This was the first Banquet at Whistler's and it proved to be the right choice, because the attendance this year demanded a larger venue, which Whistler's was able to provide.
A slideshow of players caught in action during games and practices over the course of the season, was projected onto a large screen. It provided an
interesting background, accompanied by popular music.
Damir Mutic has taken these photographs and archived them for USC at http://photo.dlmphoto.ca/.
The Banquet was made possible with the help of our 'social committee' comprising of four dedicated parents: Randy Finney, Jude Cockburn, Riyana Hirji, and Issy Vlaykov.
They were the heart and soul throughout the preparation and presentation.
During the course of the Banquet, Klaus Baedorf, the Director of the USC Academy acknowledged the efforts of all players by awarding them with a book about Freestyle Soccer. The purchase of these books was made possible with the donations of four families: The Thompson family, Hirji family, Leung family and Vlaykov family.
Everybody enjoyed a rich buffet after which the time had arrived to recognize and honour players who went beyond expectations to excel at soccer.
The criteria to assess players are in accordance with Academy expectations for the different age groups and the Long Term Player Development model.
The award of 'Most improved Player' went to five players: Mick Thompson, Dimitri Marossis, Darius Jamal, Yale Freedman, and Adam Rogers.
The 'Recognition of Excellence' award went to six players: Alan Vlaykov, Brent Leung, Georgia Waller, Ruqayya Hirji, Danielle Konig and Paul Wyszynski.
Two of those players were nominated for the USC Scholarship: Ruqayya and Georgia.
All USC girls had a strong season, outdoing their male counterparts in their age group, but only one is eligible to receive the USC Scholarship. Georgia edged Ruqayya by miniscule margins, but it was enough to earn her the valuable award.
Special awards were handed to these dedicated people:
Isiaka Onibudo (coach), Kirill Kozlov (instructor), Jacques Konig (United SC secretary).
Towards the conclusion of the afternoon, players and coaches were invited on stage to demonstrate the challenging skills described in the Freestyle Soccer book.
Only coach Dean Smith exhibited something that closely resembled descriptions in the book, while director and president Klaus Baedorf was caught escaping attention by mingling with the crowd.
In the end, everybody left happy, looking forward to another season of USC soccer.
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