After completing their best season ever in this their final year together, the Sunshine Coast U-18 Storm boys are off to provincials out in Langley this week, from July 13 to 16.
Coming together as a team like never before, the Storm finished third in their 17-team Lower Mainland Division 1 league this year, losing just three games all season long. They then advanced all the way to the Coastal Cup Final in April, where they lost in heartbreaking fashion 1-0 to an own-goal with just three minutes remaining. However, no matter how heartbreaking the loss, the silver lining was that they, being Coastal Cup runners up, earned a spot at provincials.
Eight teams in total qualify for provincials. Those eight teams are then split into two groups of four for round-robin play. Each team plays the other three teams in their group, before the winners of each group play each other for the provincial title on the fourth and final day. Meanwhile, the second-place teams from each group will play each other for third place, the third-place teams from each group play each other for fifth place, and the fourth-place teams play one another for seventh Place.
After opening the tournament on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Willoughby Community Park in Langley against BV United FC, from the Bulkley Valley in Northern B.C., the boys will continue their tourney on Friday at 2 p.m. at Yorkson Turf Field with a game vs Shuswap FC, a team from Salmon Arm. Then on Saturday they play the VAFC Titans from Vancouver at Willoughby Park. Then, depending on the standings after round-robin play, the final game on Sunday will kickoff sometime between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m.
Of special note, the defending provincial champions, the Kamloops Blaze, who the Storm tied 2-2 when they met in March at the Surrey Mayor’s Cup, lost in their Thompson-Okanagan Cup Final to the Shuswap team that the Storm play on Friday afternoon. That game is potentially looking to be the toughest one for the Sunshine Coast boys.
The Storm definitely plan to bring home the provincial title, but even if they fail to achieve that dream, they and their coaches are proud and excited to get this chance to finish their long multi-year trip together playing at the highest-level tournament they’ve ever played at. What a way to finish their amazing time together as a team.
The coaches, the parents and the boys themselves all want to thank all the local businesses who have contributed to the Storm’s provincial journey. The community support, both in financial terms and on the sidelines at games, has been incredible.
The team hopes to see many fans make the short trip to Langley to cheer the Storm on.
See you there, Sunshine Coast soccer fans.