There are no doubt bigger concerns right now than the cancellation of a soccer season.
Members of the New Westminster Blackout all get that – and feel the same unease and concerns for health of their families and friends as everyone else.
But for a brief moment, they had visions of big things. And like a lot of people’s hopes, it’s all changed. Just like their moniker, there’s been a virtual blackout when it comes to activities as Canadians try to contain and prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
The women’s soccer team was revelling in a Metro Women’s Soccer League Div. 3 regular season title, and had trained to meet the rival North Shore Fusion last Sunday in a semifinal. The Metro circuit, along with every other sports league, pulled the plug as public safety understandably took precedence over a soccer game.
“This is not how we imagined ending our season,” said Blackout head coach, Scott Loewen. “These players were killing it this year.”
In their final game, played two weeks ago, New West blanked the North Shore Icicles 8-0. In February, they racked up a couple shutouts – 9-0 over West Coast and 5-0 over city rival New West Hyacks, along with a 3-1 victory over Delta United.
What they did accomplish over a season was an impressive 15-2-1 record – with the lone loss coming in the season opener. Once the calendar turned to cup action, New West turned it up a notch in four straight victories, that saw them out-score the competition 25-3 and post three shutouts.
Netminder Jasmine Kazi has been a major part of the team’s success, registering nine clean sheets over 18 games. Her hope was to push it right to a championship final.
“I was really hoping for the chance to play for a medal,” she said.
Carly Cody counted 21 goals on the year, including 10 in knockout and cup games. Teammate Celeste Bain counted 16 goals, and tied Cody with a team-high 11 during the regular season.
When the soccer does resume, the 2020-21 season will see the spoils of their efforts rewarded with promotion to Div. 2, something that the players had their eye on when the season started last September.
“This is the second straight year the Blackout have earned promotion to a higher division for next season,” remarked team manager Wayne McCarthy. “The MWSL Cup final is a large event with hundreds of people in attendance. With the government and health officials banning events with more than 250 people, the writing was on the wall. It would have been great if we had the chance to play for the cup but it is completely understandable that the league chose the safety of the players over anything else. I have no doubt the Blackout will want to prove this season wasn’t a one-off when we come back in September.”
Also contributing on the standout season were Madison Catton, Sydney Chu, Oriana Dalla-Vecchia, Jupdeep Dhillon, Simran Dhillon, Ellery Hardy, Maya Hoonjan, Jordan Liebelt, Xena Loewen, Zoe Loewen, Camilla Markman, Sarah McCarthy, Naomi Noda, Julia Saraiva, Sarah Spring and Sierra Watkinson.