Sports

Kick off fast approaching

Richmond Adult Soccer Association hosts an annual all-star game featuring many of the league’s talented players.  - Don Fennell photo
Richmond Adult Soccer Association hosts an annual all-star game featuring many of the league’s talented players.
— image credit: Don Fennell photo

The Richmond Adult Soccer Association begins season No. 53 in September, a fact president Steve Valenzuela has a hard time believing.

But as he gets set to again oversee one of the biggest and most successful senior men’s leagues in the province, Valenzuela also marvels at the talent pool that shows no signs of thinning. And at the head of the pack are the All Blacks, returning as runners-up in last year’s Provincial Cup after sweeping the league’s regular-season titles and championships a year ago.

While All Blacks have, for the last several seasons at least, been the team that has set the standard for all others to achieve, a new group of sides is emerging to challenge for that mantle.

In the Premier Division, AC Richmond is returning with a young squad that should be improved and is expected to challenge for at least one of the top two spots. The Athletics will continue to show a strong presence as well.

Also moving up are the Graduates., a very focused group that just a few seasons back were still competing in youth soccer (at least many of the players on the team were) and should prove to be a formidable challenger for division honours too.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how they do.  Last year they went undefeated in First Division,” said league president Steve Valenzuela.

Meanwhile, the race in First Division this season should be tight as the Clippers and Club Ireland Celtic both return. Jade Unicorn and Marine Drive Collision have both been promoted to First Division after taking the top two spots in Second Division last year.

The Masters Division is also back with seven teams, but Valenzuela is confident the competition level is increasing and should make for some great games this year.

The league also welcomes a new team to the fold. Heart FC is led by Colin D’Souza who played with the Jugadores CF I team a year ago.

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