Throughout the month of August, the Canadian Armed Forces Men’s and Women’s soccer teams are competing on regional levels to determine which select few teams will have a chance to play at the national championships.
The regional competitions kicked off this week in the Atlantic region where the CFB Halifax Men’s Soccer team came in first with a 4-1 lead over Gagetown while the CFB Gagetown’s Women team won to go onto the nationals.
Meanwhile, regionals also took place in Ontario this week. The CFB Petawawa Women’s team will represent Ontario in the national championships after beating Trenton 3-0.
But perhaps the highlight for many soccer enthusiasts and attendees was the fairytale story of the Men’s team from Toronto. Toronto made history this year with its first-ever regional title after beating Petawawa in penalty kicks with a final score of 3-2.
Toronto won all three of their matches to make it into the finals.
“The emotional joy of winning, especially for this team that’s never won really any championships, and now they’re in the finals. There was this one moment the player scored in the finals, and he ran to the coach, and the coach was in tears,” recalled Marcelo Plada, the International Military Sports Council (CISM) Soccer Canada Men’s Head Coach.
Plada is currently touring the regional tournaments to scout talent for the national team, to build relationships and promote the sport.
“The best part of all of this [touring the regionals] is how happy all the players are playing together and against each other. There’s a lot of competition, but also there’s a lot of camaraderie towards the teams. It’s really powerful I think,” said Plada.
After touring all the regional games and the nationals, he will finalize the national CISM Men’s Soccer Team. The Team is set to play in Jan. 2017 in the Second CISM World Football Cup in Oman.
Plada believes the power of sport is reflected by the camaraderie and energy of the CAF soccer teams.
“I think it has a great impact on a lot of these athletes who are looking to be part of an organized sport, an organized team.
“It [sports] means a great deal to many of the players. They spend hours working and focusing on operations [and] just a little time away from that, being together, really creates a strong bond, especially within the CAF soccer community. It is very tight-knit, and they look out for each other, and it’s really nice to see that,” explained Plada.
Regionals will continue next week in St. Jean for the Quebec region and in Winnipeg for the Prairie region later this month.
The National Men’s and Women’s Soccer Tournament will be held at CFB Borden in mid-September.
Above image: On August 12, 2016 Canadian Armed Forces women’s teams from Petawawa and Trenton hit the pitch first thing in the morning to play for the regional title. Petawawa won 3-0 guaranteeing them to move on and play for the national title, which will be held in Bordon late September.