Gooooaaal! Branksome Hall Hosts the CAIS Senior Girls Soccer Tournament
From Wednesday, October 11 to Saturday, October 14, Branksome Hall joined Greenwood College and St. Clement’s School in hosting the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) Senior Girls Soccer Tournament. Taking place in Oakville, this competition featured many exhilarating games of soccer played by students from schools across Canada.
Katie Flynn, Branksome’s Director of Athletics, had a direct hand in planning this huge competition. Through her hard work, dedication and collaboration with Athletics leaders from other schools, Ms. Flynn was able to coordinate this three-day soccer tournament with 14 independent schools in attendance—an impressive accomplishment. “It was such an honour and great pleasure to co-host the tournament with St. Clement's and Greenwood,” said Ms. Flynn. “A huge congratulations to all of the Grades 9–12 players who were a part of the team representing Branksome Hall at the 2023 CAIS Soccer Tournament! The BH team experienced a couple of exciting wins and a couple of close losses. All in all, we are so proud of how this team came together, gave it their all and represented Branksome with integrity and grit.”
Our Senior Girls Soccer team is one to be watched with a roster of talented Grades 9–12 players. From chilly morning training sessions to playing at Branksome’s first-ever Soccer Day, these students live and breathe soccer. Some, like Athletics Prefect Hana, have been playing competitively for over a decade.
In their group stage, Branksome players faced Bishop’s College School and Lower Canada College, two independent schools in Québec. This was exciting for our players, as this event was the first inter-provincial one held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hana reflected, “What makes CAIS tournaments exciting is the unpredictability of your opponents. Knowing nothing about the team you're about to face, except that they've travelled hundreds of kilometres to get here, you never knew if you were going to face a team with a solid defensive line or a striker who could score from anywhere. It kept us on our toes and made each game a unique experience.”
When asked about the benefits of team sports, Hana further shared, “I think the most important thing I've learned from playing team sports all my life is how to react to obstacles. You could be up 3–0 for an entire game, then suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of a last-minute comeback. You could walk onto the field and realize that the player marking you is a whole foot taller than you! Being on a team also means the way you react to setbacks can have a ripple effect on others around you. These situations have taught me to keep my composure and give my best effort when facing a challenge.”
While the Highlanders weren’t able to secure the championship title, this tough competition made one thing abundantly clear: it was never about winning for Branksome’s Senior girls, but about the bonds and friendships they have made throughout their time playing on the school’s soccer teams. Whether a player started in the Junior School or just decided to join the team this fall, the Senior Soccer team and their coaches are one big, supportive family. As this season marked the last for our Highlanders in Grade 12, Hana shared some kind words for Ms. Flynn, her coaches and her teammates: “I want to thank Ms. Flynn for organizing this tournament, and I know it's no easy task to put together an event for over 200 athletes! I also want to thank Ms. DesRoches and Ms. Citak for being such supportive coaches. Your enthusiasm both on and off the pitch inspires me every day. Lastly, I want to thank the team for making this such a memorable tournament. I will miss our pre-game dance sessions, late-night pizza talks and cheering each other on from the sidelines!”
As we say goodbye to many of Branksome’s Senior Highlanders this year, we look forward to seeing our other teams flourish as they continue to play soccer at Branksome in the coming years. This year, the U12 team was particularly impressive, going almost undefeated for the whole season.
Congratulations to all of our soccer players and coaches on an incredible fall season!
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.