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Bert Church soccer team still unbeaten after three games

The Bert Church Chargers boys' soccer team conceded a late goal from a corner kick on May 5 to tie the Springbank Phoenix 1-1 at Monklands Field.

The Bert Church Chargers boys' soccer team conceded a late goal from a corner kick on May 5 to tie the Springbank Phoenix 1-1 at Monklands Field. 

Despite the disappointment of conceding their first goal of the season – and letting a win against one of their biggest divisional rivals in recent years slip through their fingers in the last two minutes of the match – Chargers' head coach Sebastien Durand said a draw against the Phoenix was a decent result.

“For us, the message is always to keep your heads high,” he said. “Those things happen in a game.

“[The Phoenix] are a good team. Even throughout the game, they pressed and had a few chances. It’s tough to hold on until the very end, but that’s why the game is a full 90 minutes.”  

The game marked a rematch of the 2019 Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) championship game, when Springbank upset the first-seed Chargers to end Bert Church's two-year reign as the kings of RVSA boys' soccer. But given the cancellation of high-school boys' soccer seasons in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Durand said there has been plenty of change-over on the rosters of both teams in the last three years, making it difficult to gauge who the favourites are this season.

“We have only two players that are the same as the 2019 team and they were in Grade 9 back then,” he said. “After two years of being off, we had no idea the type of team we’d get.”

The draw means Bert Church is still unbeaten in the RVSA, with a 2-0-1 record – the same record as the first-place Phoenix, though the Chargers have scored fewer goals. Springbank are the current leaders in the RVSA. 

The Chargers opened their season with a 2-0 win over the Chestermere Lakers on April 28, and then followed it up with a 1-0 win over the George McDougall Mustangs two days later, in the first Airdrie derby of the 2022 high school soccer season. 

Durand said the 2022 RVSA season is already shaping up to be an interesting one, given the number of competitive club soccer players who have opted to play for their school teams this spring.

“We knew there were a lot of club players at Bert Church, but in 2019, a lot of the club players actually didn’t come play high-school soccer because of the conflict,” he said.

“I think a lot of clubs were encouraging the players to stick with club, and not risk getting hurt. This year – I’ve been around Airdrie soccer for years and years – I’m seeing all the club players come out to play for their high schools. It’s great to have some competitive games.” 

Bert Church will have a bye on May 10, meaning the Chargers' next match will be May 12 against the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers. As of press time, the Cavaliers were in third place, thanks to a 2-0-0 record. They recently beat the struggling Bow Valley Bobcats by an emphatic 11-0 score line, after opening their season with a 2-1 victory over the Cochrane Cobras.

Durand said Bert Church's players are always keen to face their Airdrie rivals, whether that's Croxford or George McDougall.

“When you get a George Mac-Bert Church or Croxford-George Mac game, it’s always exciting,” he said, adding the players enjoy playing in front of their classmates in those matches.

“We’re looking forward to the rest of the season because we have Croxford yet to play and that should be an exciting one as well.” 

As for George McDougall, they faced the Cochrane Cobras at Rangers Field in Cochrane on May 10 (after press time), and will take on the Phoenix in Springbank on May 12.

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