As coach of Powhatan Fury FC’s U13/14 girls travel soccer team, which features athletes from both Powhatan and Goochland, Andrew Kaiser saw all of the girls’ training and hard work come to fruition during the Capital Fall Classic Girls Weekend tournament, in which they earned finalist honors.
Powhatan’s tournament performance was impressive considering the team was formed by combining two teams. The players were born in 2007-2008, and for nearly two-thirds of the team, this season was the first time they had played 11-on-11 soccer.
Competing in the 2007/U14 age group, the girls played older and physically larger teams in most of their games during the regular season and tournament.
Additionally, the team does not have a player who specializes in goalkeeping, so field players Emily Gibbs, Annabel Yates and Ellie Lowery took turns playing in goal.
But despite many of the team members playing a year up, Kaiser said they were still competitive.
“During the tournament I saw the team apply concepts and principles we had worked on all season long,” Kaiser said. “It was a joy to work with the team this season; however, finishing the season as finalists was definitely a bonus.”
During Saturday group play, the team tied with Culpeper SC Comets 2007 1-1 and defeated VYSA 07 Premier Royal 3-1 to finish in first place in Group A.
In Sunday’s semifinals, the team defeated SOCA Cville 07 Classic 2-1, then played to a 0-0 halftime score against VYSA in the final before eventually losing 5-0.
Team members are Addison Benge, Addison Wallace, Annabel Yates, Cadence Walton, Ella Chewning, Ellie Lowery, Emily Gibbs, Emmy Bruce, Lindsey Burnet, Meredith Eastwood, Savannah Forkey, Sydney McCracken, Valentina Shultz, Ginny Hayden and Yerilynn Ramirez.
“Not enough can be said towards the desire I saw from every player to succeed and perform to the best of their abilities,” Kaiser said. “By the end of the tournament I think the team as a whole was able to reflect and think about how much they’ve improved and learned from the beginning of the season.”
Their result as finalists in the tournament, Kaiser said, could not have been achieved without the commitment and support of the parents, the club and team manager Cheri Burnet.
“I am so proud of these girls. They have worked hard and really come together as a team,” Burnet said. “They had some tough games during the regular season and it would have been easy to become frustrated, but they remained positive and supportive of each other.
“They really get along and their friendship is a special part of the team,” Burnet said. “It was fantastic to see their hard work pay off in the tournament.”