Hope defeats Canyon team

Communities battled it out last week in a local World Cup soccer match

Hope’s Denise Pascucci gets to the ball ahead of Yale’s Ionela Garrett at last Thursday’s “World Cup of Hope and Yale.” Yale beat Hope four years ago but Hope turned the tide on the Canyon team

The community of Yale has been brought down a notch, after suffering a 5-3 loss to Hope in the second-ever “World Cup of Hope and Yale,” played at the Hope Secondary field last Thursday.

Surely, plans for the new 58-seat Baerg Bowl riverfront stadium will now have to be set aside until confidence in the local team has been built back up.

In the inaugural game in 2010, Hope fielded “a lot more inexperienced and older players,” said organizer Shelley Empey. They were all invited to return but most declined for various reasons.

Not all of the elder players declined, though — and this ended up being a key to the win.

Another advantage for Hope: Yale didn’t have their talented Scotsman, who scored five goals for them in 2010.

Advantage three: the well-oiled Hope club had been preparing for over a month, practicing twice a week — and ordering impressive team jerseys. Yellow jerseys.

Somehow, Yale had missed the memo and were preparing to also use yellow jerseys… until a week before the big game.

“We were going to use a reissue of a vintage yellow Historic Yale shirt we sell in our retail area,” said Yale team manager Sue Baerg, co-owner of Fraser River Raft Expeditions.

“When we heard the Hope jerseys were yellow, we brought out a few of the 2010 black Yale jerseys with ‘well beyond Hope’ on the back. Several of our returning players wore them to the game.

“We asked all new team members to wear a black shirt and, of course, every bad ass in the area not only has a black shirt but they want to play for Yale,” said Baerg. “We had a roll of white tape for branding ‘YALE.’”

Yale tape may soon be available in local stores, so tourists and locals alike can make their own commemorative T-shirts — proceeds going to the riverfront stadium fund.

The canyon squad fielded a number of players who actually live in the town. They had three Baergs, two Friesens and three Peredas — but the main problem with Yale was: they didn’t have a Hope.

They had fielded 27 players in 2010 but in the week before the big match, Yale was still seeking members and found a gold mine in the Seabird Island-based players who have been coming to drop-in sessions in Hope this summer.

“The Seabird playmakers came up river and played beautifully,” said Baerg.  “We were also fortunate enough to recruit a great player at the last minute, Ionela Garrett, who was pivotal in our playmaking and assisted in one of our hard fought goals. She played with joy and passion and truly loves the game.

“Another key player for Yale was our brute enforcer, Sol Pereda, the youngest member of our team at eight-years-old,” said Baerg. “His ability to intimidate the Hope players played a huge role in the match. They all seemed to move away when he came too close.”

The game got started at about 7 p.m., under the supervision of all-seeing referee, Don Wiens. Hope’s Josh Hon — at 60 years of age, the oldest to score a goal in the World Cup of Hope and Yale — got his first of two, only a few minutes into the game. Zane MacDonald followed up with his first of two for Hope, then James Roksa converted a Yvon McKay corner, heading it in at the back post.

Yale countered with two of their own, from Josh Gray and Julio Melendez, to bring it to 3-2 at the half.

The weather was dry through the game but the field was slick from days of rain. This played to Hope’s favour, seconds into the next half, when Hon booted a low drive at the Yale net. Rather than bouncing, the ball squirted past the surprised keeper. MacDonald added another for Hope and Yale could only counter with one more, from Dreyden Naistus.

The spider-like Webber brothers, Mark and Colin, laid a near-impenetrable web on defence to help Hope’s keeper, Taylor Mitchell. Roksa made a timely slide-tackle late in the game to stop a likely goal and another Yale chance went bouncing off the defence and out. The final score was 5-3.

For his efforts, Hon was awarded the Golden Boot trophy. Yale player Josh Gray presented the coveted World Cup trophy to Hope.

Over $200 was raised for the Fraser Canyon Hospice Society.

After seeing the skill, effort, joy and passion showed by the two teams, both Baerg and Empey agreed that the game needs to be played more frequently than every four years. Perhaps an annual “Canyon Cup?”

Yale had better get working on their stadium, if they ever want home-field advantage.

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