Coastal FC girls hold a practice at South Surrey Athletic Park last fall. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Coastal FC girls hold a practice at South Surrey Athletic Park last fall. (Aaron Hinks photo)

‘Club-only’ play caveat ‘gutted people’ after restart excitement: Coastal FC executive director

South Surrey soccer club was under impression that games would be allowed throughout travel region

Though most Surrey and White Rock sports organizations reacted with cautious optimism and excitement to the restart plan announced by the provincial government Tuesday, one South Surrey association is left feeling a little confused and deflated.

The four-step plan announced by the province promises indoor team games for all-ages, but no spectators, by June 15, and spectators for outdoor sports (up to 50 people) allowed by then, too. By July 1, limited spectators for indoor sports could be allowed, and a return to “normal” sports competitions promised by Sept. 7.

Effective immediately, local team games and practices are allowed – with contact – but no spectators.

And while Coastal FC members initially joined the chorus of excitement – social media was ablaze with Surrey-area organizations reacting positively – the club’s executive director said the good vibes were short-lived once they were told by viaSport and BC Soccer that the promise of ‘local’ games still meant teams could only play within their own clubs, rather than face rivals from across the region.

“Obviously, the news conference happened and (the province) announced what seems like a very favourable restart plan across most sectors, and with sports, being able to start having contact in games right away was encouraging,” Coastal FC executive director Chris Murphy told Peace Arch News Wednesday.

“There was constant reference to games being allowed locally, but there was no scope or definition of ‘local.’ And when viaSport said it meant within your club, that kind of gutted people.

“There’s been a lot of patience, waiting for this moment, and that was all kind of deflated when we got that definition.”

• READ ALSO: 50 people expected to be allowed to attend B.C. sports games this summer

Murphy made sure to note that his frustration lies with how the specifics were communicated – from the provincial health office down through provincial sports organizations like BC Soccer and then filtered further to individual associations – and he doesn’t have any problems with the provincial mandate itself, if indeed health authorities have determined club-only play is the best option at present.

“The news was actually really, really positive. I think everyone was really excited. We immediately perceived that – and I know other clubs did as well – as, ‘OK, we’re playing games against other teams this weekend, let’s go.’ But then we got that wet blanket from viaSport,” he said.

“We thought that local would mean travel region, as it has for a lot of things lately, but apparently it isn’t, and we don’t really know whose decision that was. If it was PHO’s decision, then that’s fine – they’re the authority, they’re living this situation 24/7. But if it’s viaSport’s interpretation of the PHO using the term local, that would be hard to understand, and really hard to take.”

A memo from BC Soccer to individual organizations notes that “ViaSport has advised that ‘local’ is currently defined as ‘in club.’”

In the meantime, Murphy said Coastal FC teams would be playing on local fields this weekend, playing against one another while they await further clarification on what other associations they’re allowed to play, if any.

Other South Surrey organizations have not yet publicly expressed the same concerns regarding how far-reaching the new restart plan will be.

Maureen de St. Croix, from Ocean Athletics Track Club, told PAN that a return to multi-club meets would be “fantastic, just fantastic” while noting that she did not expect track events to expand beyond smaller regional events until 2022.

Ocean Athletics’ home track at South Surrey Athletic Park will be unavailable to them throughout the summer regardless, due to a track-resurfacing project that is expected to last from June until September, but de St. Croix was excited for the autumn, when Stage 4 of the province’s restart plan will be in effect.

A multi-team meet to celebrate the track’s re-opening would be an ideal way to mark the occasion, she noted.

“We’ve got a long way to go before getting to that stage, but I think there will be a lot of celebration in the fall. It’s been a long time.”

Semiahmoo Minor Hockey – which will be starting its next season in the fall – posted a note on its Facebook page celebrating the fact that hockey will be back, using the hashtags #gameon and #cantwait.

The Cloverdale-based Surrey United soccer club, meanwhile, noted that “we are very excited about today’s PHO update and are fully committed to the Restart Plan.”

“We will need some time for due diligence as we connect with the City of Surrey and BC Soccer to ensure permits and ViaSport requirements are lifted in parallel and understood… Until further notice all practice restrictions from the last month will stay in effect,” the post continued.

– with files from Tom Zillich



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirussoccer

Just Posted

A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. (File photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
COVID-19 cases at Surrey school district drop ‘dramatically’

There were 19 notifications sent out in the first 9 days of June, compared to in all of 245 in May

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council endorses ‘public engagement’ strategy

Council approves ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $7.3 million contract for street paving projects

City council awarded Lafarge Canada Inc. $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor presented motion to council Monday asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
SURREY NOW & THEN: Little Theatre’s 59-year history ends with big plans for move to Langley

A former church, the theatre building/property has sold for close to $900,000

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

A letter from a senior RCMP officer in Langley said Mounties who attended a mayor’s gala in January of 2020 used their own money. Controversy over the event has dogged mayor Val van den Broek (R) and resulted in the reassignment of Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power (L). (file)
Langley RCMP officers used ‘own money’ to attend mayor’s gala, senior officer says

‘I would not want there to be a belief that the police officers had done something untoward’

Squirrels are responsible for most of U.S. power outages. Black Press file photo
Dead squirrels in park lead Richmond RCMP to probe ‘toxic substance’ found in trees

Police aren’t sure if the chemical was dumped there or placed intentionally

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Most Read