by Stephen Dafoe
Redwater – After a season of struggles the Morinville U-12 Tigers soccer team emerged from a weekend tournament in Redwater with a bronze medal. The Tri-County competition took place of the June 20 weekend and saw the boys battle teams they had struggled with all season.
The team is made up of diverse skill levels ranging from children that have never played to kids with a few seasons under their cleats. Those combined skills came to the front to secure the wins needed to take bronze.
“Ardrossan was the one where they haven’t been beaten in years,” said Coach Debbie Oyarzun. “They take the provincial cup every year and the Tri-County Cup. They’ve beat us 5-0, 4-0 every game.”
But the tables turned in the tournament as the Morinville Tigers exited the field with a 4-1 victory over Ardrossan in their first game of the weekend. Oyarzun said Ardrossan is a team committed to soccer. “We’ve been trying to get the boys to focus on doing their job first and supporting everyone else second. If you are a defender you do your job first and then support everything else. They nailed it. It just clicked for them.”
The Tigers lost their second game to Athabasca 7-5, but came back in day two to defeat Riviére Qui Barre 6-3, a win that put them in a two-way tie for first place. The goal differential between the top two teams slid Morinville down to second place and on to the bronze medal game, a contest they emerged from with a 5-0 victory over host Redwater.
“I’m very proud,” Oyarzun said of her and husband and fellow coach Jose Louis’ pride in what the team has accomplished. “They clicked and were working as a team. It was as simple as that.”
Oyarzun said she will lose a third of the team next year due to age as players move on to U16.