Cowichan LMG’s Div. 1 men’s soccer game last Friday took a back seat to an inspiring pregame ceremony to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
The game on the Sherman Road turf opened with a performance by the Tzinquaw Dancers, and the players warmed up in orange T-shirts and sported orange armbands throughout the match, which ended in a scoreless draw between Cowichan and Westcastle United.
Coach Ryan Flynn speculated that his team was so committed to keeping the ball out of their own net, they avoided taking the chances that might have led scoring opportunities of their own.
“I think we were so focused on not allowing a goal, the guys were reluctant to do risk/reward kind of plays,” he said.
Much of the game was played in the middle of the pitch, with only a handful of corner kicks and free kicks. When called upon, however, Cowichan goalkeeper Ray Fox was phenomenal.
Cowichan’s Man of the Match was left back Darian Harris, a rookie in Div. 1 who has played two of three games for Cowichan this season, going 90 minutes in both. Harris is a former junior A and B hockey player whose athleticism has made the transition to soccer a smooth one.
LMG had to make some changes at centre back as well. Already missing Jose Muro for the match, the team lost Jordan Korven to an injury early on. The job instead fell to the pairing of Russell Lederer and Jake Kenmuir, a dedicated player who had been travelling from Vancouver each week to play and is now travelling from Powell River.
Now with one win, one draw and one loss, Cowichan will play at home against Comox Valley United this Saturday at 8 p.m. The upcoming match is the second of three in a row that Flynn was looking at as great chances to pick up some wins early in the season.
“It will be a test for us to see where we’re really at,” the coach said. “We’re hoping this game gives us an opportunity to get a win at home. With these three games, you want to have at least one win.”
In Div. 3, Cowichan Oak FC played to a 0-0 tie with Salt Spring FC at the Sherman Road turf on Saturday. The Oak will take their 1-2-1 record on the road against Gorge FC this Sunday.
In Div. 4, the Cowichan Fury tied Vantreights 1-1 at Heywood Park on Saturday. Brad Thorne scored for Cowichan at 24 minutes, and Vantreights tied things up in the 87th minute. Still looking for their first win at 0-2-2, the Fury will host JDF United on the Keserich grass pitch this Saturday at 6 p.m.