While pursuit of excellence has always been the target, a big part of the focus for members of the Burnaby District Metro Select FC under-16 boys soccer team was and is the element of fun.
It’s certainly fun when you win.
The Burnaby squad continued to enjoy the fruits of its labour, racking up another title last week with a 2-1 victory over Vancouver in the Coastal A Cup final.
As with a lot of successful accomplishments, the key was being well prepared, noted coach Leo Cuccione.
“The team was little nervous and we expected this. We reminded our players to focus, keep things simple and win your individual battles,” he said.
Burnaby built up a 2-0 lead on goals by Joey Cannova, around the 15-minute mark, and Haris Hussaini, 10 minutes into the second half. Both came as a result of some solid passing, with Hussaini drawing an assist on Cannova’s tally.
Vancouver offered its best response with about 20 minutes left, cashing in on a rare FC miscue. But the flow of the play was with the Burnaby crew, who were prevented from opening a larger lead by a strong performance by the Vancouver netminder.
“(The) turning point of the game was our second goal which seemed to deflate VFC,” said Cuccione.
“Vancouver’s main approach was providing long balls to their strikers. We countered this by having one of our centre backs play deeper back and the other in front of them.”
Burnaby’s two netminders – Benoit Lutz and Mathew Mastromonaco – set the foundation for the win, ably supported by the backline. They also got a determined effort from the midfielders. The most crucial part was how these various parts worked magically in unison.
The coaching staff of Cuccione and Dan Mastromonaco have full confidence that the squad, which posted a formidable 15-1-3 record during the regular season, can carry it over to the provincials, which go July 4 to 7 in Prince George.
“We set high expectations for this special group of players this season. The team is happy in what they have accomplished so far but we have one last goal, to win the Provincial Cup,” said Cuccione. “Our team’s strength is our determination and our focus. Most importantly to remember to have fun during this journey and enjoy the moments.”
Burnaby FC features: Manolo Aguliar, Kyle Beech, Joey Cannova, Haniel Cruz, Gianluca Cuccione, Stefano Dal Sasso, Roan Diepold, James Farina, Tyler Gunasekera, Dylan Harding, Haris Hussaini, Dobra Idema-Sacky, Lazar Kragulj, Alex Lopez, Benoit Lutz, Jacob Mastromonaco, Mathew Mastromonaco and Imran Velji.