Time really does fly!
Not so long ago at the culmination of the 2009/2010 soccer season, a group of 12 year old boys going by the name of the U13 (1997) Richmond Young Gunners, and their coaches Brent Branker and Paul Legge, were crowned Provincial A Cup Champions with a victory over the Kamloops Blaze.
Five seasons later, many of those same U13 team members finished off their youth careers as members of the U18 Richmond United with a second trip to the Provincial A Cup Championships held July 9-12 in Surrey – this time under the guidance of John Gattens and Ted Lorenz. And what a tournament it was!
Ending the 2014/2015 Metro Select League regular season as league Champions with Richmond’s Yafet Kidane being voted the League’s Most Valuable Player, the team captured a spot in the Provincial Championships. In Coastal Cup, Richmond had a heart-breaking 2-0 loss to the Central City Breakers in April’s semi-final game. Taking some time to regroup, writing final exams and graduating from high school, the boys headed back to the field and with the help of many former Richmond Metro players coming out to help the boys train, the team was determined to make the best of their final tournament as youth players.
Tested from the start, Richmond faced Coastal Cup Champions, Burnaby Selects, in their first round robin game. Lead by Kidane and Richmond FC Metro Player of the year, Leuvin Ebora, the team came out fighting and didn’t look back. With outstanding goal-tending by Sebastian Kriwoy-Perez, Richmond held on for a 2-1 win over Burnaby. With that boost of confidence the U18s went on to a 3-0 win over Kamloops Blaze and a 3-1 score versus the Island entry, Bays United/Peninsula FC. This put Richmond in first place after round robin play and a trip to the Provincial finals against Burnaby Selects!
Heading into the final, Richmond suffered a set-back when Ebora was injured in the game against Bays United/Peninsula FC and was unable to play in the finals. On a hot and muggy Sunday afternoon, just as the opening whistle blew, the rain began to fall …. pour! Both teams dug in hard and fought through the first half with no score at half time. With a half time pep talk, the second half started off much the same way for both teams and no scoring, although many chances, both goal keepers came up big. Regulation time ended with at a 0-0 score line and the game headed in to overtime. Play continued back and forth through overtime and with minutes left, Richmond goalie Perez received a red card and was ejected from the game – a crushing blow to the team. Without options, defender Devon Gautreau stepped in as goalie and held the game to a 0-0 tie …. which meant the game would be decided by penalty kicks! It was a tension filled shoot-out for all – players, coaches, moms, dads, RFC supporters. PKs were scored by both teams, but in the end, Gautreau came up with two HUGE saves and the Championship title went to the boys of U18 Richmond United!
Richmond FC would like to congratulate the following U18 Richmond United players and coaches for their tremendous accomplishment – Metro Select League Winners and Provincial A Cup CHAMPIONS! We are very proud of you!
Leuvin Ray Ebora
Sebastian Kriwoy Perez
Coaches: John Gattens, Ted Lorenz
Manager: Jim Platis