South West dazzles in Canberra
The future of South West youth soccer is burning brightly, if the latest results at the prestigious Kanga Cup tournament are anything to go by.
Coached by Gareth Johnston and Nicole Suttie, the South West Football Federation fielded two teams, which competed in the under 12 boys and under 13 girls competitions.
Both sides competed against quality opposition, with major NPL and international clubs competing across several divisions of the tournament.
But as Johnston explains, opposition on the pitch wasn’t always the only thing they had to contend with.
“The boys won the first game 3-0 in the morning against Belwest Foxes SC,” he said.
“We had a game in the afternoon and when we got to the venue 25 minutes before the game was due to start, we were told that we had to move to another ground.
“This venue was a 30 minute drive, so then we had to arrange transport from there and we were only given a limited 10-minute warm up prior to the game starting.
“Unfortunately, we lost that game 5-2 against Mudgee Representative, who ended as as runners up in our division.
“It was a terrible day because aside from the changed venue, we conceded two penalties along with an own goal.
“To this day, I’m still trying to figure out in my head how we lost that game because we controlled it but it was one of those days.”
Johnston’s side finished third in Pool B of the shield competition, picking up 10 points from a possible 18.
Suttie’s team produced one of the most remarkable results in tournament history to reach the semi final of the under 13 girls cup competition.
Needing to secure a 12-0 victory over the Curl Curl Diamonds in their final group match to advance, the South West side duly delivered, netting the 12th goal with 10 seconds left in injury time.
Suttie’s side then took on the North Shore Mariners in the semi-final, which are feeder club to Central Coast’s W-League team.
“In their very first group match they played them and were beaten 7-1,” Johnston said.
“In the semi, the girls changed their formation for that match and they really pushed them all of the way to the end.
“They put in a really solid performance despite going down 3-0.”
Johnston praised Suttie and all of the players for their hard work and attitude on and off the pitch.
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