Saanich Fusion soccer association reboots youth World Cups event

So the World Cups festival was born that year. It featured youth players on various “national” teams with Germany playing Netherlands, Brazil taking on Argentina and Canada versus U.S.A., and so on. The annual Easter weekend tournament became so popular that thousands participated at Lochside Park.

After a hiatus since 2012, the tournament will be quite literally rebooted March 25-27.

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“Frank wanted to recognize the achievements of Island World Cup players such as Ian [Bridge], Jamie [Lowery], George [Pakos] and the Chief [Canadian captain and now UVic Vikes coach Bruce Wilson], and the annual tournament became such a community builder in the Cordova Bay area,” said Dominic Butcher, chairman of the reconstituted Saanich Fusion-hosted Peninsula Co-op World Cups event.

“I grew up playing at Lochside Park and this was such a part of my life every Easter. But without Franks’ influence, it sort of fell away the past few years, but now we are back.”

Leversedge, who passed away in 2009 during a volunteer shift at Lochside Park, spent decades as a Cordova Bay soccer coach, volunteer and supporter. More than 500 people attended his celebration of life, which was held at the park. The main turf field at Lochside Park is named in his honour.

Registration for World Cups is open to all players in any organization at Players sign up as individuals and are assigned to different “national” teams. Cost is $38.99 per player or $95 for three siblings. Players are guaranteed four games, a commemorative program, post-game juice boxes and get to keep their “national” team T-shirts. This year’s teams are based on the national sides that competed in the 2015 women’s World Cup hosted by Canada.

The Olympic-style opening ceremony been retained, with teams marching onto the pitch behind their country’s flagbearer. There will again be jumpers parachuting into Lochside Park from a plane to hand the official ball to dignitaries, which will include MLA Andrew Weaver. Leversedge’s widow Peggy and son Renton will also be on hand for the re-boot of the tournament.

“We tried to stay true to Frank’s vision,” said Butcher, who came up through Cordova Bay and played goal in the CIS for the UVic Vikes under Bruce Wilson, and later in the VISL Division 1 for Bays United.

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