Kyle Shury is walking around with pink hair these days and he couldn’t be happier about it.
The U13 Richmond Red Bulls head coach promised his players they could dye his hair — just like women’s national team member Sophie Schmidt — if they came on top of the podium at B.C. Soccer’s Premier “A” Cup Provincial Championships. Sure enough the first-year Metro girls team delivered a huge victory two weekends ago in South Surrey.
The Red Bulls capped a memorable tournament with a thrilling 1-0 extra time win over Coquitlam Metro Ford in the title game. Fittingly, it avenged an earlier loss in pool play as the 2018-19 campaign was all about second chances.
Richmond was initially not going to be part of the tournament after a tough semi-final loss in the Coastal “A” Cup playdowns back in April. However, the girls were given new life with play-in game against North Shore when the Interior did not enter a team.
The Red Bulls produced a 1-0 victory in early June to secure their spot in South Surrey.
Richmond opened the championships with a 1-0 loss to Coquitlam, leaving no room for error for the remainder of round-robin play. The girls then delivered a big 3-1 win over Coastal Cup and Metro League regular season champion Fraser Valley.
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, Natalie Cheung equalized with a left-footed shot from the top of the box. It was another left-footed strike from Stephanie Sofikitis that gave her team the lead. Ava Davidson then added an insurance goal in the final 10 minutes.
Next was Burnaby— the team that knocked Richmond out of the Coastal Cup playdowns with a 2-1 result back in April.
The girls carried the bulk of possession and were awarded on a second half goal by Kya Thackwray for a 1-0 win.
The stage was set for a rematch with Coquitlam. Richmond again enjoyed the territorial advantage but its opponent proved to be very difficult to breakdown. It remained scoreless through regulation and the first overtime period.
With penalty kicks looming, Sofia Lemaire won a critical challenge just outside the box and was able to play a ball in for the on-running Davidson who beat off her defender and slotted it past the oncoming ‘keeper for the dramatic 1-0 win.
Even though it was the team’s first-year in Metro, the bulk of the players had been together through the U10-to-U12 levels with Richmond Girls Soccer’s development program.
The Red Bulls also feature: Kyla Cabral, Mischa Chang, Bailey Denhoed, Olivia Grill, Ambra Hepburn, Kiersten Kiraly, Sierra Lemire, Katrina Mackey, Tiana Maedel, Claire Pogor, Isabella Shury and Alex Yuill.
Cole Maedel and Cassandra Sammarco round out the coaching staff.