Taped, tired, battered and bruised, the Westlake Tire/Arrowhead Electric Ogopogos patched together a 10-man roster for their Saturday bronze-medal soccer match in Torino, Italy.
The Ogopogos even got creative and pulled Vernon’s Marty Stein, a spectator and volunteer medic, out of the stands and put him in net.
The Vernon 50+ entry, with guest players from all over the planet, put in a valiant effort before falling 4-1 to Australia.
The Australians took an early 2-0 lead in the first half. Just before the half ended, the Aussies added a third on a 2-on-0 breakaway from centre after an apparent missed offside call.
Keeper-turned-forward Brad Rist, of California, buried a shot to the corner off a beautiful effort and pass from Vernon’s Parm Kler, for the Ogopogos’ goal. The Aussies recorded a late goal for the medal.
Props went to the wounded warriors who were able to play all seven games in Italy: Dave Hampton, Jim Sparrow, Kler and Kerry Zubot, all of Vernon, Jose Oreamuno, Rist, Eric Stepura, Gary Spencer and Simon Pendlebury. Stepura is a 1974 VSSS grad now living in Vancouver.
“Most of the talk from other teams was that we had the best team in the group to take it all and it was unfortunate for our injuries and early departures,” said Zubot, who organized the team.
Sparrow and Stein were on the Vernon entry which struck bronze at the 2005 World Masters Games in Edmonton.
More than 50,000 athletes competed in Italy, The next Games are in Auckland, New Zealand.