KU/Jr. Heat Players on the BC Summer Games team: (left to right) Davis Bone, Grady Thompson, Max Therrien, Gene Purdie, Chris Newitt (coach), Ethan de Kruif, Kaden Kiewitz, Kael Murphy and Ethan Ramchuk. -Image: Contributed

United/Jr. Heat talent boosts Zone 2 to BC Games gold

Eight players and a coach from Kelowna-based soccer program on Thompson-Okanagan squad

Eight members of the Kelowna United/Junior Heat soccer program helped boost the Thompson-Okanagan to the gold medal at the BC Summer Games.

Davis Bone, Grady Thompson, Max Therrien, Gene Purdie, Ethan de Kruif, Kaden Kiewitz, Kael Murphy and Ethan Ramchuk, along with coach Chris Newitt, all played a role in Zone 2’s unbeaten performance in Nanaimo.

The Thompson-Okanagan boys opened up against Vancouver Island Central Coast (Zone 5) and led 2-0 at the half on goals by KU/Heat’s Grady Thompson and Max Therrien.

But goals in the 74th and 79th minutes by Zone 5 would see the game end in a 2-2 draw. Compounding the disappointment was the fact that the game was 35-minute halves, so technically it should have been long over before the equalizing goal.

Still, the T.O. boys put the disappointment behind them for their next game and posted a 3-1 win over Fraser Valley. Goals came from Penticton’s Connor Moore, Owen Challen of Coldstream and Hayden Kopps of Kamloops.

In their third game, it was no contest as Zone 2 drubbed the North West zone 9-0. Hayden Kopps scored six times in the win. KU/Jr. Heat’s Grady Thompson and captain Ethan De Kruif also scored for T.O.

In the championship game, Thompson-Okanagan faced the previously undefeated Fraser River squad.

The Zone 2 boys created numerous chances over the first 30 minutes, but it was Fraser River who struck first from a scrambled free kick to lead 1-0 at the half.

The Thompson Okanagan boys started the second half strongly and 15 minutes in, connected for the equalizer as Hayden Kopps finished on a cross from Connor Moore.

Just when it looked like the gold medal might be decided on penalties, the Thompson Okanagan boys got a corner kick deep into injury time. Kopps scored his second goal of the game and ninth of the weekend to earn the Thompson Okanagan boys a 2-1 victory and the gold medal for the second straight B.C. Summer Games.

Although the Thompson Okanagan boys played a strong team game, the performances of Captain Ethan DeKruif and Kael Murphy stood out across the tournament. In the gold medal final, Davis Bone’s fearless defending nullified Fraser River’s attacking game plan.

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