While snow from a series of weeklong storms blanketed much of Vancouver Island, more than a dozen U13 soccer teams found conditions perfect for Sunday’s Upper Island Soccer Association jamboree at the Arbutus Meadows indoor arena.
“This is the only place, today, on the upper Island and most of the Island that has any soccer going on,” said Ravindra Mohabeer, coach of the Oceanside Youth Soccer U13 Banana Slugs. “Because everywhere else it’s been cancelled. All the turf fields outdoors are closed.”
The jamboree drew 13 teams, ranging from Ladysmith to Powell River, who compete in the Upper Island Soccer League.
“This is a good opportunity to play more soccer in a single day,” said Liam Roden, coach of Nanaimo’s Harbour City F.C. Team 2. “And we’re seeing different teams; we haven’t seen Oceanside until now.”
The Harbour City squad topped the Banana Slugs 3-1 in Sunday’s opening game, but the results do not factor into the league standings, where the Slugs sit at 4-1 for the season.
“We don’t normally get the opportunity to enjoy just watching and being a part of the game,” said Mohabeer. “When you cheer on another team, it’s all about the love of the game.”
The Upper Island plays ‘Super 8’ style at the U13 and younger levels, with seven players and one goalie on the field at a time, Mohabeer said.
“It’s what Canada Soccer wants everyone to do, because it gives everyone an opportunity to touch the ball more often, to learn the skills, learn the positions,” he said.
Luke Desvaux of the Oceanside Youth Soccer U13 Banana Slugs, right, tries to fight through the screen of Harbour City F.C.'s Kevin Taylor during their meeting in Saturday's soccer jamboree at Arbutus Meadows in Nanoose Bay. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS