Call in the 'A' team

There was no pitying the fools.


There was instead just a ‘Hannibal’ and ‘Faceman’ and ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock work-around on the soccer pitch recently.

There was a method to the madness in a 45-member team of middle school soccer players traveling to Ketchikan last weekend.

It was genius actually.

New Floyd Dryden travel restrictions say only “A” teams can travel. That would have eliminated half of the Eagles soccer players.

On this trip, however, the Eagles improved to have an “A” Boys team, an “A” Girls team and an “A” Coed team.

The Coed team was the less experienced. Those youngsters that maybe just don’t tie their cleats as fast as some others but still have the hearts of champions.

This gave the opportunity for everyone to travel and all 45 players had the time of their lives.

For most of them this is their last middle school trip unless the travel ban imposed by the school board is lifted.

Technically, all the rules were followed.

According to new policy imposed by the school district, the kids had to raise all the money for the trip and have it in the bank before the travel.

Since the Eagles did not even know if they would be allowed to travel at all until a month ago, they only raised the funds within the past 30 days.

They raised so much, in fact, that money is left over to help Ketchikan travel here next season.

According to new policy imposed by the school district the kids had to take the ferry. They left Thursday night at 11 p.m., arrived in Ketchikan at 5 p.m.

They played games Friday night and all day Saturday.

They left Ketchikan at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

They spent 18 hours sleeping on the floor to get there and 18 hours sleeping on the floor to get back.

Parents picked the rugged teams up at the ferry at 4 a.m. Monday morning and, per policy, the kids went to school later that morning.

They only missed one day of school.

With two 18-hour ferry trips and two teachers on board as chaperones, the kids had plenty of time to do homework and catch up on their studies. Books were finished on the ferry ride north that were first opened on the ferry ride south.

And Ketchikan, went all MacGyver, and figured out how to provide the ‘A’ team with bus transportation for the weekend, including rides to and from the ferry terminal and to and from the gym where the players slept.

Ketchikan also provided a breakfast, lunch and dinner so the Juneau youth could concentrate on the games rather then finding food.

Oh, and the weather was great.

Well, as good as can be expected this time of year... moderate sprinkles and no wind in temperatures of 40-50.

Six different games were played: 2 boys ‘A,’ 2 girls ‘A,’ and 2 coed ‘A.’

This is how they played out:

Cierra McCain scored in the 8th minute Friday night after beating three defenders and ripping a shot into the back of the net from 15 yards out. She scored again in the 31st minute on another breakaway. The Ketchikan keeper managed to get her fingers on the ball but couldn’t stop it from going in. The third goal came just a minute later when Kaylah Duncan collected a pass from Hailley Jones at the top of the 18 yard box and blasted a shot that took a slight deflection of a Ketchikan player and found the back of the net.

Ketchikan changed tactics for the second half by marking McCain 1 on 1 and try to deny her the ball. The second half was quite physical as both teams fought hard for the ball. The game ended 3-0 with Juneau goalkeeper Shaylin Cesar recording a shutout.

Or in soccer terms, a clean sheet.

The boys played the late game Friday night with the Juneau and Ketchikan teams showing two different styles of play. The Ketchikan boys were faster and bigger and used a direct approach in trying to outrun the Juneau team. Juneau used triangle passing and possession to try to work the ball up the field.

Exciting, yet entertaining.

Kanon Goetz scored at the 10 minute mark when he came down the left hand side, put a move on the last defender then arced a shot over the keepers head into the far post netting. The two teams battle back and forth for the rest of the game with Ketchikan getting some great chances on goal that were either cleared by a defender, went high or wide, bounced off the post or were smothered by Juneau Keeper Alan Plosay. The game ended 1-0.

Saturday started off with a game by the coed teams. Since Ketchikan doesn’t have 6th graders in their middle school, they had the decided advantage of having a much older team then Juneau. The game ended 1-0 Ketchikan.

On Saturday the Ketchikan boys used their size and speed and Juneau used their technical ability. The game went back and forth with neither team seeming to have a clear advantage. The game ended 2-1 with Will Hoover getting Juneau’s lone goal.

The girls then took the field and even though Ketchikan marked Cierra McCain tightly from the start, she still managed to put a quick move on a defender then powered a shot through the hands of the Ketchikan goalkeeper three minutes into the game. Ketchikan then settled into their defense and were able to shut down the powerful Juneau team for the rest of the game. However, with a strong performance from Juneau’s back line consisting of Star Barger, Cassie Dzinich, and Kalianna Lewis, with Morgan Blackgoat, Briannah Letter, and Mirla Gamez rotating in for relief, Juneau’s keeper Shaylin Cesar was able to record another clean sheet without ever touching the ball in the game. Final score was 1-0 Juneau.

The last game of the night was the second game of the day for the Juneau coed team.

They were tired and banged up with one girl in a walking boot from a twisted ankle and two other girls sitting out due to ankle sprains of their own. Ketchikan won 4-1.

So there you go.

The earth is still spinning.

There were wins and losses and lessons learned.

It only takes the bad guys one episode to realize not to mess with the ‘A’ team.

Okay, I’ll say it...

I pity the fools!


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback