After a rough start to the 2018 Indoor Youth Provincial Soccer Championships, Battlefords United FC's U-17 boys team regrouped and made it to the final, where they came away with a silver medal after a 3-1 loss to Excelsior FC from Moose Jaw.
Battlefords United lost their first two round robin games, 3-1 and 7-3, but after talking things over themselves, they found their game, according to head coach Kat Huxley.
"The motivation to want to make it to the finals was there for them. They really wanted it so they worked hard for it," Huxley said. "The first two games did not go how we planned...It just wasn't us on the field and the team kind of sat down and we had a chat about it.
"A lot of these boys have played together for the last few years. They know each other. They're friends. They're friends on the field; they're friends off the field. They all really, really want to win and they know how to push each other and motivate each other."
In the semifinal, they defeated the Prince Albert Celtics 3-1, the team they lost to in their opening game 3-0.
In the final, the chances were there, but they just couldn't get the right bounces.
"We just couldn't put the ball in the net. We had a lot of really, really good chances," Huxley said. "We had more shots than they did and we had more possession. It was just they capitalized on a few small mistakes and we just couldn't come back from that."
Winning tournament MVP was Battlefords United's Draydin Stone, a first-year U-17 player who actually played the entire time with a broken arm.
"Definitely not the first player of mine to play with a broken arm," Huxley joked, adding they had to bubble wrap it before every game to make sure he was allowed to play. "He came out there and gave it 110 [per cent]. He was running up and down the field. He created scoring chances...he was motivating. He continued to communicate with everyone and he was trying to keep everyone's spirits up when we were down."
Battlefords United also finished in second in the skills competition, which was held on Saturday.
This upcoming weekend are the U-19 indoor provincials in Saskatoon, where assistant coach Davis Starchief and three other players from the U-17 team (David Draskic, Tyrell Lewis, and Carson Tootoosis) will play as well.
Two girls from Moosomin First Nation will also be playing on the U-19 boys team: Tishara Bear and Maria Swiftwolfe.
Battlefords Youth Soccer Inc. will be hosting the 2018 Outdoor Provincials this summer as well, which will be held from June 29-July 1.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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