Richmond F.C. proved to be the road warriors en route to being crowned B.C. Soccer’s U16 Coastal “A” Cup champions.
The Metro Selects League girls side capped off a marvellous month with a 3-2 win in penalty kicks over the Upper Vancouver Island Tide last Saturday in Aldergrove. The girls’ run to the title did not include one game on home turf. They produced away victories over Vancouver (2-1), Port Moody (4-1) and the Fraser Valley Selects (4-3) in extra time.
The team has been a model of consistency — reaching the cup final a year ago, only to lose to the Delta Coastal Selects. This campaign started with a tournament win in Chilliwack and Richmond went on to finish second in regular season play to Coquitlam Metro Ford.
“Last year, the goal was to get to the provincials and that was quite the accomplishment for us,” said Richmond F.C. coach Sean Lawson. “This time, the girls set out to be Coastal and Provincial Cup champions. There is a lot of parity in our league and we had a tough draw. We’re really proud of them.”
Richmond took some of the suspense out of the penalty kicks by scoring on all four of its attempts, while Upper Island missed the net and was saved on another. A fifth Richmond shot wasn’t even required.
Lawson was quick to praise Richmond Girls Soccer technical and development coach Brent Branker who has been working with many of the girls from a young age.
“He has been with them from the very beginning and deserves all the credit for their success. I’m more like the assistant coach/general manager,” said Lawson.
The team includes: Megan Estrada, Sammi Seaborn, Harmony Bulloch, Gabby Lee, Kara Moscovitz, Allison Carver, Samantha Trueman, Izzy Loschiavo, Bella Lawson, Morgan Flynn, Samantha Mah, Grace Stephenson, Alex Legge, Keanna Foster, Leora Bloom and Reiko Bohmert.
The girls now preparing for their second straight appearance at the Provincial “A” Cup Championships, slated for early July at Newton Athletic Park.
Also headed to Surrey will be the Richmond United U18 boys team as it looks to complete a remarkable campaign.
The 1999-born side also captured Coastal “A” Cup honours with a 1-0 victory over rival Burnaby Selects. Richmond has yet to lose a game this season — going 14-4-0 in league play, then producing two more cup wins before slipping past Burnaby on a goal by Talvinder Jagde.
United are headed to a tournament in Las Vegas later this month, then will gear up for provincials — looking to complete the very rare treble (league, Coastal and B.C. champs) to conclude its run in youth soccer.
“We have been blessed these past six years with not only great kids but parents too,” said Richmond coach Shawn Sandhu.
“They have been very supportive of anything we have wanted to do to help the boys’ development.”
The team also includes Jovan Dhillon, Sajad Bakhtani, Khalil Virji, Daniel Judkowicz, Matthew Loveland, Sean Minato, Jordan Sandhu, Logan Hooper, Benjamin Weber, William Jackson, Nicholas Perrott, Zachary Balen, Reese Hafner, Peiyu Song, Marko Jovic, Maciej Wysocki and Zach Cantwell.
Sandhu also praised fellow coaches Indy Dulay and Greg Dunham, along with the efforts of manager Bob Minato.
Special mention was given to former Richmond FC head coach Roberto Sciascia in his role developing the boys through their youth soccer careers.