Cloverdale-based Surrey United gave their hometown fans plenty to cheer about Monday, after capturing a national U16 boys soccer championship at South Surrey Athletic Park.
Battling rainy conditions, the team – one of 10 taking part in the Canadian soccer championship, which began last week – won gold with a 3-0 victory over Ontario’s Woodbridge Strikers.
“We’ve waited almost two years for this. We’ve been building and building and it’s absolutely massive for these kids who have been dreaming about this for a long time,” said Surrey United head coach Rob Wilson.
Meanwhile, on the girls side of the U16 bracket, Coastal FC – the B.C. champions and also official host team of the tournament – placed fourth, losing in semifinals 2-0 to Quebec’s Lakeshore SC.
In the third-place game, Coastal lost to Alberta representatives, Calgary SWU Napoli ’99.
Surrey United’s charge at the title was led by Noah Dasilva, who led the tournament in scoring with six goals, including two in Monday’s final against Woodbridge.
“Dasilva has been an absolute handful for any fullback and again he showed today that the is one of the best dribblers in the nation right now… an outstanding performance,” Wilson said.
Perhaps owing to the rain and less-than-ideal playing conditions, the game started slowly for both sides Monday, with the ball stuck in the middle of the field for long stretches as neither team could keep possession and mount any kind of attack.
Surrey defender Darashpreet Sandhu opened the scoring for the home side, when he was the first to get a foot on a loose ball, which was bouncing around the Woodbridge box.
Less than one minute later, Dasilva double the lead when he dribbled the ball through several Ontario defenders before firing the ball past the goalkeeper, in the bottom left corner of the net.
In the second half, Surrey protected the two-goal lead, and Dasilva made it 3-0 in the 65th minute.
Woodbridge was not without chances, however, and came close to getting on the board in the second half when a free kick from 25 yards out struck the Surrey crossbar and stayed out of the net.
Earlier in the tournament, Surrey cruised through the round robin with a perfect 4-0 record, and in semifinals, defeated Calgary Foothills 1-0 to advance to the championship match.
Like their male counterparts from Surrey, Coastal FC also went undefeated in the round-robin portion of the U16 girls event, earning wins over Manitoba’s FC Northwest and Prince Edward Island.
In the semifinal contest against Lakeshore, Coastal FC controlled the play for long stretches, but the Quebec champs stayed committed and disciplined on defence, which didn’t give Coastal FC much opportunity for offence.
Lakeshore – which went on to win the gold medal – got both goals from striker Alexia Remillard.
After the defeat, Coastal moved on to the third-place game, losing 2-1 to Calgary.