BOW VALLEY – The Bow Valley Soccer League just wrapped up for 2019, but teams already have a goal for 2020: defeat Canmore United FC.
Canmore United was the envy of the league, going undefeated (9-0-3) en route to winning the 2019 championship.
Finishing with 30 points overall, the league’s only Canmore-based squad’s tough defensive core, better scoring opportunities and strategic coaching were major factors in squashing the rest.
“As far as I know, the last time that was done [going undefeated] was in 2008 and that was with us as well in this league,” said Neil Orchard, Canmore United’s assistant coach. “We had three or four guys new to the squad that played an integral role to help us go undefeated.”
Over the past few seasons, the men’s league tightened up and has become a lot more competitive, said Orchard, which adds to the team's accomplishment.
“The league was pretty close, it’s actually come a long way in the last couple of years to have teams that are fairly equal,” he said.
Pump & Tap finished in second with 22 points, Bring Springs finished third, Earls was fourth and Winchester United finished fifth. Played throughout summer, games take place in Banff and Canmore.
Pump & Tap’s Jack East and Earls’ Alton Green were co-winners of the Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals of the season at 11 each.
As voted by the league’s players, Canmore United’s Jiri Paulik won MVP. The defenceman is touted as a multi-dimensional threat with an impressive IQ for the game.
While playing lockdown defence, Paulik’s presence was felt in all aspects as the MVP scored three goals during the season for his club.
“I was surprised I won (MVP), I didn’t expect that, but it’s a great pleasure though,” said Paulik.
“I just played good defence – I’m not really a striker, but I played good defence and we didn’t allow many goals.”
Paulik praised his teammates and thinks after Canmore United went undefeated, they’ll have a big target on their backs next season.
“There’s a rivalry between Canmore and Banff. I think it’s going to be harder to win again, in my opinion,” he said.