Saturday’s soggy conditions not enough to wash out 2023 Gary Parks Soccer Festival

DETERMINED Timbit Red’s Emmet Goat leads the attack as Paul VanHaarlem and Iris Burt support the U6 ball dribbler at the 2023 PECSA year-end soccer festival. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)


It took patience, determination and sometimes a set of water-wings but the Prince Edward County Soccer Association’s year-end festivities were completed by the end of the weekend.

The 2023 Gary Parks Annual Soccer Festival was interrupted several times Saturday as deluges of heavy rain and electrical storms played havoc with the schedule. However, thanks to the hard work of PECSA volunteers and the flexibility of coaches, officials and parents, the culminating event of the local soccer season heard its final whistle Sunday afternoon.

Michael Silverthorne and Sarah Allen were presented the Scott Wentworth Coaching Excellence Award in 2023. (Submitted Photo)

PECSA President David Walcott said the 2023 regular season was a challenging one. With air quality cancellations due to wild fires in June and then stormy July and August skies, it was natural the local loop would have difficulties on tournament weekend.

“The PECSA executive committee worked extremely hard to ensure the Festival was a success,” Mr Walcott told the Gazette. “Late in the week we were forced to adapt to field closures as a result of all the rain. During the Festival, the Executive kept a constant eye on the weather, cancelling and rescheduling games due to thunder or lighting.”

Despite struggles to complete the schedule, the 2023 soccer season was an overall success for PECSA. Registration has been on the uptick in recent years and this season saw 895 youth and adults registered. 2023 also marked the first year in Association history where PECSA had separate boys’ and girls’ house leagues for its U10 and U12 age groups.

As always, the success of the season is a really a story about how the community gathers and supports the sport and the players. Mr. Walcott said that on any given night, the activity at the Johnson St. pitches highlights this indisputable fact.

“Parents, siblings and grandparents line the fields, enjoying the opportunity to visit with family and friends. You look out on the fields and see the colourful jerseys, highlighting all the local businesses that so willingly sponsor our program year after year,” he said. “Of course, none of this would be possible without the volunteers that step forward each year to coach, referee or join the Executive Committee.”

In terms of year end awards, The Scott Wentworth Coaching Award of Excellence was presented to Micheal Sliverthorne and Sarah Allen while  Molly Carroll and Harvey Lough won the 2023 Ron Stakes Excellence in Refereeing award.

Molly Carroll and Harvey Lough won the Ron Stakes Excellence in Refereeing award this season. (Submitted Photo)

PECSA 2023 winning teams included U18 Sutton Group and U14 CKS Landscaping & Property Maintenance.