After winning the Island Championships, the Port Hardy Secondary School Senior Girls soccer team made their way to Penticton to represent their hometown at the Provincial Championships.
Out of 16 teams from all over BC, the girls beat out 10 other teams to finish in sixth place at the BC ‘A’ Girls Soccer Provincials on June 2.
“There were about 40 teams that started off the tournament to get to the provincials and the senior girls were the first team to even qualify to go to Provincials from Port Hardy,” explained coach Jim Clair.
“I think it was important that they played well in the first game because it gave them a lot of confidence,” said coach Jim Buchan. “They can compete with anybody.”
Clair noted the girls were at first disappointed they had lost.
“For a small little town to come in sixth — once they started thinking about it within the next 10 minutes they said ‘Yeah we are sixth in BC!’ for them that is a big accomplishment,” said Clair.
Buchan also noted the girls played extremely well, but what was outstanding was the amount of effort and teamwork the girls put into every game.
“It was a definite scenario where the team chemistry was perfect,” said Buchan, who added the girls bonded on the ferry during the trip to Penticton and at a team laser tag game before the tournament took place.
“They all supported each other,” said Clair. “It didn’t matter if they were sitting on the bench — they all cheered for each other and seeing some of our other girls score goals, who usually don’t, the team was ecstatic about stuff like that.”
Clair said he can see the tournament being a high school highlight for some of the girls.
“Some of the girls have never experienced anything like that. Jim made them legends! During one of our motivational speeches, he let them know no one else has come this far, and they fed off of that and worked hard.”
Buchan said now they have a taste for what provincials is like, they will have to put the work in if they want to return next year.
“It’s a bittersweet scenario, having the sense they were so close to where they wanted to go,” said Buchan, “But it also shows they have got something to work towards for next year — They have a target, they have a goal.”
Clair also noted the girls would not have been able to make it to provincials at all without the support of the town, as the team had only 16 days to fundraise over $10,000 to finance the trip.
“I would like to say thanks to the community of Port Hardy because we had the support of the town behind us and without the community and businesses that stepped up to the plate we wouldn’t have been able to go,” said Clair.
Buchan added the tournament was one of the best things he has ever done as a coach.
“To take a team of kids who really didn’t know they could do it and bring them to that next level, that is an ultimate ideal for a coach,” said Buchan. “I have done a lot of things in my life, and that is right up there.”