After a tumultuous soccer season that saw the Lake Country Under-18 boys soccer team struggle through discipline issues for much of the year, the local club managed to pull it together in the year-end tournament, putting its troubles behind it and finishing the year on a positive.
The U-18 team in Lake Country featured a talented group of players this year but many times the team’s emotions ran out of control with players being disciplined.
It became such an issue that the Lake Country Youth Soccer Association had contemplated pulling the team before last weekend’s season ending Interior Savings Cup.
But after showing plenty of potential all season long, the players finally hit their stride in the tournament’s final two games.
After sitting in third place, Lake Country met the Okanagan Mission Under-18 boys in the tournament semi-final game which they would win 3-2, advancing to the final against previously unbeaten Westside Youth Soccer.
The final was 0-0 through regulation thanks in large part to Lake Country keeper Florian Maier, a German exchange student who was on his game in net.
Maier would allow just a single goal in the shootout and his teammates would score twice as Lake Coutnry defeated Westside 2-1 to win the tournament.
In attendance during the final game was Bruce Clark, the chair of the Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association discipline committee, who had come to the final due to the previous problems the soccer team had.
Clark was pleasantly surprised by the game and said it was played in the spirit of sportsmanship.
“Instead of having to deal with issues, I was treated to a tremendous game with the only sad part being one team had to lose,” he said in an email to the Lake Country YSA. “It was highly aggressive, competitive and yet very sportsmanlike and a pleasure to watch. The clubs and players should be congratulated for turning around a season of controversy and displaying a game the way it is supposed to be played.”