SIMCOE COUNTY ROVERS
This past weekend the Simcoe County Rovers celebrated Latin Night in style as both the women’s and men’s teams collected three points in exciting wins at J.C. Massie Field.
The weather was glorious, and the stadium was full of Rovers supporters who brought flags from Latin countries and wore national team shirts to celebrate Latin culture and cheer for the hometown Rovers. Fans enjoyed halftime performances in both games by Salsa Beats Barrie, who got fans grooving in their seats, and delicious tacos served up by Mexican House.
With Canadian national team member and Toronto FC mainstay Jonathan Osorio looking on, the women kicked off the festivities versus Darby FC. After controlling the play from the start the Rovers found themselves behind after 20 minutes when Darby FC scored the first goal of the match on a well-executed counter.
The Rovers maintained their composure, continued to press the attack and were rewarded with a penalty kick in the 30th minute. Brianne “Buckets” Desa calmly slotted the ball home to tie the game 1-1. She struck again one minute later with a goal that should get consideration for goal of the year, an absolute screamer from 20-plus yards out that found the top corner. The Rovers went into halftime with a 2-1 lead and never looked back.
In the second half, striker Courtney Chokol came off the bench and scored a hat trick in 29 minutes of work finding the back of the net in the 74th, 87th and 90th minute. Winger Soumaya Bouak, who played the full 90 minutes, scored one in the 77th minute, helping the team to a comfortable and confidence-building 6-1 win.
“I was incredibly impressed with the standard of football being played and the professional atmosphere the Simcoe County Rovers have created,” said Osorio. “It’s great to see the club reaching out to the community and creating events like Latin Night.”
Osorio, who is of Colombian background, was gracious with his time signing autographs and taking pictures with Rovers fans of all ages in addition to speaking with the women’s team post-game.
Coach Dave Kelly was upbeat after the game, noting the high level of play and consistency of the players game in and game out.
“Today we got the result the performance deserved. We had to come from a goal down and it was fantastic to see the reaction.”
He was also thrilled with the environment and the support the team received during the match from the Rovers fans.
“The players were delighted with the level of support from the Latin community and Aurora Youth Soccer Club. Their energy and passion were noticeable all game long and we’re delighted to be able to entertain them.”
The men took on Hamilton United in the evening match, looking for back-to-back wins after a great showing on the road and a 5-0 win in Brampton against ProStars FC.
The Rovers came out strong in the first half, dominating possession and chances on goal, but were unlucky to concede the first goal in the 22nd minute and found themselves down 1-0 at half. Coach Jason Beckford made astute tactical adjustments in the second half, which benefited the team as they worked hard to equalize and were rewarded with a goal from left back Cameron DaSilva in the 61st minute. With the hometown fans cheering them on, the Rovers pressed the attack looking for the winner. The game looked set to finish in a draw, but in dramatic fashion in the 90th minute, striker Jevontae Layne slotted one home to give the Rovers the lead and the win, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Coach Jason Beckford thanked the fans for their inspiration in his post-match comments.
“The fans were outstanding tonight,” said Beckford. “Their vocal presence and positive influence got us in over the line tonight. They were fantastic.”
As we move into June the Simcoe County Rovers get set to celebrate Spiritfest on June 3, when the women face Tecumseh FC at 4 p.m. and the men face Electric City FC at 8 p.m. The men’s game takes on added importance as it’s the first match in the Trent Severn Cup, a unique second-year event that features a combined effort from both the men’s and women’s squads with the trophy being handed to the club with the best head-to-head combined scores. Should the score remain level after the men’s and women’s matches have concluded, the ultimate winner of the cup will be decided through penalties following the last match. The women play the conclusive match on July 19 at J.C. Massie Field.
To help celebrate Spiritfest and experience the Trent Severn Cup, all tournament participants get in free with regular tickets starting at $5. There will be a Simcoe County Rovers players meet-and-greet photo opportunity post-match. Come support the Simcoe County Rovers at J.C. Massie Field.
For more information on the Simcoe County Rovers FC, including schedule details, ticket purchase options and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.roversfc.ca.
Single and group tickets to the match can be purchased by visiting www.roversfc.ca.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of Rovers FC TV on Rogers TV Barrie featuring Cameron DaSilva and Jevontae Layne this Friday, June 2 at 7 p.m.