A half dozen Langley United players have been rewarded for their stellar seasons, so far, in the Fraser Valley Soccer League.
The six members of the local premier menâ€™s squad will be part of the FVSL all-star team that will take on the Vancouver Island Soccer League all-stars this Saturday, Jan. 11, in Victoria.
Goalkeeper Colton Keam, defenders Brayden Volkenant and Brent Wantke, midfielders Tyson Keam and Liam McAllister, and striker Colin Jones (who led the FVSL Premier Division in scoring last season with 19 goals) will work under all-star co-coach Rob Keam of Langley United as they prepare to take on the Vancouver Island all-stars.
â€œThey are a great group of guys,â€ Rob Keam said, of his players. â€œThey are enjoyable to be around and it makes coaching pretty simple, thatâ€™s for sure. Theyâ€™ve all played at high levels, including university, so my job involves transitioning them to continue to play at a high level and make it enjoyable for them. Itâ€™s super easy, that way.â€
Langley United is the defending FVSL Premier Division champion and with a 9-1-2 record sits second in the division standings, a point back of the PMO Lordco Gunners.
In November, LUSA won the prestigious Pacific Cup challenge competition between the Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley premier teams by doubling the Saanich Fusion 4-2 in Victoria.
â€œI think weâ€™re really well rounded from front to back,â€ McAllister said, while his teammates warmed up nearby Saturday afternoon prior to their 1-0 victory over visiting Coastal Peace Arch FC at Willoughby Community Parkâ€™s south turf field.
Volkenant, a Trinity Western University alumnus, said Unitedâ€™s goal is to win its division.
â€œWe want to win the Pakenham Cup and weâ€™re also in the Soccer City Cup, thatâ€™s in the mix, too, so there are a few cups on the line, and I think we want to win them all,â€ he said.
Tyson Keam said the quality of soccer in the FVSL is getting better.
Colton Keam, who has been a goalkeeper since he was 12, added that the level of competition has grown over the last couple of years.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t as high as when I played at the University of the Fraser Valley, but itâ€™s still very high,â€ Keam said.
The FVSL all-star team consists of goalkeepers Gyrish Kaniah (Coastal FC Peace Arch) and Colton Keam (Langley United); defenders Keegan Munn (Coastal FC Peace Arch), Giordan Payne (Westcoast FC Selects), Sahib Phagura (Abbotsford Magnuson Ford United), Dave Robson (PMO Lordco Gunners), Ravi Singh (Abbotsford Magnuson Ford United), Brayden Volkenant (Langley United), and Brent Wantke (Langley United); midfielders Vaughan Andrews (PMO Lordco Gunners), Chris Attadia (PMO Lordco Gunners), Rob Fadden (Abbotsford Magnuson Ford United), Dan Hill (Westcoast FC Selects), Tyson Keam (Langley United), Dave Sambol (Westcoast FC Selects), Colton Oâ€™Neill (Abbotsford Magnuson Ford United), and Connor Oâ€™Neill (Abbotsford Magnuson Ford United); and strikers Jarvis Ambaka (Aldergrove United Red Devils), Colin Jones (Langley United), Isaac Mendoza (PMO Lordco Gunners) Ossman Palani (SFC Guildford United), and Justin Sekhon (Abbotsford Magnuson Ford United).
The coaching staff consists of Rob Keam (Langley United) and Mike Leclerc (Abbotsford Magnuson Ford United).
The team is managed by Dave Hleucka and Thomas Mills.
FINAL WHISTLE: In Unitedâ€™s hard-fought victory over Coastal Peace Arch FC on Saturday, Langleyâ€™s Andre Scott scored the winner in the 90th minute of play.
Rob Keam credited Coastal Peace Arch for playing a smart, defensive game.
â€œThey were really well organized, and played a low pressure system,â€ he said. â€œThey sat back and defended the whole game and it took us a long time to break them down. We hit three crossbars and had two balls cleared off the goal-line, but they played very well.â€