KENTVILLE – As soccer coach Shelley Peach watched her daughter compete at the Gunn Baldursson Memorial Soccer tournament, it reminded her of her own time there as a young player.
Peach is the coach of the U-13 Somerset team that matched up against Middleton July 13 at the tournament, an annual event held in Kentville honouring Gunn Baldursson, a former Acadia University student and soccer player.
The event regularly draws dozens of girls’ teams from across the Annapolis Valley, and this year saw dozens of teams from East Hants to Yarmouth compete.
“The history itself is just so grand – it’s important for me that they’re part of that, because we’ve made this a huge tournament that everybody wants to go to,” said the coach.
Madison Peach listened with her teammates at half time as the coach gave them tips on how to keep bringing their best game during the second half.
“Today is going pretty good. I think we just need to pass the ball up the side a bit more, and then cross it in and shoot,” she said.
“Our defense are doing pretty good – we just need to keep kicking it up the side.”
Her teammates Janna Cook and Chloe Slauenwhite agreed, and said passing seems to be the key element that can win any soccer game for any team.
“M teammates are easy to pass to, and it’s that team effort. We’re good at passing and calling for the ball,” said Cook.
Slauenwhite said the tournament is fun because it shows them the competition they’ll be up against the rest of the season.
“I like that we get to play against lots of different teams and see what the competition is around the Annapolis Valley,” she said.
The game ended in a 1-1 tie against Middleton.
Listening to her daughter and other teammates talk about their game strategy, the coach got a little emotional describing what it’s like watching the girls out on the field.
“So I’ve been playing here, and so it means a lot now that my daughter is playing here. It’s a little emotional – “ she broke off.
“This tournament is great for these girls, and they’re just so great to coach. They listen – at practices they’re just always listening, and when I watch them and they do something that I’ve told them to do, it makes me excited. I love seeing that.”
She said the sport and tournament teaches the girls more than just teamwork.
“Sports foster friendships, and they are somewhere these girls can get together and feel comfortable. They’re growing, and the ones that are stronger are helping the weaker ones grow. I believe in that mixed grouping,” she said.