Challenge searches for new president

PCSL club would like to maintain Challenge name while maintaining partnership with UBC Okanagan men's program

The Okanagan Challenge will be entering their 18th season in the PCSL in 2013.

The Okanagan Challenge will be entering their 18th season in the PCSL in 2013.

Just as it has every season since the mid-1990s, the Pacific Coast Soccer League will field a men’s team in Kelowna in 2013.

Exactly what the team will be called and who will form the future executive board is, as of yet, unknown.

After two seasons in the chair, Maria Ridgewell is stepping down as president of the Okanagan Challenge.

Ridgewell said with just two board members committed to returning next year, the club would like to find a new president, as well as a liaison to work with the UBC Okanagan Heat.

Without new people stepping forward, Ridgewell is concerned the Challenge name will cease to exist. The late Eric Tasker founded the Challenge in 1989.

“We’ll have soccer here next year, we just don’t know if we’ll have the Challenge anymore,” said Ridgewell. “We’re trying to reach our alumni and see if there are people interested in helping out.

“The word president scares some people but it shouldn’t,” she added. “Really, you just to have a few meetings and help get the season rolling. Once the guys are playing soccer, it all runs pretty well.”

The Challenge partnered with UBC Okanagan last season, with Heat coach Dante Zanatta running the on-field program and several Heat players on the roster.

Ridgewell said her two seasons as Challenge president and several more on the board have been a rewarding experience.

“It’s a great organization to be involved with, you get to know all these young men who come home from university to play here,” she said. “The level of soccer is exciting, and it gives our young players, those in the U18 and U21 levels somewhere to go. There’s a real sense of community with this team.”

The Challenge has won the PCSL title four times: 1997, 1998, 2009 and 2011.

Ridgewell is asking former players and any other local soccer ethusiasts to lend their support to the Challenge. In a perfect world, she said the club would have a president, vice-president, treasurer and liaison to UBCO in place for next season.

The club will hold its annual AGM Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Dakoda Sports Bar and Grill.

Everyone is welcome.


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