Soccer coach believes goalie was robbed

Dominant stats weren’t enough for Darian Achurch

Darian Achurch robbed a lot of opposing soccer players of goals this season.

Now, at least in the view of his coach, it’s Achurch who has been robbed.

Achurch led the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s top division in every goaltending category in his first year of Div. 1 competition, but when it came time to honour the most outstanding goalie in the league, he was denied.

“The Vancouver Island Soccer League needs to shake its head and rethink how they select their goaltenders,” Cowichan LMG head coach Glen Martin said. “Goaltender should not be a popularity contest.”

The award is voted on by the Div. 1 coaches. Martin considered the possibility that some coaches left Achurch off their ballots because they don’t like Cowichan, or because they felt Achurch’s impressive numbers were only because he played for the best team, but didn’t think those reasons were justifiable.

“We beat them because we have the best goaltender,” he said.

Achurch, who was also picked by Martin for the VISL Div. 1 all-star team in January, played every minute of Cowichan’s 18 games, racking up 15 wins and allowing only 18 goals. His seven shutouts were by far the most in the league. The award was won by Geoff Hackett of Nanaimo, and while Martin wasn’t sure if he played every game for his team or not, Nanaimo had nine wins and allowed 25 goals, while Hackett was credited with three shutouts.

Head-to-head, Achurch shut out Nanaimo in all three of their meetings this year, with Cowichan scoring four times against Hackett.

Coaches can vote for their own goalie, if they wish, and one other keeper in the league. Martin voted for Achurch and Gorge’s Iain Wallace, who he also named to the all-star team.

“Most of the coaches need to shake their heads,” Martin said.

The award for the VISL’s leading scorer goes to the guy with the most goals, Martin pointed out, so why shouldn’t the goalie award be presented in similar fashion?

“How do you win goaltender of the year if Darian can’t do it?” the coach wondered.

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