Monday’s sprinkles didn’t dampen the quality of soccer played during the 51st Pacific Western Brewery May Classic.
Organizer Charlie Goeckel liked what he saw during the 46 games played at King’s Park during the Victoria Day long weekend.
“Everything went without incident,” said Goeckel, who received emails from teams saying how well the tournament was run and expressing their desire to return. “It’s supposed to be a fun tournament. Over 500 players registered. Activities were well attended.”
Goeckel said the officiating in the three divisions (Women’s recreation, Women’s Open and Men’s Open) was good, and only drew three red cards.
With four-time champion Estrella de Chile unable to attend due to a previous commitment, that opened the door for a new champ. That turned out to be Williams Lake who downed the Okanagan Pinnacles 1-0.
“That was a tough game, very fast and very skillful players,” said Goeckel, of the action in the division sponsored by All’s Well Security. “It was a good game. Nice crowd there to watch. Really good soccer.”
The North Delta Diesels won the B side 2-1 against Courvas from Salmon Arm. The goal-scoring champ was Courvas’ Russ Pringle with seven goals. MVP went to Wyatt Seddon-Johnstone of North Delta.
Skaha Meadows Women’s Open division was won by the Kamloops Heat. They defeated Penticton H &T 4-2, who had the scoring leader Joanne Froelich with eight goals. The MVP was Gibson’s Sammie Bismark. The women’s recreational division was won by X-Pinnacles who downed Citas Sistas of Gibson 5-2.
The only things that frustrated Goeckel organizing the event was having six teams pull out in the weeks leading up to the weekend and a lack of local businesses giving its support.
“It’s been a great economic benefit to the city filling hotels and restaurants and we have the perfect location at King’s Park,” said Goeckel, prior to the tournament starting.
Goeckel added that volunteers helped things go smoothly. He commended the city for having the field in great condition for play.
Money raised at the tournament will go back into the Penticton Soccer Club as they co-sponsor the Penticton women’s team in the under-21 Pacific Coast Reserve Division and men’s U-21 Tin Horn Pinnacles. The Pacific Western Brewery May Classic has been welcoming soccer players to since 1962.