The new South Delta United 's colours will be on display at B.C. Soccer's Coastal Cup finals for the very first time thanks to a terrific run so far for the club's U17 Division One boys rep team.
United has advanced to the 64th annual showcase event after a 2-0 home field win over Vancouver Island champions Saanich Fusion on Saturday at Dugald Morrison Park. The result sets up a May 6 championship game against District 5 League rival Port Moody in Aldergrove. The boys have also secured a berth in the Provincial "B" Cup championships, slated for early July in Vernon.
Almost the entire roster started their careers at the U6 grassroots level with the former Tsawwassen Soccer Club. Some then moved on to play in the B.C. Premier or Metro League. Now the majority are back together to close out their youth soccer careers and thriving under a key addition to the team's coaching staff.
Jeff Skinner took on the reigns this season and the 39-year-old former U23 national team member and Vancouver Whitecap brought a whole new dimension to the team's weekly preparation.
"He has taught the kids how to play the game by the way he runs our practice sessions. And he is still young enough that he can train with them as well," laughed United head coach Bill Ross. "He really has done an amazing job.
"We knew we had the talent and went to the club last year looking to add another coach. Doug Dyck came onboard and took us to a whole new level. Now, we are lucky enough to have Jeff. We are playing really good football and scoring lots of goals too."
United actually missed out on the opportunity to represent the Delta District in the Coastal playdowns after a 5-4 loss to North Delta United. However, they found another path by earning one of two available District 5 wild card berths thanks to an impressive run in League Cup play that earned them top honours in the elite Group "A" flight.
South Delta opened with a 4-1 round of 16 win over the North Vancouver Fury, then pulled out a thrilling 4-2 quarter-final overtime win against league rival North Coquitlam, erasing a 2-0 halftime deficit.
United dominated much of the territorial play against Saanich and carried a 1-0 lead for much of the match before netting a late insurance goal.
The United roster includes: goalkeeper Liam Harris; defenders-Gavin Swan, Ben Morrison, Riley Mitchel, Kenny Ross, Brendan Guraliuk; midfielders-Matthew O'Leary, Kai Graham, Grayson Read-Friedmann, Rowan Childs, Ryan Parish, Max Cantlon, Tyler Semler and forwards-Alexander Stewart, Henry McPhie and Jake Mallard.
Bjorn Reid-Friedmann rounds out the coaching staff. Suzy Parish is the team manager.
The cup final could feature plenty of offence.
South Delta jumped out to a 3-0 first half lead the last time the two sides met in league cup play, only to see Port Moody storm back with three of its own in the final 45 minutes. Regardless, both sides know they very well could see each other again in the Okanagan this summer.