Birthday celebration for a Cowichan soccer icon [photo gallery]

"Oh my god. Oh my god."

Rarely at a loss for words, Bill Keserich found himself on repeat last Saturday when the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association surprised him with a massive 80th birthday celebration fit for a man with whom the word "icon" is so frequently and appropriately affiliated.

Keserich, the longtime president of the CVSA and a major advocate in the region for sports and youth, was greeted with a soccer field lined by friends and family and filled with replicas of his familiar moustache, all signed with birthday greetings and well-wishes from near and far.

The moustaches were sponsored by community members who eagerly shelled out, with the proceeds going toward the new soccer turf at the club’s grounds on Sherman Road, planned for the very field where the moustaches were planted. More than $5,000 was raised, with additional cheques still coming in.

"Bill is a huge part of the community," said Deana Robertson, one of the key organizers of the event along with Keserich’s daughter, Michele. "He has dedicated hours to soccer and other sports. He’s an icon. It was easy to sell the moustaches."

Keserich has spent more than 30 years as CVSA president, as well as serving in other capacities, including referee and coach. He

made sure to note the roles that his wife, Wendy, and their five children have played in his career.

Among those who made a point of attending the birthday celebrations was Emily Zurrer, a member of Canada’s national women’s soccer team since 2008 and a bronze medallist in the 2012 Olympics who grew up in Crofton and got her start in the sport with the CVSA. She recalled first encountering Keserich more than 20 years ago.

"I feel like he looks the same as he did when I was six years old," she said.

Like the rest of the people in attendance, Zurrer was honoured to be part of the festivities.

"It’s great to be back in town celebrating a man who has done so much for soccer and the community," she said.

Once he recovered from the shock of the celebration, which came as a complete surprise to him, Keserich lauded the CVSA for putting on the massive celebration.

"It means that the club is truly a family organization," he said. "This is the best one could possibly hope for in a community organization."

Just Posted

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Flashback: Library concerns, a new park and new seniors plans

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas has been combing through old… Continue reading

Take your family to the Cobble Hill Fair this Saturday

Animals, rides, those wonderful displays in the hall, food and fun in store in Cobble Hill

Motor circuit expansion proposal to go to public hearing

North Cowichan gives applications third readings at packed meeting

Firefighters can’t burn down houses anymore, so they need a training facility

In the old days, everyone gathered to watch a ‘practice fire’, safety regulations won’t allow that now

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

$5-million lotto ticket sold in Nanaimo

Someone matched all six numbers in Wednesday’s 6/49 draw

Most Read