Two Coastal FC teams qualify for nationals

Coastal FC’s Mathew Escobedo fights for possession of the ball from Gurman Sangha of Mountain United during the U14 boys B.C. final. - Contributed photo
Coastal FC’s Mathew Escobedo fights for possession of the ball from Gurman Sangha of Mountain United during the U14 boys B.C. final.
— image credit: Contributed photo

One Coastal FC soccer team will head to the Maritimes this fall, while another will defend their home turf against the rest of the country after punching their tickets to nationals late last month.

Coastal FC’s U14 premier-league boys team earned at sport at national club championships – scheduled for Oct. 8-13 in Charlottetown, P.E.I. – after winning a B.C. banner with a 3-1 victory over Mountain FC (North Shore-Burnaby) Saturday at McLeod Park in Langley.

Coastal’s U18 premier girls team, meanwhile, won’t have to travel for their national tournament, as the event is set to be played at South Surrey Athletic Park.

The upcoming trip to take on the country’s top U14 clubs will cap an impressive season for the Coastal FC boys team. Including their most recent triumph, the team sports a 12-1-3 (win-loss-tie) record.

They also gave up just five goals-against all season.

“The boys are all pretty excited,” said George Pacheco, who coaches the U14 club along with Bill and John Connor.

And though they gave up a goal to Mountain Saturday, Pacheco credited a quick start for his team’s success in the win.

Sidrit Vukaj got the team on the board early – “one minute and 11 seconds into the game,” Pacheco pointed out – to put the Peninsula team out in front.

Despite knowing that a win would push them forward to nationals, Pacheco said his players were still fairly stoic and focused after the final whistle Saturday.

“They weren’t all jumping around or anything. I think they were probably in a bit of shock,” he said, adding that the team won provincials last year as U13s.

“But we set a goal at the start of the season to win provincials and go to nationals, so they know there’s something bigger we are still going after.”

While the team will take a bit of a breather this summer – “We’ll give them about a month off, and just let them be boys for awhile,” Pacheco said – a handful of players will suit up for a U14 provincial team between now and October.

The team will reconvene later in the summer for practice and a few games before embarking on their trip east to P.E.I.

When the U18 girls event hits the field in South Surrey, Coastal FC – coached by Bob Birarda and Mark Pennington – will be looking to improve on their fourth-place at last year’s national championship, which was held in St. John’s Nfld.

“This is an exciting way to finish a league season that has already produced so much success,” said Coastal FC executive director Chris Murphy.

“It’s a real feather in the cap (of) the coaches and players who work so hard throughout the year to prepare for each and every game.”





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