The local soccer community will be well-represented in Victoria May 11, as four teams have advanced to Provincial Cup finals.
The Surrey United Soccer Club will be attempting to repeat the double, as both its men’s and women’s teams will play for a provincial championship. The women got a goal from Nicole Stewart and edged the Castaways of the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association 1-0 in a semifinal match last Sunday at Cloverdale Athletic Park, leaving them one victory away from a 10th consecutive Provincial Cup title. Theresa Nuttal earned the shutout.
In the men’s competition, the Surrey United Firefighters are seeking a second consecutive B.C. championship, after a 1-0 decision over the Vancouver Thunderbirds Friday at Thunderbirds Stadium at the University of British Columbia.
The game was scoreless for the first 40 minutes, then United got a break near the end of the first half as a Thunderbirds player received his second yellow card of the match and was sent off.
The Surrey squad netted the winner while playing with the extra man, when Jeff Clarke headed a cross from Vinnie Stewart into the net for the game’s only goal
Also reaching Provincial Cup finals are the North Delta Rangers in the Masters’ category, and Guildford FC in the men’s under-21 group.
Winners in the men’s and women’s competitions will advance to the national championship tournament in Halifax next October.
United placed second in the Jubilee Trophy women’s competition in Winnipeg last year, but will play the provincial final without two key players. Katie Thorlakson and Rachael Pelat are sidelined with injuries.
“We’re suffering form injuries and a short roster,” said Martin Foden, executive director of the United club. We’re going into the final facing one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever had in terms of our roster.”
Surrey will face the North Shore Renegades in the Provincial Cup final. Both teams play in the Metro Women’s Soccer League, and split their two head-to-head meetings this past season.
The Firefighters placed fifth at the Challenge Cup men’s national championship tournament last fall, also in Winnipeg, and have struggled to find their form since then.
“Since the nationals, we’ve had injuries and absences every week,” said Foden. “It’s only been in the last two or three weeks we’ve been able to field a full squad.”
The Firefighters will kickoff against West Van SC in their Provincial Cup final in Victoria, a team that “we’ve had our battles with in league play, and Provincial Cup games, in the past,” said Foden.
“We know each other very well.”
Guildford FC will face West Van SC in the under-21 (Doug Day) provincial final May 11. Guildford defeated the Metro-Ford Wolves 3-1 in last weekend’s semifinal round.
The North Delta Rangers conceded just one goal in three games, living up to their number-one seed in the Masters (over-35) category. They edged PCOV 1-0 on penalty kicks in the semifinal round, and will play for the Deryl Hughes Cup and a provincial championship against Columbus FC in Victoria.