One of the city’s largest soccer clubs is mourning the loss of one of its most valued members.
Martin Foden, 66, died suddenly Wednesday while on vacation with his wife Lynn in Palm Springs, California. Foden was the club’s executive director, just one of many positions he has filled in more than a quarter-century with the Cloverdale-based club.
“It’s going to be a lonely year,” said Surrey United President Tom Duncan. “I’ve lost a friend.
“He was a tireless worker and always brought good ideas to the board. He helped us become one of the most successful soccer clubs in B.C. and in Canada.”
Foden coached or managed many teams under the Surrey United banner, including the three-time Provincial Cup champion men’s team (2003, 2012 and 2013), as well as the women’s team, which won 11 consecutive Provincial Cup titles between 2004 and 2014 and national championships in 2006 and 2011.
He was BC Soccer’s Administrator of the Year in 2007 and the Coach of the Year in 2003.
“He was very involved in the adult game,” said Duncan. “A lot of former professional players would come to Surrey United to continue playing or to coach, because of him.”
Spiro Pegios, the current senior vice-president at Surrey United and a former player under Foden on the men’s team, said the soccer community will be affected.
“He could cut to the chase. He didn’t like the bureaucracy of the game, but he understood it and respected it,” said Pegios. “He could simplify complicated things. And sometimes people didn’t like or agree with what he said, but they respected him for saying it.”
Foden earned respect through a sense of fairness, Pegios said.
“His ethics were always intact,” said Pegios. “Surrey United couldn’t exceed what was ethically correct. He always fought for Surrey United, but he wanted the game to be played the right way.
“And that’s what’s going to be missed.”