NEW MINAS – It was a close game July 8 as the Valley United U17AAA girls’ team beat out Highland FC 3-2 on the New Minas turf.
Valley coach Mike Ouellette said the game was a good one with his team controlling the majority of possession and creating many scoring opportunities.
With warm temperatures and just one substitute player to boot, it was an impressive win, but Ouellette said there is always some room for improvement.
“I’d like to see us finishing better, but we defended well. Maintaining possession was our strong suit today,” he said.
The coach said the several players called up from younger teams were a huge contribution to the day’s success. With several of the team’s regular top players out with injuries, it was a huge help for the girls.
“They’re very high quality. They’re steady, they’ve got great feet on the field – we appreciate that,” he said.
The team’s season is also going strong, with only one “landslide loss” of 5-1, according to Ouellette. All other games, whether they win or lose, have been within one to two goals.
This is why Ouellette said he’s got his team working on taking advantage of those scoring opportunities.
“We’re in every game and are creating scoring opportunities and defending well. We’ve got good keeping, but I’d just like to see us score more when we’ve got the opportunities,” he said.
Another strength for his team is how they find innovative ways up to their forwards – “either to feet, chips or through balls they can run to,” said Ouellette – and continuing working on maintaining possession.
“A lot of what we’re working on is maintaining possession under pressure, playing well out of the back, and not just booting the ball away,” he said, adding the booting urge can come as players get cheers from the stands after a big kick.
“You hear fans cheer when the ball is booted away, but that’s not actually what you want at this level of soccer. You want to maintain possession, link up with players and good combination plays.”
The team will play their next game July 11 at the Acadia University field, and are not taking part in this year’s Gunn Baldursson Memorial Soccer Tournament as the number of U-17 teams that signed up was too few.
But, while disappointed with not participating, it could mean a welcome rest for the team as their top players work to get back on the field.
“We’ve got a busy stretch coming up, so I’m sure the girls will enjoy their time off,” said Ouellette.