Mark Brown Sr. used to play in the Cowichan Buckskin soccer tournament. That’s how long he’s been around.
The tournament marked its 50th anniversary Mother’s Day weekend and Brown Sr. is turning 60 in September. He was a star during his heyday for the then-Kuper Island men’s squad that entered the event on a regular basis.
Brown Sr. is still involved as much as ever, now coaching his twin grandsons Shane and Brent on the Penelakut Island Thunder.
The Thunder made a good run in the long-established Duncan event Saturday and Sunday, but finished with one win and two close losses during the competition.
“It’s a combination of the veterans and youth,” said Brown Sr. of the current team. “We’re kind of in a rebuilding mode.”
Penelakut lost its opening game 3-2 to Saanich before rebounding in consolation play to knock off Nanaimo 4-2.
That pitted Penelakut against Sliammon of Powell River Sunday morning and the game ended in a 4-2 loss.
“We couldn’t get it in the net - that’s all,” said Brown Sr. of the difference.
Despite dominating the territorial play, Penelakut found itself trailing 1-0 until Shane Brown tied it with a nifty left-foot deflection mere seconds before halftime.
The teams went back and forth in the second half, but Sliammon prevailed by capitalizing on its opportunities. Brent Brown scored the other Penelakut goal, but it wasn’t enough.
All in all, it was a great showing by the guys, but the lack of finish proved costly.
“We play soccer pretty much all year round,” Brown Sr. indicated. “The Native tournaments are a couple a month over here and on the Mainland.”
The next one for the Thunder will be at the end of June and into the Canada Day weekend in July at Campbell River.
“We play in the wintertime, too,” added Brown Sr. “We’re in Div. 4.”
Vancouver Island Soccer League battles keep the guys primed for the heavy tournament schedule.
The Thunder also keeps active in the winter in the Cowichan Futsal Indoor Soccer League at the Si’em Lelum gym in Duncan.
Penelakut was also represented in the Buckskin by the Jays in the men’s event and the Salish Strong in the ladies’ portion of the tournament.
There’s lots of youth involved in soccer on Penelakut as well, Brown noted, beginning as young as five years old.