Phil Carlington says that when his family was living in the UK, “football” was not an option for his young daughter, Emily. Moving to Bowen when she was four years old changed that, and Carlington says his daughter fell into the sport led by his passion for it.
“Now she’s more passionate about it than I am,” he says.
Emily started playing with Bowen FC when she was six, and has just completed her season with the West Van Soccer Club.
Matilda Shapland played with her the whole way through, and as they finish high school, both young women have been recognized for their skill and dedication to the sport. Emily won the West Van Girl’s Soccer Scholarship for university, and Matilda was named their team’s MVP.
Both young women are now playing with their dads in the Bowen FC Adult Co-Ed League.
“I’m advancing in the years so am glad to be playing at all, but to be playing with my daughter is absolutely amazing,” says Carlington. “I remember one game last year, we won 2 to 1. Emily set me up for the first goal, and then she scored the winning goal. At that point, I thought: if I never get to play another game, I’m satisfied with this. It is not the highest level league but it is so much fun.”
Nine year-old Ela Viziri traded in gymnastics for soccer two-years ago after several years standing on the sidelines cheering on her dad, Barash. She says that it would be really cool to go to the Olympics, but she is also looking forward to turning sixteen, so like Emily, Matilda and many other young Bowen players, she can join her dad on the pitch as part of the Co-Ed league.
Barash Viziri says that, like Phil Carlington, there was a time when he didn’t see soccer as an option for his daughter.
“But she loves it, and works really hard,” he says. “This year she’s been participating in the Soccer Academy and her skills have improved dramatically.”
This weekend, Soccerfest will celebrate this inter-generational love of the sport.
On Saturday at 3pm, the youngest members of Bowen Island FC will walk players with the “Bowen Men’s Team” (an amalgam of some of the best players in the Co-Ed League) onto the field where they will go head to head with the Bowen Bears, players between the age of 18 - 25 who have come up through the ranks of the Club. This will give Julian Barrerra and his 16 year-old son Aure a chance to play against each other. Normally, they’re on the same team.
Don’t miss out on the fun... Soccerfest starts at 1pm on Saturday at the BICS field.