By RON FANFAIR
It took Kingston College 19 years to regain the title of top Jamaican alumni soccer champions in Canada last year.
A year later, they retained the crown, shutting out 10-time champions Rusea’s 1-0 in the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA) annual SoccerFest at G. Ross Lord Park last Sunday.
Richard West’s hard right foot shot from about 10 metres out on the right side, which hit the underside of the cross bar on its way to the net, presented KC with just its fourth title since the tournament began 23 years ago.
KC shared the crown with Wolmers in 1987 and with Clarendon College three years later.
Coach Paul Chong said KC set its sights on repeating shortly after lifting the title last year.
“This was always our goal and anything short of that would have been a bit disappointing,” he said. “As usual, our players showed up late today, but once they got on the field, it was business. We were missing a few guys from last year, but we have a core group and they led the way.”
Chong said KC’s next objective is to three-peat.
“We went almost 20 years without winning a championship,” he added. “It feels good to be on top again and that’s where we want to be next year.”
KC’s Barry Huie, who along with fellow alumnus Gerry Lindo and St. George’s Old Boys Neil Dalhousie, Michael Lym and Patrick “Skedron” Smith started SoccerFest, which has become a featured summer attraction in the Greater Toronto Area’s Jamaican community, was on hand to celebrate the success.”
“I was not here last year, so I missed out,” said Huie. “I am however glad to be here to be part of this and also to witness how this competition has evolved over the years.”
KC retained the AJAA Trophy, which replaced the Winthorpe “Jackie” Bell and Dennis Ziadie Memorial Trophy last year. Bell and Ziadie, two former Jamaican national players and coaches, were killed in an automobile accident while attending the 1986 World Cup soccer tournament in Mexico City.
The organizers of SoccerFest, which emerged out of the intense rivalry between neighbours KC and St. George’s, learned of the fatalities on their way to buy the trophy and unanimously took the decision to name it after the deceased.
St. George’s has not participated in the tournament since it severed ties with the AJAA 13 years ago because of philosophical differences.