Not sure what they were getting themselves into, a "motley crew of dads" took the pitch last Saturday for their first formal game as the Cowichan Steelheads, an all-new entry in the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s Masters B division.
Although among them the Steelheads players have more than 60 kids, with 40 or 50 playing soccer, their own experience in the sport is varied.
"We have been playing all summer establishing a core group and finalizing the team, which represents a colourful cross section of Cowichan life, yet we all share a passion for soccer," said George White, who shares player-coach duties with Steve Richard. "A few have never played organized ball before, others have not played in 20-plus years, so it was hard to know what to expect."
For their first game of 2014/15, the Steelheads played host to Saanich Fusion FC Orange, who placed fourth in the Masters B division last year. White’s hopes for the match weren’t high.
"I just wanted us to score a goal," he said.
Just three minutes into the game, the coach’s wish was granted when Erik Fuller converted a pass from Darren Meiner.
"We all stopped holding our breath," White said.
Meiner added a goal of his own, and Paul Collis and Rick Juliusson also scored as the Steelheads rolled to a 4-2 win over SFFC Orange and a successful debut, part of an excellent weekend that also saw victories from Cowichan’s Div. 1 and 2 entries. "We have had so much energy behind this team with support from the club, our sponsor and our families that we had to put it somewhere, White said. "And
thankfully that was the back of the net."
It’s just the beginning of a long season for the team, but White is looking forward to it.
"Fitness and communication could always be better but that is our goal: to get fit and have fun," he said. "The only way we will ever get to go to the World Cup is if we buy tickets to watch. Cowichan teams had a great weekend and we are happy to be wearing the colours."