Busloads of soccer players descended on Nakusp last weekend to play in the annual Nakusp Sr. and Junior Boys Invitational Tournament.
The two-day event hosted both junior and senior teams from various parts of the province, including Grand Forks, Fort St. James, and Invermere.
Friday’s games were slightly overshadowed by the weather. Rain came down for most of the event, which was rather unlucky for the David Thompson Secondary School Lakers from Invermere.
The Laker’s equipment was stolen before they left for the tournament. Their balls, their bench, and their tent, everything was gone.
“When I left home, I put the stuff on the road to get picked up,” said coach Jurgen Striegel. “I left it alone a minute, and everything was stolen.”
The first day was a bit rocky for other teams as well. Nakusp lost their first game against Fort St. James 2-0.
“These boys come out, it’s the first game of the season, an early tournament, and they’re learning,” said coach Ryan Willman.
“It’s all about making mistakes, but it’s whether they learn from their mistakes.”
The second day of the tournament was better. The sun had come out, which made for better playing, but some of the teams were starting to fight fatigue.
“Tournaments are hard on kids because it’s many games in a short period of time,” said Mike Phelan, coach of the Grand Forks Wolves. “Even during a day, you play a game, you rest, you play a game, you rest. It wears on them, even though they’re young.”
By the end of the afternoon, the games were decided. For the Juniors, the Creston Bulldogs came in first, followed by the Hawks of JL Crowe in Trail. In third the Wolves of Grand Forks, and the Nakusp Cougars in fourth.
For the Senior games, The Invermere Lakers took first place, followed the Fort St. James Falcons in second place, The Hawks from JL Crowe in Trail were third, Midway Boundary Central Secondary School was fourth, and the Nakusp Cougars were fifth.
“I’m proud of the boys, the way they played soccer and the effort they put in there,” said Striegel. “I knew they were capable of winning if they played well.”