The Edmonton Arsenal roster consists of several players who learned the beautiful game in countries like Lebanon, El Salvador and Colombia.
That blend was magic as the Arsenal won the Men’s Over 35 division title in the 38th Vernon National Oldtimers Soccer Tournament, dispatching the LWO Legends of Salmon Arm 1-0 in Monday’s final at sun-drenched MacDonald Park.
Jamie Marrett converted a 15-yard corker just seconds into the second half to give Edmonton the $500 first prize purse. The Legends received $300.
“We’ve been in a final a few times but never won,” said Brian Austin of the Arsenal. “We brought 20 guys so everybody ran hard for 15 minutes and came off. We have a good ethnic mix; we’re very technically gifted.”
Most of the Arsenal play on teams in an Over 35 Major category back home. Austin’s brother Tim was also with the champions who opened with a 2-0 win over Fusion FC of Calgary Saturday afternoon at Greater Vernon Athletics Park.
Edmonton grounded Lethbridge United 6-2 Sunday morning and shaded defending champion Bob Ross FC of Vernon 2-1 the same night, both at MacDonald Park.
“They had one chance and they capitalized,” said keeper Brad (Coolio) Young of the fun-loving Legends. “We moved the ball around and everybody played fantastic. It was one of the best games we’ve ever played.”
The scarf-wearing Legends, who were singing soccer ditties in the bavarian gardens as North Okanagan United women’s team – who ran the 36-team tournament – cleared tables and chairs, received the George Stein Memorial Triple S award for service, skill and sportsmanship. Stein and the late Fred Mann were instrumental in starting youth soccer in Vernon and building the MacDonald Park clubhouse.
The Legends brushed back the Fraser Valley Players 2-0 Saturday while stopping the NCGSC Shooters of Coquitlam 3-1 and falling 5-1 to Calgary Lads in Sunday play.
Bob Ross FC shut down the Calgary Lads 2-0 in the B final Monday morning on goals by Ryan Sharp and Scott Dobson. Andres Anderson recorded the clean sheet.
The Vernon crew dispatched Lethbridge 6-0 Saturday at Grahame Park with Kevan Gaull and Bryce Marshall each pocketing a pair and singles going to Harlan Anderson and Chris Ovens.
Gaull rang up four goals as Bob Ross FC iced Fusion FC 6-0, while Sharp connected in the loss to Edmonton. There was a field of eight.
Mission FC iced KPFC of Kamloops 2-0 in the Men’s Over 45 final. Mission blanked Coastal FC of Surrey 3-0, while KPFC clipped Chinook Blackstars of Calgary 2-0 in the semifinals.
Old Growth of Vancouver turned back Mission FC 3-1 in the Men’s Over 50 final after defeating Edmonton Pioneer Hitch 3-1 in the semis. Mission shut out Peace Arch of White Rock in the other semi.
Bayern Moody of Port Coquitlam iced Delta Stingers 2-0 in the Men’s Over 55 championship game Monday morning. Moody toppled the Calgary Eagles 2-0, while Delta shaded Prince George Old Farts 4-3 in the semifinals.
The four-team, round-robin Men’s Over 60 class was won by Mission with two wins and a loss for 21 points. The Okanagan Oldtimers, comprised mainly of Vernon players, were second with 19 points. They lost 1-0 on penalty kicks to the Southside Rangers of Calgary after doubling Mission 4-2 and ambushing South Hill of Vancouver 7-0 (Denis Chabot hat trick).
South Hill, the oldest team in the event, was making their 38th tournament appearance.
Charley Mayer, Steve McCourt and Kenny Rath also scored as the Okanagan iced South Hill. Rob Ross (2) and John Matejicka (2) handled the offence versus Mission. J.C. Bursting stopped two penalty shots in regulation against Southside.