A young Oak Bay soccer player will be cheering for the red and white from among a raucous group of fans at B.C. Place Stadium Friday (Nov. 13).
On the pitch will be another Oak Bay soccer veteran, one who has climbed the ranks of Canadian soccer stardom, as the national team takes on Honduras in the World Cup qualifier.
While the game will likely provide many memorable moments for 12-year-old Quintin Nicoll, in Grade 6 at St. Patrick’s School, a post-game meeting with National Men’s Soccer Team member Adam Straith will be a highlight of the day, not to mention the opportunity to don an autographed jersey all his own.
What is he looking forward to? “The experience, and the stadium and the players,” says the enthusiastic young fan.
Straith, a former Bays United FC player, donated tickets to Friday’s game, along with a jersey and accommodation, to his former club. In a bid to win the coveted prize, close to 100 young players wrote about their favourite soccer memory, says Bays United secretary Derek Trimmer.
In his submission, Quintin recalled a game in which a teammate had a breakaway but when he shot the ball, it hit the post. It came back to him, but taking another shot, the ball once again hit the post. The third time he shot he hit the cross-bar, but still the ball came back to give him one more chance … and this time he kicked it over the net.
While the story didn’t end in a goal, the team shared a laugh over the series of unfortunate events.
Straith’s mom, Delphine, herself a former player, coach, referee and Bays United board member, drew the winning name.
While the draw was random, the club was keen to have players reflect about the sport they all share.
“It was to make sure they were thinking about it,” Trimmer says.
Straith, who attended Oak Bay High through Grade 11, when he moved to the first Whitecaps residency camp, started playing with the Bays at age 5, recalls Delphine. “He comes back all the time in between stints all over the world. He doesn’t forget the Bays.”
Quintin took to the pitch three years ago.
“I just wanted to try it and when I tried it I really enjoyed it,” says the Bays’ Blitz defenseman and goalie.
Quintin will share his prize with parents Linda and Jim, and brother Spencer, 7, who also submitted his favourite soccer memory.
The U8 player wrote how during a practice, his coach asked him “Are you sure your last name’s not Messi?” referencing one of the world’s greats, Lionel Messi.