Soccer Season starts up

Soccer season has arrived for another year of training and matches on the North Island.

Soccer season has arrived for another year of training and matches on the North Island. The U18 Soccer

league had its first official match of the season on Saturday, April 10 at the North Island Secondary School

soccer pitch in Port McNeill. The sun was shining down on the players early on as the battle between Port

Hardy and Port McNeill kicked off at 11 a.m. Port McNeill came out strong in the first 40 minute half, passing

the ball up and down the pitch and getting the better shots on net. Midway through the half, James Bramham

managed to kick the ball past Port Hardy’s goalie to draw first blood, and then just a few minutes before

halftime, Brandon Purdey scored off a rebound to give Port McNeill a solid 2-0 lead going into the second

half. Port Hardy Coach Darryl Coon had his team huddle up during the halftime where he talked to them about

“coming back to help out on defence” and to make sure to “have fun and take some good shots,” adding that

even though the team was down a couple goals, he assured them they were “doing good.”The talk must have

worked. Port Hardy came out aggressive in the second half, controlling the pace of the game with nice passes

and getting some great shots on Port McNeill’s goalie. The hard work paid off big time. Taylor Ranger, assisted

by Brendan Williamson, got the ball in front of the net and kicked it past Port McNeill’s goalie to make it 2-1.Port

Hardy’s Tyrone Wallas then scored a little bit later off a great shot to tie the game up 2-2, but later on Port

McNeill’s Josh Estlin carried the ball into the Port Hardy zone and blasted an incredible shot from the side of

the pitch, past the Port Hardy goalie’s outstretched hands, and into the top left corner of the net to definitively

take the lead back. With less than a minute left in the match, Port Hardy’s Jaylon Grenier was looking for the

tying goal when he got shoulder checked off the ball near the Port McNeill net and a free kick was awarded to

his team. The ball was kicked into play, Port McNeill’s goalie made a big save, only for Williamson to find the

back of the net off the rebound to tie the game up 3-3. The whistle blew a couple seconds afterwards, and

that’s how the first U18 soccer match of the season ended. Coon was in good spirits after as he congratulated

his team on their play in the second half and mentioned that overall “things went well. The kids had fun and the

season’s looking pretty good. We’ve got some veterans and new players that are really jelling.”Port McNeill

Coach Jonathan Zima said the game “wasn’t too bad” for the start of the season, that the team is still “shaking

off the cobwebs and getting settled in,” and added that it was definitely “a beautiful day for the beautiful game.”

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