I would need half this entire newspaper to describe all the excitement that played out at the second annual Brady Soccer Tournament this past weekend, but unfortunately, I don’t get that much space.
Four teams from across Haida Gwaii played thrilling, high-intensity soccer for the big-money prize in Tlell. After a knockout round eliminated Some NDN’s on Saturday, three teams showed up Sunday, with the undefeated Boogie Knights facing the winner of a semifinal showdown between Dave’s Destroyers and Team Brady.
Nerves ran high as the kickoff got delayed by some plumbing issues, but after TB player Drew Garret got them sorted, the whistle blew and the players quickly settled into their groove.
With a slightly faster team, TB aggressively attacked from the start, pushing the ball up the middle. DD knew they would need to show patience and gave TB space, trying to force them into making mistakes with the ball. But TB didn’t make many.
TB’s attacking paid off quick with three goals in the first from Drew Garret, Makai Brady, and Sarah Adams. DD looked a little rattled until Jennifer Dysart put a brilliant header past TB keeper Josh Brady from just inside the box.
The goal gave DD some life but TB turned it up again in the second with another two goals for Makai Brady, giving him the hat trick. (I threw my hat on the field to celebrate but no one noticed).
In the end, TB was too much for DD and won 5-1. But it set them up for a final against a team that had steamrolled them 6-1 in their only other meeting of the tournament.
The BK/DD final was supposed to be a laugher. BK had combined for 16 goals in the two-game knockout round, and their stingy defence had only allowed two. They were a fresh team playing an obviously gassed one just coming off a dramatic semifinal.
The game started on script as Brionne Lavoie rumbled in alone from midfield to slide one past the keeper. TB fought back valiantly, but couldn’t beat the fast hands of BK keeper Tylor Adams.
TB, with strong play from Crystal Young and Devin Brady, relentlessly attacked the midfield but BK player Jamie Mould’s fancy footwork and quick passes stymied them every time.
Needing a goal, Makai Brady, electric all tournament, made a sharp cut to the middle of the box but rang the ball off the post. Then Josh’s cell phone ringer went off signifying half time. It was 3-0 BK.
Fuelled by boisterous fans, TB shot out the gate in the second with Isaiah and Devon Brady creating wonderful give-and-goes in BK territory. Each time, a towering Brionne Lavoie was there to foil their plans.
Then, suddenly, Devon stole the ball from JP Peerless, rushed up field and lasered a shot past a stunned Tylor Adams. Down 3-1, TB were suddenly right back in it.
BK sensed the life force coursing through their rivals, picking up the pace and pushing for the goal that would seal their destiny. But divine saves by Josh Brady and strong defence from Drew Garret and Isaiah Brady kept BK away from their net.
With under five minutes to play Makai Brady found some room and buried a volley to pull within one. Smelling blood, Devon Brady took a rebound off a save from Josh Brady and put the ball onto the foot of a wide-open Makai Brady who buried it for his second of the game and the tie.
Two, five-minute overtimes were played to try and determine a winner. Three minutes in, Makai Brady took the ball off of a helpless BK defender and scored for his second hat trick of the afternoon, giving TB a 4-3 lead.
But BK’s Alan Friesen was having none of it. Blessed with the body of a gazelle and the mind of very intelligent gazelle, Friesen corralled a loose ball and fired a shot off goalie Josh Brady, who dropped it. Alan scooped up the rebound and found the back of the net to tie it up a second time — and then Josh’s cell phone played “Space Aliens” to signal the end of overtime.
The teams agreed to settle the score with an old fashioned shoot-out but no one had a gun and some people thought getting shot might not be so fun so instead they took turns shooting the ball on net until one team scored more than the other. And eventually, someone did score more – TB took the shootout 3-2 on goals by Makai Brady, Devon Brady, and Josh Brady.
Honestly, I could go on and on. It was THAT GOOD! So next year, grab a camping chair, bring your friends and wallet and witness some of the best competitive soccer Haida Gwaii has to offer (that you can bet on.)