Soccer zones start Sunday

It’s a short season, and one both Williams Lake senior boys soccer teams hope gets extended into November.

It’s a short season, and one both Williams Lake senior boys soccer teams hope gets extended into November.

This Sunday, the North Central Zone AA Soccer Championships rolls into Williams Lake and eight teams will be vying for a lone berth at the provincial championships next month in Vancouver.

Both local high schools, the Columneetza Cougars and the Williams Lake Thunder, kick off their tournaments on Sunday afternoon.

In addition, the Cougars junior boys squad has been thrown into the fray after a late tournament withdrawal left one spot open.

Rounding out the draw are the Duchess Park Condors, the DP Todd Trojans, the College Heights Cougars, Burns Lake secondary and Quesnel junior secondary.

Columneetza coach Rob Tazelaar said he thinks his club is ready, and has a decent shot at advancing to provincials.

“We’ve been practicing right since the beginning of September,” he said.

“We have a solid team and I think we have a good shot but it all depends on the way the kids play.”

Games will be played at both Williams Lake Secondary School and at Columneetza Secondary School.

The Cougars senior boys kick off their tournament against Duchess Park at 3 p.m. Sunday at Columneetza. Prior to that, Williams Lake secondary takes the pitch at 1 p.m. at Williams Lake secondary versus the Columneetza junior squad.

Curt Levens, who coaches the Williams Lake Thunder along with George Fraser, said the Thunder should be competitive, and have had close games in the few exhibition matches they’ve played with Columneetza.

“We’ve got quite a few newer players, but we’ve had good games with them [the Cougars],” Levens said.

“The kids are really excited to play. They like to travel, but I think they’re excited to play at home and hopefully get a few fans out.

“It’s a quick season. We’ve got some keen players and hopefully they play well.”

The tournament features two brackets with four teams in each. Sunday and Monday will consist of round robin play at both local high schools.

On Tuesday, semifinal matchups will take place, along with the tournament final, at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Columneetza.

Meanwhile, the third and fourth place game will be played at WLSS at 1 p.m.

“There’s a little bit of payback in order for us,” Tazelaar said.

“We lost last year to DP Todd in the semis and the year before to Duchess in the semis, so it’s actually a neat rivalry.

“This year it’s a little different because College Heights has stepped up and won the Prince George high school league.”

Both coaches are also inviting everyone to come out and support their local high school teams.