What a season itâ€™s been for the Aldergrove Ambush.
The U17 girls soccer team, which practises and plays out of Aldergrove and represents the Aldergrove Youth Soccer Club, has powered its way to the BC Soccer Girls Provincial B Cup in Chilliwack July 3-6.
Much of the teamâ€™s success has come in the past couple months.
It started in March when the team won the U17 Fraser Valley District Championship.
After that, the Ambush took part in the Coastal B Cup playdowns, a single game knockout series.
With their win in the Coastal semifinals, theyâ€™ve also secured a place in the provincial tournament.
Ambush coach Dave Stephens said the team came together last September with a core of U17 and U16 players.
â€œThe challenge for our club is to compete when we do not have enough Div. 1 players at each age to compete,â€ Stephens explained. â€œThis group did really well in September and was moved up to Div. 1A, the top division.â€
Stephens said there was a learning curve that comes with competing against Div 1A opponents, â€œbut we learned a lot about playing against the top teams.â€
â€œThis is when we saw the key for our success â€“ no matter the challenges the girls became a team,â€ Stephens said. â€œAll of these girls play for each other and really enjoy each otherâ€™s company.â€
So much so, that halftime for the team means a chat amongst the girls as much as a message from the coach, and Stephens said â€œthe chat gets priority.â€
On the field, the team started the Coastal playdowns with expectations of giving its best and seeing what happens.
Wins over Vancouver and then Surrey led the Ambush to a showdown against the regular season winners from Ladner in the semifinals.
The Ambush scored twice in the final 10 minutes to win 2-1.
â€œThis placed us in the Coastal finals as well as qualifying for the provincials in July,â€ Stephens said.
On April 27, the Ambush played in the Coastal final in Richmond, taking on the Coastal Football Club (formerly Semiahmoo).
â€œOur relaxed group used teamwork personified to take a 3-0 lead and eventually won the Coastal Cup 3-1,â€ Stephens noted. â€œThere was a lot of pride in the win but again, the huge smiles on the faces of this great group of girls showed how much they enjoyed the wonderful day of soccer.â€
A parent even brought a bottle of alcohol-free sparkling juice, and the team all gathered to pop the cork of victory.
The older core of the Ambush ran the concession at the boys soccer provincials held in Aldergrove two years ago and several of them asked their coach how they could qualify for provincials.
â€œI explained the long road to claim a spot,â€ Stephens related. â€œWe were a solid Div. 2 [team], then there was little real possibility of the girls reaching their dream of the Provincials. Now we are there, and the girls are adamant that just getting there is not their only dream.â€
Stephens said the Ambush players know they can play with some of the qualified teams and the attitude is they can compete with all of the qualifiers.
â€œWe will go as far as teamwork , camaraderie and love of the game will take us,â€ Stephens said. â€œHere is hoping those characteristics carry us a long way.â€