The Strathmore U13 Strikers soccer team is preparing for a brand new experience this year after opting out of provincials.

Team Manager and Treasurer for the Strathmore Soccer Association Stefanie Brown explained rather than provincials, the Strikers will instead head to Edmonton for the EMSA (Edmonton Minor Soccer Association) Slush Cup 2023 from March 2-5.

"It's going to be amazing for them because we have lots of younger players and this is going to be their first time going to a big tournament. Our younger players have never been to a big tournament like this at all, and so we're using this kind of as our mock provincials."

Brown explained the Slush Cup will be even better than provincials, as in provincials they usually face four teams that they've played before, but this tournament features 10 teams they'll be seeing for the first time. Getting the chance to play in a tournament with this many teams has the team fired up.

"They're very excited and actually we, the head coach and I, put it out to the parents which tournaments they wanted to attend and this is the one that 100% of our players wanted to attend."

With the team preparing for this tournament Brown did say they are in fundraising mode as well. 

"Because it's such a big tournament, there are a lot of costs associated with it, and we have quite a few players on our team that are from single income families or single parents."

Along with the players, Brown explained that both of the coaches Erin Cunningham and Tristen Fraser (a U-17 player) would of course be going as well.

"Both of our coaches are volunteers who don't even have kids on the team, so they're just coming out to this tournament just as volunteers, they're not being paid to be there. It's quite a large expense for volunteers to absorb I think."

Brown said that this team is very lucky to have two dedicated volunteers that stepped up to coach this team. Along with Erin, who Brown said has been invaluable for the players and the organization all season, Tristen is a goalie which she said is very rare to have as a coach. 

With the team looking forward to showing off how much they've grown, Brown said any and all help is greatly appreciated to help the players make the trip to Edmonton. If you're interested in supporting the team's journey to the EMSA Slush Cup 2023, you can visit their GoFundMe here.

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