Renegades take home the bronze

This past Sunday, the Red Deer Renegades under 14 Tier II girls won the provincial bronze medal.

The Southwest United team from Edmonton ended up in fourth place. The Renegades threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at the Southwest goal, but could not buy a goal.

“We teach the team to play attacking soccer. The best defending is attacking. And my team was definitely an attacking team,” said Coach Esad Elkaz.

So was it the wind?

“No it wasn’t that windy. It’s one of those games the ball doesn’t go in.” Saturday night was a tough pill to swallow for the Renegades.

Tied for points in their pool with the Scottish team from Calgary, the Alberta Soccer Association officials asked both teams to return to the field at night to determine first in the pool.

Hanging in the balance was first place in their pool and a chance to play in the gold medal game. Would they play a sudden death game? No, penalty shots would decide their fate. The loser of the penalty shots would play for the bronze medal.

Digression time starts now! That’s right I have a pet peeve. Never after 90 minutes of sweating, tackling, pushing, tripping and running up and down the pitch do I feel it’s fair to try and decide who is the better team by taking penalty shots.

What do I propose you ask? Power plays where each team is shorthanded for two minutes. Whoever scores the most goals in those two minutes is the winner. Keep working your way down until the score is uneven, or it’s five on five. Boom! One of these teams is going down.

And they’re still playing soccer. Look, if you’re just going to decide a game with penalty kicks why not just start the game with penalty kicks and save everyone some time? (I apply this rule to hockey as well). End digression. So, the Renegades lost in the shootout on Saturday night. Their chance for gold was gone.

But Sunday, they would get a chance to win the bronze medal. Every chance they had in regulation went for not. At the 90-minute mark, the game was tied at zero.

To the dreaded penalty kicks we go. Fate was on the side of the Renegades this time. They outscored Southwest United 3-2 on penalty kicks and the coach could not hold back his pride.

“This is the hardest working team I’ve ever coached.”