Hope Secondary Grade 9 student Quentin Jones

Mustangs struggle to stay competitive

Hope Secondary soccer squad facing tough opposition from Valley rivals

Hope Secondary’s Mustang boys soccer teams are fighting an uphill battle — but according to junior coach Andrew Tarrant they’re having a good time on the climb.

Down-valley schools have a great advantage in drawing players with lots of club soccer experience, while Hope only has a few that have continued past the Hope Minor Soccer level, which ends at grade seven.

The juniors discovered the disparity in their first game of the season, visiting Vedder Middle School last Thursday.

How was the team’s first game, in Tarrant’s first year as a coach?

“It depends if you care about the score line — but we had an absolute blast!” said Tarrant, who is a local social worker and pastor of the Hope Church of the Nazarene.

“The kids were hooting on the sideline, even though we were losing 7-nil at the half. We were under constant pressure in the first half but in the second half, we actually had some offensive forays.

“Despite losing by at least 10, I was floating when I got off the bus in Hope. We stopped for slurpies on the way back and the boys were really excited.”

Tarrant, who grew up playing the game in Scotland, is new to Hope and relished the chance to coach a high school team.

“Kyle Kjemhus had mentioned the opportunity, if I was interested. I had been a youth worker in Surrey before coming here and I thought it would be a good way to get to know the kids of the community.

“The thing I find hardest to coach is how to have game awareness and how to play their positions, when they haven’t had much experience,” said the coach. “We’ll figure it out, though.

“A lot of them are grade eights, so we’ll have lots of returning players next year.”

The juniors’ opponents are all Chilliwack public schools: Vedder Middle, Slesse Middle, Chilliwack Middle and G.W. Graham. They had their first home game — against CMS — today (Wednesday) and will next host Vedder on the 19th and Graham on the 24th.

Senior coach, Geordie Webber, agrees that heading down-river has its challenges.

“This year, all the teams look tough, at least on paper,” he said Monday, before Tuesday’s home-opener against D.W. Poppy. “Last year, there were a couple of weaker teams that we could be competitive with… Aldergrove for example, but they don’t have a team this year.”

Last Tuesday, the senior boys traveled to Abbotsford Traditional for their first game of the season.

“The first thirty minutes were great,” recalled Webber. “We were down 1-0 and they had more chances — but we had some. Then they scored two more in the last 10 minutes of the half, coming in the same way.

“It was rough for the first 30 minutes of the second half,” he added. “We’d get possession and start to work down field and they’d hit us and knock us over. The ref would call it but by that time, they’d be back and all set up for us.

“There was one that happened right in front of me, where Brandon Stewart was elbowed in the head but the call went against us. I had no idea there was a penalty for heading someone on the elbow….”

The score ended 6-0, though Hope almost broke the shut-out late in the game when Colin Webber drilled a free kick at the goal from 30 paces out. The Abbotsford keeper clumsily bobbled it twice before knocking it out of touch.

“I don’t think I could fault Brendan Sullivan on any of the goals we let in,” said the coach. “He’s very brave and he’ll challenge any ball. He’s got good hands from playing basketball.”

Webber added, “We’re starting to get a sense of where our team-mates should be — but we’ve got to be more precise in our passing. A few metres off-target and the ball is coming back at us.”

The next scheduled home game for the senior boys is October 25, versus G.W. Graham.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Popular retired UFV therapy dog passes away

Mac the Therapy Dog consoled countless students and staff, as well as wildfire victims

Imagination Library Fraser Valley celebrating Christmas in July

Dolly Parton early literacy intiative looking for financial support to help with waitlist

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Fraser Valley loses the Keith Wilson Waver as Ron Hupper passes away

Hupper brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people traveling Chilliwack’s Keith Wilson Road

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Most Read