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Tuesday game will be tribute to goalie’s dad

Next week’s soccer match in Langley is a belated Father’s Day gift for netminder Callum Irving’s mentor
Vancouver FC netminder Callum Irving in goal during last Sunday’s June 11 game against Cavalry FC, when the Calgary attacker Ethan Beckford attempted a header that sailed over the net. (Mike Sturk,CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Tuesday’s home game against Hamilton is going to hold special significance for Vancouver Football Club’s goalkeeper Callum Irving.

It will be a belated Father’s Day tribute to his dear ol’ Dad, who is expected to once again be in the stands. Actually, the Irving family is always in the Langley stands cheering Callum on.

His father, Robert Irving, also helped to literally build a portion of VFC’s home pitch at Willoughby Stadium – specifically he assisted in constructing all the stalls in the team’s current locker room.

“It means a lot for me to have my dad in the stands for every game,” Callum told the Langley Advance Times. “No game is different than another, but I’ll be happy to have him there for our Father’s Day game and to have his support, as always.”

So, when the 30-year-old netminder hits the field next week, he said he’ll be playing his heart out – like he always does – but he’ll be doing it not just for his teammates and fans, but also for his father.

“I don’t have anything special planned [for Father’s Day match] as I don’t think he’d want so much attention and wants me to be focussed. He does always tell me to play well and have fun before every game, so I’ll just do that to the best of my ability. I know he’s most proud of the fact that I show up with a good attitude and do my job day in and day out, just like he does.”

Callum Irving (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Callum Irving (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Robert had a promising football career to play pro after SFU varsity, but the North American Soccer League folded in 1984. Nevertheless, his passion for the sport proved hereditary, or so it would seem.

Callum took up playing soccer when he was four and never looked back. In 2022, he led all Canadian Premier League (CPL) goalkeepers with 249 recoveries and 856 passes, while the Vancouverite was playing for the Vancouver Island’s Pacific FC.

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While that game is on home pitch Tuesday, June 20, at Willoughby Stadium in Langley, VFC still has one more away game to play first.

Vancouver FC wraps up its second multi-game road trip of the season with a visit to the Canadian capital to take on the Atletico FC in Ottawa this weekend.

Vancouver FC will be looking to return the favour paid by Atletico when they last met in mid-May and Ottawa walked away with their first win of the season, downing VFC 5-0.

This will be their 10th game of the season, and a jump in the standings is possible for Vancouver FC with a win on Saturday could land them in fifth overall in the CPL rankings.

West Coast-based fans can catch the match on dedicated soccer channel OneSoccer.


Marcus Simmons (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Marcus Simmons (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Vancouver FC defender Marcus Simmons has been called up for international duty by the Guyana men’s national team ahead of the upcoming 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Prelims.

Simmons, 22, is a native of Edmonton, Alta., but is eligible to represent Guyana in international competition because of his Guyanese heritage on his father’s side.

Simmons was previously called into camp with the Golden Jaguars in May 2023. He will look to make his international debut with Guyana later this month.

“This first call up is very special to me and I’m looking forward to being a part of the squad,” Simmons said.

“I am grateful to everyone who has helped me make this opportunity possible, especially my grandmother, because I wouldn’t be representing Guyana without them.”

The 2023 Gold Cup Prelims start today (Friday, June 16) and continues through June 20 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Prelims, which will feature 12 teams from the region, will consist of two elimination rounds to decide the final three countries to qualify for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup. This year’s Gold Cup will kick off on Saturday, June 24, and run through Friday, July 16, 2023, with matches to be played in cities across the United States and in Toronto, Ont.

Guyana will face Grenada in the first round of Prelims on Saturday, June 17. If Guyana is victorious, the Golden Jaguars will compete in a second preliminary match on Tuesday, June 20, for a berth into the Gold Cup, explained VFC head coach Afshin Ghotbi.

“We are very happy for Marcus to have the opportunity to represent his country,” Ghotbi said.

“As more Canadian Premier League players get opportunities to play at the international level, it will help to continue the development of our league and Canadian football in general.”

Simmons has made three appearances, including one start, for Vancouver so far this season and has registered a total of 80 minutes.

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About the Author: Langley Advance Times Staff

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