Van Isle Walking Soccer hosted its Second Annual Provincial Walking Soccer Tournament in Nanoose Bay on Oct. 23.
The event was held at Arbutus Meadows Sports facility and featured five teams, from Victoria, Nanaimo and Parksville. Mainland teams were expected but due to COVID-19 decided not to play.
Van Isle went unbeaten, winning the round-robin with a 4-0 record. They advanced to the finals by beating Victoria Amblers and went on to claim the championships trophy by beating Strollers of Victoria in the final.
The teams from Victoria, the Amblers and Strollers, are new to the modified sport, having just started walking soccer in August 2021.
Some of the members, who still play regular soccer, professed a new love for walking soccer.
Amblers player Bernie Harrington indicated Victoria now has three walking soccer teams and two women’s teams.
“It’s just taking off in Victoria,” said Harrington. “It’s a very good sport. It’s a good workout because you get a lot of contact with the ball. There’s lots of passing so it’s a game of skills.”
Manny Ferreira of the Strollers just joined walking soccer two months ago and found it to be a challenging and exhilarating.
“I like it because in regular soccer you don’t get such a workout,” said Ferreira. “I will tell you the reason why. In regular soccer you make a pass, you stop and you walk a little. In this, you can’t. You have to keep walking. We timed it in terms of paces. We do a lot more paces in this game than the regular game.”
The 73-year-old Ferreira, who still loves playing regular soccer and has been for 58 years, originally thought walking soccer would be boring.
“That’s because I played regular soccer all my life,” he explained. “I heard about it and I actually went and tried it. And like I said, you do a lot more walking and pacing. You end up sweating more. You have to continuously walk otherwise you don’t get the chance to get the ball.”
Rob Jonas, organizer of the tournament, is pleased to see Victoria start their own walking soccer and expect them to have more teams next year.
He already has next year’s tournament rolling – tentatively scheduled for Saturday, March 5, 2022 at the Arbutus Meadows facility.
“Overall, I am delighted with the tournament,” said Jonas. “It’s great to finally hold it after having had it delayed this year due to COVID-19. And, as we can see the sport is growing rapidly among seniors all over Vancouver Island and in the province, making the future very bright for this great hybrid and co-ed sport”
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