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Avalanche of Success

30 Aug 2016, Posted by SWU Proud in Academy, Coaches, Players, Success, SWU News, Team Travel

Back in the summer of 2015, a bad news bears group of young U12 girls, most relatively new to the game of soccer, struggled through their junior season of Tier 4 soccer. That team was the SWU Avalanche.

The team placed 12th in a group of 15 that outdoor season, earning a total of 3 wins during their 14 game season.  At the end of the year, the team’s head coach, Carly Wood-Garvey, moved to U13 with her daughter & the team was without a head coach and were coming off of a very tough year.  However, the Avalanche were heading into their senior year in U12 and things were about to change in a dramatic way!

It was the team’s Assistant Coach Cora Morrison’s turn to step in. Cora said she “loved the girls and coaching” and decided to have a go at taking the lead.  She wasn’t alone.  Carly was introduced to U18 player Andrea Cross who she quickly formed a tight bond with, and Andrea, along with some of her U18 team mates, began coming out to training sessions to help out the younger players.  All of the attention clearly started to motivate and inspire the girls.  With All-Reds Academy trainer Carlos Santos also taking a special interest in the team, many of the players felt encouraged to sign on for extra Academy training and were keen and ready to see where this heightened interest in the game could take them.

The extra work paid off and the Avalanche began their climb. In Indoor 2015, the team soared up the standings, eventually landing in first place and earning an exciting Tier 4 Provincial placement.  Though the team was only able to manage fourth place at the Provincial tournament that season, the performance raised eyebrows at the club and discussions began over whether or not the team might be ready to take the next step – and take the next step they did. After much deliberation, the club decided to move the Avalanche into Tier 3, where they would become an official Academy team and were then christened the SWU Selects 04.

The Selects 04 entered Tier 3 this season as underdogs and unknowns.  Facing ten established Tier 3 opponents, everyone at the club was uncertain over how the team would perform.  After exciting performances in their four pre-season games, were enough to convince the club not to move the group back to Tier 4. The Selects 04 had a rough start to the regular season at four games in with two losses to mid-table teams, the team sat near the bottom of the table. The winning ways of their indoor campaign must have seemed far behind them.

Luckily, the Selects 04 are no ordinary group of soccer players.  They had been working extremely hard, and as Coach Andrea stated, the Selects 04 are “a great group of girls who are dedicated to each other and want to grow as a team. They always bring their best game forward…”  The old Avalanche girls were done with losing. After a big come-back win in their next game, the team had a season-defining 2-0 win against our top rivals in green! From there, the team not only failed to lose another game, they did not even concede a single goal for the rest of the season! The results were amazing. At the end of the season they sat at the top of the league, and had earned a trip to the Tier 3 Provincial Championships!

The trip to Medicine Hat for Provincials was a learning experience for the players. They lost some tough games and were without their Keeper due to injury in their final match.  Despite not bringing home a Provincial medal, Coach Cora is proud of the team and says that the players “have grown so much both socially and technically.” This is a team that has lost together and won together, each hurdle and success making them “better team mates for one another, which has made them a great team.”  Few teams have ever improved so much, so quickly. SWU would like to congratulate the Selects 04 (Avalanche) on all they have achieved.  They are a great example of what hard work and dedication can do for any team that wants to grow and improve together!

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