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Calgary United for crown

Vernon United's Mark Oehler (right) leaps up for a header before Calgary United TFC's John Preskal can react in National Oldtimers Soccer Tournament play Saturday at Marshall Field.

Three years ago, the Calgary United TFC defeated Germany in penalty kicks to win a soccer tournament in Hawaii.

Taking the men’s 35+ division title in the 32nd annual Vernon National Oldtimers Soccer Tournament wasn’t quite as sweet, but they were still pretty stoked after grounding Surrey United 1-0 Monday afternoon at MacDonald Park.

“This was nice because they beat us 2-0 in the final last year so this was a revenge match,” smiled Calgary captain David Fried, who amassed a “mix and match” of players to complement his core group.

Vince Tucker unleashed a corker that struck the crossbar and crossed the line for Calgary’s goal midway through the opening half.

In preliminary play, Calgary tied Vernon United 1-1, crushed the Port Coquitlam Celtics 7-0 and shut down the Calgary Lads 3-0.

“Our midfield worked hard all weekend and our MVP (James David) was the engine behind our team,” added Fried. “Our midfield wore the other teams down.”

Calgary earned $600, while Surrey settled for $500 and the Chinook Blackstars clipped Vernon United 2-1 for third place and $400.

Mike Daly scored for Vernon, who along with Bryan Schenker, handled most of the offence as United also tied the Blackstars 1-1, drew 1-1 with the Calgary Gunners and downed the Celtics 4-0.

Surrey reached the final by blanking the Gunners 3-0, stopping the Lads 4-0 and brushing off the Blackstars 3-1 in the seven-team pool.

Mission United claimed the 40+ title with a thrilling 3-2 (4-1) penalty kicks victory over PIVA Financial of Kamloops.

Steve Roberts, Ahcene Adinda, Chris Edwards and Rob Ciridino buried penalty spot shots for Mission, whose keeper Rob Mills was only beaten on one of four Kamloops attempts.

Rod Kirkland equalized for Mission with nine minutes remaining on a gorgeous header, shortly after Edwards’ header was stopped. Colin Whitworth just missed a chance at the right post a few minutes before both headers.

Adinda supplied Mission’s other regulation goal, while John Ramsay and Andy Swain, on a penalty kick, handled the Kamloops offence. Kenny Clarke of Mission was named MVP.

“It was a very close game,” said Mission coach Chris Roberts, “We showed a lot of desire against a very good team. Our guys didn’t quit. Look around, they guys are all banged up.”

One Mission player was on crutches, while another slowly walked, with an ice bag on his quad muscle, to the middle of the field for a team photo.

“Penalty kicks are a lousy way to lose, but we’ve been on the other end too,” added Roberts. “We got solid goaltending and the whole team was very good all weekend.”

Mission United took third by forfeit when the Tequila Shooters of Victoria headed home early. The PoCo Celtics from the 35+ category played Mission in a friendly, and combined with their Bavarian gardens support and a donation to the local Soccer Patch program, the Celtics earned the George Stein Memorial Triple S (Skill, Sportsmanship and Service) award for the second straight year.

Peach Arch of White Rock clipped the Delta Stingers 2-1 in Monday’s 45+ men’s final, pocketing their third straight title.

An own goal and a strike by Andy Bell pushed Peace Arch past the Stingers for $600. Brian Critchley of Peace Arch was chosen division MVP.

The Edmonton Karpaty shut out Calgary TFC 1-0 in the consolation final at Marshall Field #4. There were a dozen teams in the 45+ class.

In the men’s 50+ division, the Southside Rangers of Edmonton stopped Prince George 1-0 in the final, while the Vancouver Nomads edged the Surrey Classics 1-0 in the consolation final.

The Vernon Masters bowed 2-1 to Prince George with Nick Wood scoring a beauty on a 25-yard direct kick over a wall into the top corner, fell 3-1 to the Calgary Eagles (Kerry Zubot goal) and lost 4-0 to the Edmonton Trojans. El Ladha of the Nomads took MVP.

The North Island Spartans of Courtenay took the four-team men’s 55+ division by blanking Vernon Masters 2-0, tying Richmond Pioneers 1-1 and stuffing South Hill of Vancouver 6-0.

Vernon ambushed South Hill 8-0 in their second game, getting three goals from Al Bensmiller, two each from John Wilson and Wolfgang Bopp, and one from Mike Siemens. The locals, who earned $300, finished by drawing 2-2 with Richmond with Bopp and Denis Chabot scoring. Larry Vermette of North Island was MVP.