Bob Ross tried his best to coach and talk soccer 24/7. Only sleep and work got in the way.
Ross was a legendary Vernon youth and men’s skipper who died in 2014. His legacy and spirit have been kept alive in the Vernon National Oldtimers Soccer Tournament.
He would have been grinning Monday as Bob Ross FC brushed back North Coquitlam Shooters 2-1 in the men’s 35+ final of the 39th extravaganza at MacDonald Park. The Vernon entry, one of 42, pocketed $500. Coquitlam took home $300.
Burly striker Kevan Gaull scored both Bob Ross goals, while Andrew Stevenson counted for Coquitlam. Gaull went short side for his opening snipe and then made a sweet turn before finishing from in tight for the winner. It was 1-1 at the half.
“These guys were pretty good,” said Vernon coach Graham Ross, Bob’s son. “They were a little older but they moved the ball around quickly. We kept our composure and we played it wide and played the crosses in like we did all weekend.”
Added Chris Ovens, who put the team together four years ago: “We had good depth and the guys really gelled.”
Don Ross, another of Bob’s sons, bought the team jerseys which are adorned with a special patch in his father’s memory. Ovens says they drink out a special beer stein in Bob’s honour. Bob Ross FC won the 35+ title for the second time in four tries.
Keeper Andrew Sanderson was stellar for Bob Ross FC, who held off the physical and hard-pressing Shooters in the second half.
“We finally brought enough guys so we had a good tournament,” said Mo Fenekoldt of North Coquitlam. “We really missed our striker Wade Friesen today; he got injured. It was a fast game and they were using their Chelsea defence on us.”
Vernon, who welcomed young newbies Tanner Fulljames and Andrew Stein, opened by grounding the LWO Legends of Salmon Arm 4-0 Saturday. Vernon toppled the Legends 3-1 in the 2016 tournament final.
Gaull, with a deuce, Ovens and Bryce Marshall handled the Bob Ross FC offence with Sanderson recording the clean sheet.
Stein, whose late grandfather George jumpstarted youth soccer and helped build the MacDonald Park clubhouse with the late Fred Mann, pulled the hat trick as Bob Ross FC dispatched Edmonton Arsenal 5-1 Saturday night.
Steve Rowe, on a gorgeous volley, and Jesse Knight supplied the other Vernon tallies.
Bob Ross FC mauled Arsenal 4-1, while the Shooters stopped the Legends 5-4 in penalty kicks in the Sunday semifinals.
The fun-loving, scarf-wearing Legends received the George Stein Memorial Triple S award for service, skills and sportsmanship. Arsenal iced the Legends 1-0 in the 2017 final. George’s son, Marty, was on hand to present the award.
Misson FC shut down the Chinook Blackstars of Calgary 3-0 in the men’s 40+ division final Monday afternoon.
Mission blanked Coastal FC of Surrey 5-0, bounced the Blackstars 4-1 and shelled Lethbridge United 6-2 in preliminary play.
The Southside Rangers of Calgary upended defending champion Old Growth of Vancouver 4-0 in the men’s 50+ final.
Southside outlasted Piva Financial of Kamloops 7-6 in penalty kicks, while Old Growth shut down Calgary FC 2-0 in the semifinals.
Bayern Moody of Port Moody clipped the Calgary Selects 1-0 in the men’s 55+ final, while Southside of Calgary went undefeated in pool play to claim the men’s 60 prize money.
The Vernon Oldies finished 1-1-1 in the 60s category, tying Southside 1-1, losing 5-1 to Mission FC and dusting off South Hill FC of Vancouver 2-0. South Hill has been in all 39 tournaments.
The women’s 35+ crown went to the MF Royals of Coquitlam by default over the Calgary DUIs, who had used an ineligible player earlier in the tourney. The DUIs won the friendly final 1-0.
The Royals blanked Kelowna Toyota GB 4-0, ambushed the Coastal Girls of Vancouver 7-0 and edged the DUI’s 1-0 in round-robin play.
Karen Gibson of the Royals won the Jimmy Domokos Memorial Spirit award. The Mission FC 50s nominated John Davidson and the late police officer was honoured with the men’s Spirit plaque.
“John (JD) was the spirit of our team and loved playing in this tournament,” said Bob Sebel of Mission, who brings three men’s teams each year. “He played for MFC 40s for many years but moved three years ago to captain our MFC 50s team. His last year for 40s he played both 40s and 50s not missing a game for both teams.”
Davidson, a highly popular Abbotsford constable with a gut-busting sense of humour, was killed in the line of duty last November. He was 53.
Domokos was a longtime Vernon soccer supporter who made new friends watching the tournament each year with his dynamic personality. He died last August at age 83.
The Moosehead Hoppers of Edmonton took the women’s 40+ purse by zapping the Young & The Rest Of Us of Calgary 3-0 in Monday’s final.
Tourney organizers Shelly Johnston and Sue Barss played for the Shut Up Liver, You’re Fine Edmonton entry.
The Edmonton Kaos ran over Okanagan United 5-1 for third place ($200). Edeen Ramsey and Char McNaught of Vernon played for United. McNaught suffered a serious leg injury in preliminary play.
United brushed back the PoCo Cougars 3-0, shut down Estrella FC of Calgary 2-0 and tied the Poppers 1-1 in pool play.
The Edmonton Snow Angels stopped the North Vancouver Ospreys 1-0 in penalty kicks for the women’s 45+ crown.
There were 26 men’s entries and 16 women’s teams. There are big plans for the 40th-anniversary tournament.
Johnston gave major props to Neil Witherspoon of the Shooters for setting up his own sound system and playing music of all types in the busy bavarian gardens all tourney.
“He hasn’t played in three years due to a shoulder injury but he returns every year with his music to support the gardens and his old team,” said Johnston. “He’s a well-loved guy.”