Two weeks into the 2014 spring soccer season and the Smithers Secondary girls team is still undefeated.
At their most recent tournament, held in Smithers over the weekend, the team beat both Terrace and Prince Rupert. At a tournament in Terrace two weeks ago, the Gryphons tied against Kitimat and Prince Rupert.
“The girls played really well,” head coach Brian Irvine said. “They are still learning where to be on the field and how to play together as a team, but we have some experience out there and the rookies are coming along nicely.”
The team has been practicing indoors since after spring break, but got the green light to use the fields last week. It’s a big adjustment for players that don’t get much of a chance to play on the larger surface.
Though the season just started, it’s also almost over.
Next week the team will travel to Kitimat for the zones. Last year they played well enough to win, but fell just short. Irvine thinks they’ve got a shot, but it will come down to whoever plays well on the day and gets a couple lucky bounces along the way.
“All the teams are pretty even, so I think it’s going to be a dog fight to see who represents our zone,” Irvine said.
“We’ve had so little field and practice time, but as long as they keep getting better and improving every game, that’s what’s important.”
If they win, the Gryphons will head to Penticton for provincials.
From an individual perspective, a few of the players on the team are considering going on to play at the university level. The University of Northern B.C. recently held a camp which a few players from Smithers attended.
Though some players are able to make the jump to university right away, they are also likely to spend a year playing on a U21 team before they get noticed. This is, in part, because of the short northern season and the local field conditions.
“Girls and boys from here can make it, because they all tend to be really good athletes,” Irvine said. “They can do everything. But down south all they do is play soccer so kids from the north are at a disadvantage because they don’t play as much.
“It can be done, it’s just more of a challenge.”