even myself, just touching the ball and getting the rust out before we start the season.”
Bedetti, which tied its other weekend game 1-1 against the U18 Kodiaks, was one of 19 teams entered in the tournament. Each squad played two games, which served as a warm-up to the NCSSL regular season, which kicks off on Sunday.
Sibiya and his teammates will be trying to rebound from a 2007 campaign in which they lost in the semi-final round to Mr. Quick.
Bedetti and Mr. Quick are two of seven Division 1 teams hitting the soccer pitch in the men’s league this season. The other squads are the CNC Kodiaks, Art Knapp/Dunkley Croatia, Accelerated Physiotherapy, Powerhouse Hammers FC and University Restorations Kodiaks.
Croatia was arguably the top team in the weekend tournament, defeating two other Division 1 teams in finishing with a 2-0 record. Both victories were by shutout as they blanked CNC 3-0 on Saturday and downed Mr. Quick 2-0 Sunday.
Eden Spas FC and Taco Bell each managed a pair of victories to finish above the rest of the Division 2 teams competing. Eden Spas outscored Eric’s World by a 5-1 count and knocked off Global Securities 3-1, while Taco Bell defeated Finning 17 by a 3-0 count before keeping North Star Paving off the scoreboard in a 2-0 victory.
Tabor Sports Pub Croatia rounds out the field of Division 2 teams in the league this season.
The Taborwest Kickers were the top Masters Division squad hitting the soccer pitch on the weekend. They opened the competition with a 2-1 win over Northern Thunderbird (NT) Air on Saturday, and wrapped up their weekend with a 1-0 victory over Subway Strikeforce on Sunday.
The other Masters Division squads are the Old Caledonians and Gunners. The Old Caledonians defeated the Gunners 4-2 and tied NT Air 0-0. In the only other Masters game, Strikeforce downed the Gunners 2-0.
In other action involving Division 1 teams, Powerhouse hammered Accelerated Physiotherapy 7-1, CNC edged Powerhouse 3-2 and Accelerated Physiotherapy blanked the U18 Kodiaks 2-0. Three other Division 2 games resulted in no winners and Tabor Sports Pub was involved in two of them, tying North Star Paving 0-0 and Global Securities 2-2. Finning 17 and Eric’s World also tied 0-0.
“We should’ve won today,” Sibiya said. “We’ve been training for this last little bit, so we’ll see what happens (in the regular season).”