On Sunday, August 21, at the Calgary Soccer Centre, a final chapter closed on one of the most decorated and well respected Boys teams in the Province.
The SWU Spartans (formerly the NSD ‘Wolves’ and ‘Celtic 98’) enjoyed a long reign as kings of the 1998 Boys birth year. The journey ended at this year’s Tier 1 Provincial Championships on a heartbreaking 94th minute penalty shot awarded to their rivals, Foothills FC. The Provincial silver medal marked a final accolade in a string of successes that defined them as one of the most consistent teams in Calgary’s recent soccer history.
Lachlan Little and goalkeeper Kyran Valley were there from the very beginning, in U12 Tier 3. They were soon joined by crucial additions such as Jeremy Dalla Costa, Parminder “Pavi” Rai and the team’s vocal leader Romil Solanki. To go along with an expanding roster of talent, coach Troye Flannery was added to the mix and before long the group found themselves with their first Tier 1 Provincial silver medal during their U12 indoor season. The training and commitment was ramped up in those early years, and the team’s earliest experiences included two trips to the UK. From that point on they became perennial Provincial level contenders. They captured gold in U12 outdoor Provincials, made Provincials as juniors in U14 and took another Provincials silver in their senior U14 season.
The team continued to grow, having added talent from the North East quadrant of the city, in players such as Orest Ndabaneze, Patson Choebefu and Muhidin “Musa” Abdalla. It was in U16 that the team found their way to South West United, where, in their second season with the club, Ramon Mifflin took over as Coach and lead the boys to their first National Championships. The Spartans showed well, placing 4th in the country at what was to be the height of their success, setting the stage for the many personal achievements that were on the horizon. Most notably, Andres Charles-Barrera who left home early and is now apart of the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency program, in 2015 Oluwabori “Bori” Falaye traveled to Germany for a month of trials, including one at famous German club Borussia Dortmund. Dondre Bailey spent time with the U17 Jamaican National program and several other players are set to begin their University careers right here in Calgary. Calen Jackson, Leonardo Culina and Jarred Ferreira will join Falaye at the U of C this fall, while Rai, Valley and Dalla Costa are headed to Mt. Royal.
This year’s silver medal winning squad was rounded out by 1999 born starter Alex Pomfrett, other junior players in Kylan Johnson and Matthew Del Degan, as well as veteran Tier 1 player Mateo Vrhovac and back-up Keeper Daniel Nickerson. This class of players was a special group and South West United wishes each of our graduating Spartans all the best in the years in front of them. As coach Flannery summarized, the SWU Spartans were “Technical, athletic… endeared by most and perhaps one of the most dynamic teams I’ve known. Fiercely loyal to the badge and people who have worked with them – truly a team exemplifying character, commitment and excellence.” These are true words and something for all of the boys to be proud of. Congratulations to the SWU Spartans on their fantastic minor soccer league careers!