Photo by Chung Chow
When the Richmond Strikers look back on the 2017-18 soccer season several years from now, they’ll no doubt reflect proudly on their strong bond.
Bronze medallists at the just-completed Provincial A Cup, which Richmond hosted, the majority of the players that made up under-14 girls’ team began playing together at the under-10 level. Several chose to pass up opportunities to move up to the high-performance league to remain Strikers.
“They have grown and learned to play multiple roles on the team,” says assistant coach Greg Ng. “In previous years, we played against girls a year older.”
Ng says head coach Mandhir Punia established a set of goals that the team enthusiastically reached. He says strong defence and stellar goalkeeping—Makayla Kusch and Christina Sofikitis allowed only 13 goals during the season, the fewest in the league, while earning Richmond Girls’ Soccer Association Goalkeepers of the Year honours—was key to the Strikers’ success. Teagan Ng led an equally-stellar offence, accounting for half of the team’s league-best 60 goals. With her (unofficial) 30 goals and 11 assists in 22 games, Ng was the Metro League Player of the Year, helping the Strikers top not only the Metro League but also win the Coastal Cup. At the provincials, the Strikers were upset by eventual-champion West Vancouver Rangers, a team they defeated three times earlier this season.
“While we were near the top of the league last year, this year’s success was a little bit surprising,” Greg Ng says. “We always knew the girls had the talent, but there was a confidence and chemistry that led them to this success.”
And the best may yet be to come. The team is expected to remain mostly intact next season.