12 BC teams off to Super Y Finals


12 BC-based Pacific Northwest Division teams are headed to Florida to compete in the USL Super Y-League North American Finals in November.

Vancouver Whitecaps and BCSA affiliates Mountain, Coastal, and Surrey WFC will send a combined nine teams to Florida this autumn - five from Mountain, three from Coastal, and one from Surrey WFC. In addition, Abbotsford Mariners have qualified three more teams to bring the grand total of BC sides to a dozen.

Mountain WFC are sending a record five teams to this year's finals, one more than in 2007. It was a solid effort on the boys' side from Mountain, with the U-14, U-15 and U-16 Boys all winning their divisions, and in each case, just edging out local rivals Abbotsford Mariners. The U-13 Boys came second to Washington Crossfire. On the Girls side, Mountain added the U-16 Girls that just edged out Coastal WFC. Mountain just failed to send a sixth team to the final, as the U-14 Girls just missed qualification by a point to Coastal WFC. In 2007, four Mountain teams made it to Florida - the U-14 and U-16 Boys and the U-15 and U-16 Girls sides.

Coastal WFC excelled on the Girls side, sending three teams to the Finals. The U-13 Girls advanced by winning the division, along with the U-15 Girls. In addition, the U-14 Girls grabbed the second berth in the division after finishing just a point back of Washington Crossfire. Coastal just missed out on the U-16 Girls berth by two points to winners Mountain WFC. On the Boys side, the nearest Coastal came was a third-place finish in the U-13 Boys behind Washington Crossfire and Mountain WFC. This year’s effort by Coastal tops 2007 when two teams in the U-13 and U-15 Boys qualified.

2007 newcomers Surrey WFC put in a strong showing, including the qualification of the U-14 Boys for the Finals. A strong third-place showing in the division will send the boys to Florida, along with Mountain and Abbotsford.

Meanwhile, Abbotsford Mariners showed their strength with a strong Super Y-League showing after sending three teams to Florida. The Mariners' U-14, U-15 and U-16 Boys all finished a close second in their division to capture qualification.

Thompson-Okanagan showed improvement in 2008, with both the U-13 Girls and U-16 Boys challenging for a place in Florida, while West Coast Capitals of Victoria, BC, also put in a solid capmaign, with some good results.

The Super Y-League North American Finals, regarded as the top youth soccer event in North America, is a five-day tournament that includes over 130 of the best youth soccer teams in the United States and Canada from U-13 to U-17 age groups for Boys and Girls. Teams qualify from their respective regions and face the best from around North America in a quest to become league champions. The event will include over 5,000 players, parents and spectators.

The 2007 finals featured teams from Vancouver to Miami, with squads representing some of the top professional clubs in North America like Major League Soccer's DC United and New York Red Bulls. A total of 140 teams will attend the Super Y-League North American Finals. Four berths in the Finals are the most delegated to any one division. On the Boys’ side, 16 teams will clash at every age level in the league’s U-13 to U-17 divisions. On the Girls side, 12 teams will meet from each of the five age divisions.

This year's event will begin on Friday, November 21, with the championship matches scheduled for Tuesday, November 25.


QUOTES

HUBERT BUSBY JR – MOUNTAIN WFC

Changes for 2008

"In contrast to last year, we had more time to put things together this year in terms of structure. We put together a very efficient executive committee that involved all the clubs within our district, and that allowed for some ambitious and progressive people to come together. The result was a smoother transition in terms of getting our staff up and running. When you surround yourself with good people, great things happen, so being able to do that made things a little bit easier."

Five teams qualified

"It was a surprise to see our younger age groups qualify, that's for sure. We were never sure about the talent pool that we had, but it's a great credit to the community clubs because they doing some good things at the grassroots level. The fact that we have those teams qualifying at the U-13 and U-14 age groups was not necessarily something we had set out to do because this season was about improving and developing those players. It's just a great testament to some great coaches that we have and the right environment for the kids to strive in."

Chances in Florida

"I'm not going to put any pressure on any of our particular teams, but I think that there's one or two of them that are going to do well and surprise a few people down there."

