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Marathon Man Martin Parnell: Cavalry FC and the beautiful game

If you’re looking for some “footy” action, I'd highly recommend heading over to Spruce Meadows to catch Cavalry FC.
The rainbow bandana handed out to fans at the June 24 Cavalry FC game, which doubled as the club's 'Pride Match.'

Sue and I love our football (soccer).

As a boy, I would go to Plymouth Argyle, in Devon, England with my Dad. From the age of 15 onward, Sue would go and support her favourite team Bournemouth, in Dorset, on the South Coast. She would sometimes take her little brother along with her.

The highlight for me in my lifelong football fandom was in 1973, when Dad took me to the Plymouth versus Santos game, and I got to see the incredible Pele play live in the flesh. There were 36,000 spectators in the stands and it is a night I will never forget.

A highlight for Sue was when Bournemouth were promoted to the English Premier League in 2015. This team had gone from the bottom of League 2 (the fourth division in England) and near bankruptcy in 2009, to playing, six years later, in the top football league in the world.

Like any supporter of a sports team, you will always stick with the club you were brought up with. However we don’t always live where your teams are. Being in Cochrane, Sue and I wanted to get our football fix and have found just the team to support…….Cavalry FC.

On May 5, 2018, Calgary was one of four cities accepted by the Canadian Soccer Association for professional club membership. Cavalry FC was announced on May 17, 2018, as the second team to officially join the Canadian Premier League (CPL). The club's name, crest and colours were all revealed at the event at Spruce Meadows, while Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was announced as head coach and general manager. Plans included renovating the existing facilities at the Spruce Meadows equestrian complex to include a soccer-specific stadium, with a capacity of at least 5,000 seats.

On June 26, 2019, Cavalry FC qualified for the CPL's 2019 championship finals by winning the inaugural CPL Spring Season. The following month, the “Cavs” became the first CPL club to defeat a Major League Soccer team in the Canadian Championship when they upset Vancouver Whitecaps FC over two legs.

The last game Sue and I went to was at 3 pm on Saturday June 24, when we watched Cavalry take on York United. Spruce Meadows is a great venue for these games and on that day it was the annual Pride Match. The first 4,000 attendees received a bandana and there were lots of games for the kids. In an exciting game, Cavalry beat York United 2-1, thanks to a late free kick goal in the last 10 minutes.

So, if you’re looking for some “footy” action, I'd highly recommend heading over to Spruce Meadows to catch Cavalry FC.

'Mon the Cavs!

© 2023 Martin Parnell

[email protected]

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