The plucky underdog story of the Revelstoke Secondary School Avalanche soccer team continues this week as the boys head to Burnaby to take part in the 2022-2023 BC School Sports Provincial Championships from Nov. 2 - 4.
The RSS ‘A’ boys soccer team qualified for the event after a victory last Tuesday, and have since had an out-pouring of support from the community to help get them to the event.
“The community spirit has been amazing,” said Andrew Sykes, head coach of the team.
The team went around on a bottle drive over the weekend to raise funds for their trip to the coast.
In the tournament, the Avalanche will be playing two games each day, coming up against St. Andrews, a private school on Victoria Island, a private school from Vancouver, and a public school from Bella Coola.
The schools they’re playing have robust systems with plenty of financial backing, but Sykes says that the smaller system in Revelstoke also has it’s own special advantages.
“Our advantage in this community is the community,” said Sykes.
In addition to the financial aid the community offered for this trip, Sykes added that the numerous athletes in the community pass on their high-octane genetics and lifestyle to the younger generation, making for a large pool of talented young athletes.
To fill the team each year, the RSS Soccer program takes advantage of the international students that come from countries rich with soccer tradition to ski Revelstoke’s powder. This year, they have players from Germany, Mexico and Italy.
Janis Kress arrived in Revelstoke from Berlin, Germany around seven weeks ago. Before the RSS team, he played at a high level for a club in his hometown, but he found the rigidness of the game ruined the fun of the sport.
“It’s way cooler to play with friends,” said Kress. “In Berlin, they were strangers after training or after the game.”
Kress, a Grade 10 student at RSS, said he prefers the style of schooling in Revelstoke compared to what he experienced in Germany.
In addition to playing soccer, Kress hopes to find new experiences, ski and snowboard, meet new friends, and learn about different cultures here in Canada.
Coach Sykes fell in love with soccer through his son, who he coached since the age of four and who now plays in Vancouver. He said he feels fulfilled when he hears of former players he coached still getting involved in soccer at different levels, or when they step up and help him coach after they’ve aged out of the RSS program.
“The sport is a vehicle for character development,” added Sykes.
Sykes is hoping that the team’s underdog story can continue at this tournament, and are hoping to upset some of the province’s bigger programs with help from the team’s tenacity and grit.
“We have an extra player on the field, and that’s our team spirit,” said Sykes.