No one seems to be quite sure how long it’s been since Semiahmoo Secondary had a boy’s soccer team.
One student originally said the number at 30 years, while a letter from the school to parents pegged the absence at 10. Meanwhile, the school’s athletic director, Myles Winch, insists “it hasn’t been 10, but probably five.”
Whatever the case, teacher sponsor/coach Paul Langton is right when he says, simply, that “it’s been quite a while.”
Regardless of time frame, the school has indeed returned to the pitch with a junior boy’s team this season. And despite all the growing pains associated with starting a new team from scratch – everything from finding coaches and holding tryouts to ordering uniforms – the Semiahmoo Totems have been pretty successful through the first few weeks of the season.
In its first-ever game last month, the team earned a 2-2 tie against Panorama Ridge, and this week defeated Langley Fundamental 3-1. Semi played a third game, against Tamanawis Secondary, Wednesday afternoon after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.
“It’s been really great – everyone is really excited about it,” said Langton, who said 38 students came out for the team’s first tryout session, and the team has been whittled down now to 17.
All 17 players play soccer on community teams, including many at the rep level, Langton added.
Ironically, it was community soccer that played a part in kiboshing the school’s boys teams 10 or five or however many years ago it was.
Back then, Semiahmoo players couldn’t commit to the school’s games because of scheduling conflicts with their community teams, Winch said. By the end of the last season, the team had to forfeit a handful of games due to a lack of players.
“That was kind of the final straw,” said Winch, who added that, through the years, various parents have tried to revive the school’s soccer program, but to no avail.
“Soccer is covered so well in the community, we were spending a bunch of money for something that already exists.”
In addition to Langton’s help, this year’s team is coached by Peter Ntokolas, a parent and community coach.
Commitment to the new squad has not been a problem thus far, Langton is quick to emphasize.
For starters, he points to the number of players on the roster, and secondly, the fact that players paid for their new uniforms themselves.
Additionally, the school team’s schedule better meshes with the commitments of community soccer this time around.
“Most of the club teams practice in the evening now, so if we practice right after school, it lets the kids go home in time for dinner and still get to their evening practice,” Langton said.
“It’s been a really good start.”