She’d seen them in action before and liked their style of play and dedication.
So when the Calgary Rapids asked Vernon’s Diane Neudorf to join their women’s soccer roster for the Barfoot&Thompson World Masters Games in New Zealand, Neudorf jumped at the chance.
The Rapids blanked a team from Australia 5-0 to win the gold medal in their 30+ division. The Rapids advanced to the final with a 12-0 romp over another Aussie side in a game where Neudorf scored five times.
“Having the privilege to play with these fantastic woman soccer players made the tip 100 per cent worth it,” said Neudorf, a forward/striker with the Blazers in the North Okanagan Women’s Masters Div. 1 Soccer League.
“We, as a team, had an amazing time at the Games, cheering on other Canadian teams and supporting all levels of athletes participating.”
Neudorf, who owns her own seniors home care company, said winning gold can be put into one word:
“Fantastic,” she said.
With a shot at revenge for an opening tournament 3-0 loss, the 55+ Okanagan Kickers lost again to the Vancouver Islanders 2-0 in their men’s gold medal game in Auckland.
The game began cautiously as both teams waited for an opportunity, and the Island team was rewarded when a wind-aided shot found the corner of the net in the 17th minute. The locals almost tied it up when Andrew Pendlebury had a shot go off the crossbar in the waning minutes of the first half.
The Islanders began to take control of the game and got the insurance marker with 20 minutes left to play with a header after a cross from the wing.
“Despite the loss, the team was happy with taking home the silver,” said Vernon’s Ron Krause, joined on the Kickers by fellow Vernonites Steve Coombs, Erv Schur, Dave Hampton, Jim Sparrow and Jenne Hubert.
The Kickers advanced to the final by playing to a scoreless draw in its final preliminary game with a club from Turin, Italy, which needed to beat the Okanagan to advance (Kickers needed only a draw).
Frustration showed at the end of the game as the Europeans confronted the Okanagan team and things got heated, especially when Sammi Muldaliar had his ball cap removed and thrown back in his face, and Nigel Clack and Ron Krause had water thrown in their face by the Turin goalie, but cooler heads prevailed.
The bronze medal was won by a team from Wanganeui, New Zealand, who defeated the team from Turin, Italy 3-0. The Italians had two players suspended for the match due to their actions against the Kickers.
Parm Kler of Vernon scored the insurance goal as Vernon/New Zealand United won its final game in the 50+ division, 4-2, to place seventh.
Joining Kler from Vernon on the squad were Brad Conlin and Kerry Zubot, whose wife, Andrea, helped Canadian Ice of Calgary finish ninth out of 20 in its women’s division.
The next World Masters Games will be held in Kansai, Japan in May 2021.