Surrey United’s U15 girls soccer team (in red) on the pitch in June of 2014. (File photo)

SOCCER

Surrey soccer players run 6,000K ‘to Halifax,’ for victims of mass shooting

Symbolic journey ‘a target, some incentive, and it’s really caught fire,’ club official says

Soccer players with Surrey United are on a symbolic run to Nova Scotia as a group, in a show of support for victims of the mass shooting there.

With soccer games and practices cancelled for now, the Cloverdale Athletic Park-based association’s Run to Halifax Challenge doubles as a way to keep players active and fit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Challenge sees players record their individual, socially-distanced runs on a Google form, with the goal of a 6,000-kilometre journey to Nova Scotia from April 25 to May 9.

As of Day 2 on Sunday (April 26), players have run close to 850 kilometres – the equivalent of getting to Calgary, pretty much.

“We were trying to come up with a way to keep our kids moving, in the event a return to play happens soon,” said Jeff Clarke, the club’s technical director. “It’s a target, some incentive, and it’s really caught fire. We’ve had Calgary Foothills come on board and they’re getting their members to do it, and also Coquitlam Metro Ford. It’s just a way to inspire our club to stay training and it’s snowballing into something bigger and better.”

On Surrey United’s Facebook page, video shows Clarke in a “Monday motivation” demonstration of volleying skills that players can try at home.

(Story continues below)

This week, teams with Surrey United and other soccer associations in B.C. would be preparing for playoffs and provincial championships to come, with club nationals set for the fall, as always.

“We’re really the only province in our situation, because our competition phase is different than others,” Clarke noted. “The rest of the country was supposed to start playing next weekend, until the end of August. Our season was compromised because of when (the pandemic) hit in mid-March, so nationals might still go ahead, and they might go ahead without a B.C. rep, we’re not sure, but nothing official has come out on that.”

Clarke said it’s too early to suggest when a restart of soccer may happen, but he and others hope it’s soon.

“It’s a million-dollar question,” he said. “Right now we’re just trying to prepare for every possible variation or stage or return to play, some being more restrictive than others. We know it’s a low likelihood of us returning to what we knew three months ago, but we hope in the next six weeks we can at least get kids out there and reconnecting, and that be with lesson plans built around social distancing or other restrictions, where health authorities deem it safe and appropriate with what’s going on.”

As a way to stay connected, players and teams are conducting online chats with Zoom and similar apps, he said.

“If you think about these young kids, the social side of their life and their teammates, that’s a big part of who they are, and you can see their faces light up when they see those teammates on the screens,” Clarke noted. “So hopefully soon we can pull them onto a field, even if it’s keeping a distance, I think that will go a long way to helping everything in the big picture as well.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2018: Surrey United celebrates 50 years of soccer at day-long event.

In other Surrey United news, Nick Perugini is leaving his position as assistant technical director of the club, but will continue in his role as head coach of its BCSPL program. Perugini said he will be pursuing other professional opportunities starting in July.

“He’s going to leave a big hole,” Clarke said of his assistant. “Nick’s a big personality and a great worker, and now he wants to do some other things, and we’ll miss him in that position.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SIMPSON: For real leadership amid crisis, look west of Scott Road

Delta council, under direction of Mayor George Harvie, defines leadership during pandemic

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at Peace Arch Park ‘oasis’

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Cloverdale businessman funds wells in Cambodia

Revive Washing in Clayton Heights donates three per cent of profits to charity

Cloverdale youth pastor’s sexual-assault sentencing delayed

Samuel Emerson due to return to Surrey Provincial Court in August

More than 200 Surrey playgrounds re-opening

City announces eight skate parks to re-open as well

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Chilliwack teachers, assistants concerned with lack of PPE guidelines ahead of school reopening

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Pregnant B.C. woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

Michelle Hunter said it was like a horror movie when caught COVID-19

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read