ROB DATTILO – COASTAL WFC

Changes in 2008

"We've had a great addition in Mark Rogers coming into our club and that's helped out the program immensely in advancing.

"The Girls teams performed beyond expectations. To have three teams qualify for Florida was three more than we had last year. As for the Boys, there was a little bit of disappointment. We had two teams qualify last year, but those sides didn't qualify this year, so there were some lessons learned from that.

"Our U-14 Boys team lost a couple of players to Surrey WFC, which was expected, as there is some homegrown talent there that was going to go that route. The team also had some key injuries, which affected their season. The other team that we expected a little more from was Carl Valentine's U-13 Boys, but they struggled to get results after drawing a lot of games early on. Even though they played 16 games this season, those dropped points denied them a chance to recover and qualify."

Structure

"Going forward, we need active participants for our club's footprint, as it would make things so much simpler. We had the support from our member clubs, but unfortunately, they were not as active in our set-up as we had hoped this year."

Chances in Florida

"It will be a very positive experience for our three Girls teams, as they've all done well in qualifying for the finals in Florida. I think it will be an eye-opener for them to be in an environment with players of that calibre."

CHRIS MURPHY – SURREY WFC

First season

"First and foremost, all the team players benefited from the experience, even through our results varied. All the players improved and got a good chance to be exposed to the Super Y-League program.

"We went into this season very open-minded and there is certainly some work to be done in our region to ensure that the right players and coaches are in our squads. That will certainly be a priority. Also, getting a buy-in from all of our stakeholders in the area still needs to be worked on, but the positives outweigh the negatives. We've now got 10 months to try and work out those things and improve for next year."

Boys

"Surrey has a lot of talented players. You don’t know until the final signings and selections what the squads are going to look like. Our U-14 Boys obviously qualified, while our U-13 Boys finished only a few points out of qualifying for Florida. Had the team had a little more fortune at the beginning of the season, they might have done well."

Girls

"On the Girls side, the talent was not as deep. We may have not got the top players from Surrey because a lot of them went elsewhere, so our goals had to be a little more realistic for those squads. They didn't really win a lot of games, but their competitive level improved, as they challenged some teams down the stretch and forced them to play well against us."

U-14 Boys in Florida

"They are a very competitive group and have all the tools to do well, that's for sure. They had some very competitive matches with the two teams above them in the standings in Mountain and Abbotsford. Should those two teams be among the elite to be competing in Florida, it's not unthinkable that our team does well, should they peak at the right time."


QUALIFICATION RECAP

GIRLS

The U-13 division contained two groups, with just the group winner advancing. In Group A, it was Washington Crossfire just edging out newcomers Evergreen for the berth, while in Group B, Coastal WFC grabbed the only available spot, despite a solid effort by runners-up Thompson-Okanagan. In the U-14 Girls division, it was the Crossfire winning the group, with Coastal just edging out Mountain WFC for the second and final berth. In U-15 action, Coastal WFC was the clear group winner after going undefeated to take the only available berth. In the U-16 Girls, Mountain WFC just edged out Coastal by two points to take the berth.

U-13 Girls
1. Group A - Washington Crossfire
2. Group B – Coastal WFC

U-14 Girls
1. Washington Crossfire
2. Coastal WFC

U-15 Girls
1. Coastal WFC

U-16 Girls
1. Mountain WFC

BOYS

In U-13 Boys division, it was Washington Crossfire that claimed the division, with Mountain WFC claiming the second berth. In the U-14 Boys division, it was a tight battle but Mountain prevailed to win the division, with Abbotsford claiming the second spot. In the U-15 Boys division, it was Mountain WFC that finished four points ahead of Abbotsford to claim the title. Mountain went undefeated with just three ties. In the U-16 Boys division, it was Mountain WFC edging Abbotsford by two points.

U-13 Boys
1. Washington Crossfire
2. Mountain WFC

U-14 Boys
1. Mountain WFC
2. Abbotsford
3. Surrey WFC

U-15 Girls
1. Mountain WFC
2. Abbotsford

U-16 Girls
1. Mountain WFC
2. Abbotsford