The new president of the West Coast Auto Group Football Club is Dan Mikolay.
He replaces outgoing president Chris Begg.
Mikolay allows that he does not have the “football” pedigree of some of the sport’s more accomplished former players and coaches around the Lower Mainland soccer scene.
“I’m just a dad who loves kids, and that’s how I became interested in it – [asking] what can we do to have a more fun experience,” he said. “I’m really learning to enjoy soccer.”
He said the club continues its work of building competitive teams at every level.
In the past, the rep teams in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows each had several very talented players, but not enough to compete with the best.
After the two clubs merged, with 75 per cent of the membership voting in favor of it, there has been almost immediate success, highlighted by a provincial championship at the U-13 boys level.
“That had never happened before,” he said.
The club has swollen to some 3,500 from U-4 to adult, filling out the rosters of 270 teams.
There was also a record number of teams competing for and winning cups. Only two years old, the young club can field teams that are competitive at every level.
Off the field, there have been highlights like the girls soccer team that raised $3,500 to support the Haitian national women’s side. The girls got a chance to meet the team from Haiti, and also the Canadian women’s national team.
“That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Mikolay. “That’s what community is all about.”
The club raises nine scholarships of $750 each for its under-18 players to support their education.
“We’re not only building players, but building citizens,” he said.
He said one of the goals for the coming year will be to work with other field user groups in the community to lobby for more turf fields.