Hayden Murphy gets set to shoot, while Kailen Russell (R) and Joshua Mark (L) look for any rebounds. (Photo contributed)

Hayden Murphy gets set to shoot, while Kailen Russell (R) and Joshua Mark (L) look for any rebounds. (Photo contributed)

Vernon Futsal Club competed for the 2018 Pacific Rim Cup

Though the team didn’t get the results they had hoped for, coaches said players gained invaluable experience by participating in the international competition.

Vernon’s Da Rua Futsal Club attended the Pacific Rim Futsal Cup in Honolulu earlier this month.

While organizers were excited to host a Canadian club and the fans were thrilled to be on a tropical island as winter approached back home, it was the players who benefited the most through top-level competition.

Though the results didn’t always go their way, Da Rua management said the team played with grit and determination in overcoming adversity and gaining invaluable experience.

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The first day of the tournament matched Da Rua against hometown favourite Kauai FC. Kauai jumped into a two-goal lead before Da Rua evened the score through two goals from Kailen Russell.

Russell, supported by wing Hayden Murphy and centre Joshua Mark along with Ethan Anderson, controlled the game and goalkeeper Rahill Velji made some excellent saves to keep the score even.

With end-to-end action, it was the return of Hayden Murphy that upped the tempo allowing Da Rua to gain momentum. Murphy, who after an earlier collision had been carried off the court to be replaced first by Lee Robinson then Zach Sharman, drew the keeper and floated a perfectly weighted pass to a waiting Sharman on the far post for the winning goal. Celebrations then followed the final whistle; Da Rua won with a score of 3-2.

In the next game, Da Rua faced Culture FC based out of Huntington Beach California. Another slow start by Da Rua cost them and they fell behind by three quick goals. The dynamics of the game changed after coach Thiago Menezes called a technical timeout and Hunter Schindel was subbed in. The period of high pressure that followed was rewarded when Russell fed Robinson whose first-time shot rebounded to Murphy who finished from an acute angle to put Da Rua on the board and go into the half-time break within touching distance.

The second half began with the hint of another comeback win when within three minutes of the break, Anderson on a brilliant solo effort beat two defenders and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper to make the score 3-2. In true Futsal style, with attack turning into a counter-attack and the counter being countered, a lapse of concentration in the Da Rua defensive end allowed Culture FC to put one past Velji, doubling their lead and taking back momentum. The final outcome of the game was a 6-2 loss to Culture FC, who went on to win the gold.

Knowing that a win in the last pool game could still give them an outside chance advancing, the team started off well against 808Futsal. After some near misses by Russell, Murphy and a rejuvenated Schindel, backed up by outstanding goalkeeping by Velji, it was left to Anderson and his trademark steal. In a counter from centre court, he slid the ball past the keeper, giving Da Rua the lead heading into halftime. With coach Menezes using the half-time chat to highlight deficiencies in the opposition and tweak the formation, players responded with grit and ended the game with a 2-0 win thanks to another steal and quick counter from Anderson and some great support from Mark, Robinson and Sharman from the bench.

Unfortunately, grit and determination don’t always determine results and the team was eliminated.

“While the tournament provided plenty of excitement for all, it was the experience gained by the players in competing and meeting like-minded people from across the Futsal nation that not many Canadian players get to share,” said Coach Menezes.

This player development is what Da Rua will be expanding on in the future by inviting more players from more age groups to participate and gain experience in these types of events.

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Hayden Murphy gets set to shoot, while Kailen Russell (R) and Joshua Mark (L) look for any rebounds. (Photo contributed)

Hayden Murphy gets set to shoot, while Kailen Russell (R) and Joshua Mark (L) look for any rebounds. (Photo contributed)