LAKELAND – Despite being faced with tough competition, St. Paul's U19 soccer team won provincials held in Camrose on July 10. The St. Paul Yung Boyz won against Athabasca 5-0 and secured the gold medal at the 2022 Tier IV Servus Youth Provincial Championship finals.
The tournament was very competitive, filled with champion teams representing their respective regions across the province, said Alfred Ndose, the first-time head coach for the St. Paul Yung Boyz. He said all the teams deserved to win.
Ndose said the St. Paul Yung Boyz dealt with every game at a high level, pushing them to remain on top of their game. He added that the mentality gave them an advantage over the other teams.
"We don't go into a game like, 'Oh, we already qualified, we are ready for this'," he said, explaining the team treated all games they played as if it were their last. "With that determination, we had that burning desire to win each game."
The team also faced a few challenges, including travel and scheduling, but Ndose did not consider them detrimental because the team, including their parents, worked together to ensure the players were accommodated.
Achieving victory would also not have been possible without discipline and hard work, according to Ndose, and the trust between the coaching staff and players was a key factor. In addition to Ndose, coaching the team this season was Maurice Brousseau and Henri Laidley.
Ndose said he was thankful because the coaching staff allowed him the opportunity to showcase his coaching talent. He added that he was also grateful to the players for trusting him to lead them throughout the season.
"Some of them are like, 'I like to play this position,' but based on the game in front of you, you go, 'Okay, look, I have to switch you to this position'," he said. However, he added that players understood that it is sometimes necessary to switch things up for the benefit of the game.
"The parents as well, their support was enormous. They were amazing – going to the games and cheering the boys," he said.