Former Alaska Youth Soccer Association President Joe Ver, center, poses with former Olympian soccer players Mia Hamm, right, and Brandi Chastain during a game against Germany at the U.S. Soccer Federation’s 100th anniversary in June 2013. (Courtesy Photo | Joe Ver)

Former Alaska Youth Soccer Association President Joe Ver, center, poses with former Olympian soccer players Mia Hamm, right, and Brandi Chastain during a game against Germany at the U.S. Soccer Federation’s 100th anniversary in June 2013. (Courtesy Photo | Joe Ver)

Juneau coach makes hall of fame, Capitals win turkey shoot, NYO athletes win up north

Local sports news in brief

Juneau coach inducted into state soccer hall of fame

A Juneau coach received an unexpected honor last month at the Alaska Youth Soccer Association General Meeting and Awards Ceremony in Anchorage.

Joe Ver, 67, was formally inducted into the AYSA Hall of Fame at the nonprofit’s event at 49th State Brewing Company. Ver, who served as AYSA president from 1999-2014, was the organization’s lone inductee into its inaugural Hall of Fame class. AYSA consists of roughly 9,000 registered players, coaches, officials, volunteers and league administrators from over a dozen soccer associations and clubs around the state.

“It was a shock, I felt honored,” Ver said by phone Tuesday. “I wasn’t really doing it to get an award. I got involved because my three kids (Aaron, Lydia, Asia) wanted to play soccer. When I was in college I ran track, and that’s what I did in high school, so I figured they would do running.”

He said was reluctant to run for president but eventually decided to do so after receiving the backing of Dr. Bob Contilgua and Virgil Lewis, the presidents of the U.S. Soccer Foundation and US Youth Soccer. ASYA is affiliated with both groups.

As president, Ver said he tried uniting the organization across its geographical regions and expanding opportunities for coaching education.

“When I first became president, the state was kind of fractured,” Ver said. “Everything was Anchorage-centric, and Fairbanks people didn’t like that.”

Capitals win Turkey Shoot

The Juneau Capitals roared past the Palmer Pioneers 6-0 on Sunday to claim the 12UA championship of the 30th annual Turkey Shootout youth hockey tournament.

Elliot Welch and Dylan Sowa combined for five goals and goalie Bradana Gillman posted five saves in the win at Ben Boeke Arena in Anchorage. The victory also included assists from Sowa, Welch, Caden Morris, Loren Platt and Finn Lamb. The lopsided victory capped an undefeated tournament run for Juneau, who also took down teams from Fairbanks, Delta Junction and Anchorage.

The team consisted of Welch, Sowa, Platt, Gillman, Morris, Lamb, Cavan Dick, Johnny Lamantia, Landon Bourdeaux, Paxton Mertl, Elias Schane, Emilio Holbrook and Reegan Hansen.

The Capitals were coached by Jarrod Sowa, Bill Holbrook, Rich Morris and Timothy Jones.

Elisoff wins big in Whitehorse

A Thunder Mountain High School sophomore won a gold medal at the Yukon Inter-Schools Arctic Sports Championship on Friday in Whitehorse.

Ezra Elisoff won the Alaskan high kick in the 10-12 grade division out of about 25 competitors, said Juneau Native Youth Olympics coach Kyle Worl. TMHS sophomore Kyle Abbott and Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School sophomore Andrew Ostman finished second and third, respectively, in the same event, one of the six games that made up the competition at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.

The single-day competition featured six events total: Alaskan high kick, kneel jump, triple jump, one-foot high kick, arm pull and leg wrestling. It’s Worl’s second time bringing an NYO team to the event. Last year, Juneau athletes won 13 medals in Whitehorse, with Matthew Quinto winning three golds.

“It’s a really good experience for the students to travel internationally and be able to meet other athletes from different countries and see how they train,” Worl said.

Worl said his upperclassmen athletes will be in action next month at the Peninsula Winter Games in Soldotna, Jan. 17-19.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.