Ponoka Storm to host U-16 girls provincials

Soccer fans can look forward to a provincial tournament in Ponoka this summer.

Jarret Henderson makes a break for it during a game against Stettler May 16. Ponoka Storm won 7-0.

Jarret Henderson makes a break for it during a game against Stettler May 16. Ponoka Storm won 7-0.

Soccer fans can look forward to a provincial tournament in Ponoka this summer.

The U-16 girls’ team won the bid to host provincials this year and Rob McArthur, president of the Ponoka Minor Soccer Association (PMSA), couldn’t be happier. “

The girls won provincials last year and wanted to represent Ponoka at home this year. The association hosted provincials two years ago and McArthur feels they were able to learn some valuable lessons to ensure operations run smoother.

Despite being down slightly in membership from last year, McArthur feels the board has a strong set of directors. “We are setting ourselves up for success. Ponoka’s going to be successful in the next 10 years.”

Leaders on the board have longterm commitments to Ponoka Soccer and strong development can be seen in the coaches, players and even referees.

“We’ve worked hard and have a good solid core,” he added. “Rather than flying by the seat of our pants we’ve laid out policies and protocols for our league.”

The U-16 boys played Stettler May 16 and were vying for a win after a record of 0-1-2, said coach Gurji Sandhu. “We’re really trying to emphasize this year…Getting behind the ball as soon as you lose it.”

He has a strong team of players who want to always be on the offence and he has been working with them to remain focused on strong defensive plays.

“My expectation is they have to work hard…Not to be scared of anyone,” Sandhu added.

Passing is important as well, the coach wants his players to be aware of the field and pass as soon as there is an opportunity. He feels with dedication the team will be able to have strength in upcoming matches. Their goal is to qualify for provincials this year.

The boys trounced Stettler with a 7-0 win. Sandhu enjoys the competition of soccer and seeing his players get better. “When they improve throughout the season, it’s something me and Cam (co-coach Cameron Horan) are proud of.”

He also enjoys working out new strategies for players.

Ponoka Storm competitive league standings:

• U-12 girls: 1-1-0

• U-12 boys: 1-1-1

• U-14 girls: 2-1-0

• U-14 boys: 1-2-1

• U-16 girls: 1-0-1

• U-16 boys: 1-1-2

• U-18 girls: 1-2-0