The annual JulyFest Soccer Tournament had another successful year with teams from B.C., Alberta and the U.S. playing across Kimberley fields all weekend long.
Tournament Organizer Simon Davidson says that the cool and rainy weather on Saturday made for a really nice day of soccer playing.
“Compared to past years where it’s been crazy hot, I think we all enjoyed a day of cool, rainy weather,” Davidson said. “There were a lot of great games over the weekend and some really great matched teams, especially in the finals, so it made for a really exciting tournament.”
On Sunday, July 21, 2019 the finals began around 2 p.m. at Purcell fields, but one game ended with an unfortunate circumstance when the Cranbrook Unicorn FC’s leading scorer, Sam Heap, broke his leg in a 50/50 ball against the Monarchs’ goalkeeper.
“It was a really unfortunate outcome,” said Davidson, adding that the last bad injury they experienced was ten years ago. “It was a 50/50 ball, and he [Sam] just came out on the wrong end of it. It was a bad tackle and some bad luck.”
He adds that Heap is now recovering after a successful surgery on Monday morning.
“There were lots of teams from out of town showing support for him and sending him messages, so the bad ending was met with a lot of class by everybody,” Davidson explained. “Everyone’s really supported Sam and we wish him well in his recovery.”
A post on the JulyFest Soccer Facebook Page from Unicorn FC player A.J Wheaton explained the situation.
“Unicorn FC and Green Monarchs Final did not end as expected, our striker and their goalie collided on a 50/50 resulting in a broken leg. Green Monarchs showed true class given the situation, forfeiting the final five minutes of a 1-0 game to concede, a decision that would have been very hard to make. It was a true example of sportsmanship and what makes this tournament great. A huge shoutout to the organizers and volunteers, thank you!”
In terms of local teams, Davidson says everyone played well and there were some close games in the finals.
He says the Ramblers lost the semi-finals to the tournament champions on the women’s side, while the Los Amigos won a penalty kick but lost to a Red Deer (Alberta) team in the rec. finals.
“In the men’s competitive side, the Unicorns played the Green Monarchs who are a very strong team and have been at the tournament many times,” Davidson explained. “Cranbrook FC won the men’s B side. They beat a team from Banff to a penalty kick and scored within the last two minutes. It was really exciting.”
Davidson adds that the tournament wouldn’t be possible without the help from many.
“As always, a big thanks to the City and School Board for the use of the fields and all of the hard work they put into them,” he said. “And to the organizers and volunteers, thank you.”
Photos by Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin