Behind tournament MVP’s David Troup and Cindy Eriksen and top keeper Geoffrey Woodhouse, Juneau won a division championship and a fourth place at the recent Yukon Brewing Invitational soccer tournament in Whitehorse.
The tournament is the Yukon’s version of Juneau’s Shamrock Invitational Tournament, which saw two Whitehorse teams travel to the Alaskan capital to compete last month.
Four teams battled for supremacy in both the Lead Dog Co-Ed and Yukon Gold Over-35 divisions, with one Juneau team participating in each.
The tournament, held in the Arctic Winter Games Centre in Whitehorse, grew in numbers this year, with 78 players competing in the three-day event.
The tournament originally started as a men’s 35 years and older competition but has expanded to include a co-ed division.
There were four teams per division; many of them compete in the Shamrock tourney.
Teams consist of six players on the field at a time (5 field players and 1 keeper) with subs coming on and off hockey style. The men’s team acquired one Whitehorse player for a total of nine (equal to the other teams) and the co-ed team acquired two. Three round-robin games were played, one semi-final, and one final game.
Juneau went undefeated to win the men’s over-35 division, beating Whitehorse Black 3-1, while Black beat Red 5-4 in an all-Whitehorse co-ed final.
Juneau finished first after storming out to a 3-0 round robin record and kept that momentum going in the semifinal with a 6-1 win over fourth-place Whitehorse Red.
Because Juneau made the final over-35 game, the game was rescheduled from noon to 10 a.m. The Juneau co-ed team finished fourth.
In Sunday’s co-ed division final, Black was able to build a lead and then hang on to defeat Red 5-4 to win the tournament trophy. Both teams won their semifinal games Saturday afternoon in what were considered upsets.
Fourth-place Red knocked off first-place Blue 4-3, and then third-place Black eliminated second-place Juneau 4-1 to force the unlikely championship game.
“We were pretty excited to be in the final,” Connell chuckled. “Juneau had a very strong team.”
The shared tournaments between the two sister cities has rekindled interest in the game locally.
NOTES: Awards were handed out prior to the final games at the tournament banquet Saturday night. They are as follows:
Co-ed male MVP: Eric Murphy. Co-ed female MVP: Cindy Eriksen. Over-35 MVP: David Troup. Top keeper: Geoff Woodhouse. Sportsmanship award: Tony Gaw. Boobie award: Patrick Jackson.
This year’s tournament marked the first time the year-end tournament has been linked with a sponsor.
In prior years, the tournament was simply known as the Whitehorse Rapids end-of-year championship.