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U13 Delta Selects celebrate Thanksgiving with tourney win

Girls rep team rallies in second half of championship game
U13 Delta Selects
The U13 Delta Coastal Selects include: Back row (L to R): Fallon Meyer, Kate Black, Leah Venier, Charlotte Wood, Lauryn Yee (behind), Christine Day, Maddie Shepherd, Kianna Nager, Estelle White. Front row (L to R): Megan Semple, Mallory Crowther, Reet Thiara, Savannah Grant, Isla Bowie, Brooklyn Brandon, Althea Leyba.

In their initial season playing 11-aside, and after only a handful of games, the U13 Delta Selects (DCS) Division 1 girls soccer team had a very successful weekend, going undefeated and capturing the championship of the 28th Annual TGS Esports Richmond Thanksgiving Soccer Tournament.

The team got off to a good start on a rainy Saturday, with victories against Vancouver Athletic FC (4-0) and Surrey United SC (8-1). The weather improved greatly on Sunday, and the team followed up with a win against Kamloops SC (2-0) in the morning to complete preliminary play. 

In the final, Delta and Kamloops were matched up again.

The Interior opponent was highly-motivated to reverse the earlier result and played an aggressive, physical game, scoring late in the first half on a nice shot into the top of Delta’s goal.

Trailing for the first time in the tournament, the Selects increased the pressure and battled back during the second half, with numerous shots and several near misses. With 15 minutes remaining, Kamloops was called for a handball in the penalty area following a terrific corner kick by Megan Semple.

Defender Charlotte Wood stepped up under pressure and channeled her inner Jessie Fleming, the Canadian women’s soccer Olympic gold medal penalty hero, to calmly convert her second penalty kick of the tournament, drawing Delta level.

With new energy, the girls continued to attack and went ahead five minutes later, with the eventual winner, after Mallory Crowther scored on a rebound following an action-packed series in which forward Lauryn Yee hit the crossbar and midfielder Brooklyn Brandon’s follow-up shot was parried by the goalkeeper.

The defence took over from there and locked things down for the remaining 10 minutes to secure the victory.

The Delta offence was dangerous all weekend with goals from Yee (6), Leah Venier (4), Charlotte Wood (2), Kianna Nager and Crowther. The attack was complimented by strong midfield and defensive play from Semple, Isla Bowie, Fallon Meyer, Althea Leyba, Kate Black, Christine Day, Maddie Shepherd, Reet Thiara, Estelle White, and goalkeeper Savannah Grant. 

The U13 Delta Selects (DCS) Division 1 girls team was formed through a partnership between South Delta United Soccer Club and North Delta Football Club after the BC Coastal Soccer League (BCCSL) made a decision to eliminate the Metro division to reduce the number of tiers of play, starting with the incoming U13’s for the 2021/22 season.

For the U13 age group, Division 1 is now the second highest tier of play in the province after the BC Soccer Premier League. The team was selected under difficult circumstances due to COVID-restrictions on games and practices but came together quickly.

“The girls from both clubs have bonded extremely well during the past few months, even doing a 15 km bike ride across Boundary Bay together, and the group is one of the most enthusiastic, hard-working and positive groups I’ve worked with,” said head coach Sean Semple.

Semple said it was great to be back to tournament play and was an exciting weekend of soccer, as the team looks to build on some of the positives of the weekend and carry these forward into league play.

Tavis Bowie rounds out the coaching staff and Angela Crowther is the team manager.