Arielle Kabangu is a powerful striker for the Capital United U17 girls' OYSL team. Photo: Dan Plouffe
By Dan Plouffe
Early-season predictions are never worth much in the end, but there is no doubt that the Capital United under-17 girls’ soccer team is a true threat to challenge for the top of the Ontario Youth Soccer League standings.
“We’re shaping up nicely. The unit is very strong together,” says coach Raz El-Asmar, noting many players grew up together with the club, and are now ready to blossom after gaining a year of OYSL play under their belts. “We’re more experienced and stronger. I feel good about the season.”
Capital United began the year with a 3-1 loss on the road, but a come-from-behind 2-1 victory on May 26 got them back on the right track. Star striker Arielle Kabangu scored in the home-opening victory, while centre back defender Asha Mohiddin also got in on the fun with a goal of her own.
“We tend to control most games. Even at that level, we sort of carry the rhythm and tempo of the game,” highlights El-Asmar, noting his team is able to maintain possession with a strong midfield that includes Miranda Smith, an underage player who used to score two goals per game at the regional level. “We have the technical ability with the right players who can do that for us.”
El-Asmar is a big believer in letting his players determine their own objectives, but the answer they gave him was simple after finishing third in their maiden OYSL campaign last year.
“The team goal the players had is they’d like to finish first this year. It’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s within their reach,” El-Asmar says. “We’re blessed with the talent in this group, and then also the desire. These girls really want to do more and push themselves. It’s great to be amongst athletes like that as a coach.”
The Ottawa South United U17 girls have a loss and a pair of ties through their first three OYSL contests.