The Saseenos School championship basketball team from 1968.

SOOKE HISTORY: Sooke soccer smiles

The young fellows had just finished the soccer season and you can see how proud they were.

When Larry Underwood brought in this photo, copied from one published in the Sooke Mirror in 1968, he was beaming all over, with memories of school days at Saseenos School.

The young fellows had just finished the soccer season and you can see how proud they were.

Playing against Colwood, neither team had been able to score even a single goal against the other, so the two schools shared the 1968 School District No. 62 Soccer Cup.

We didn’t have professional soccer fields, but the school sports fields did their best, and there was, as always, lots of heart. Coach of this team of Grade 6 and 7 boys was Del Clark, a teacher at Saseenos.

Del’s teaching career had begun in a two–room school in the Cariboo, prior to Saseenos. He went on to serve at a series of schools in School District 62 as vice-principal and principal.

Besides the many years that Del contributed as a sports coach, he had the distinction of being principal when the spanking new whale tail design Edward Milne Community School was built and opened in 1996, along with the Sooke Community Theatre.

Immediately in front of Del are Rick Underwood, Trevor Price, Ken Michaylenko, Christopher Chlopan, Mike Herrling, John Glover and Bob Bullen.  Middle row: Steven Herrling, Wayne Donnelly, team captain Larry Underwood, Greg Purcell and Larry Graham.  The three in front are:  Ken Maycock, Stephen Cameron and Ken MacDowell.

Most of these fine young boys went on to develop varied careers on Vancouver Island. For instance, the team’s captain, Larry Underwood developed proficiency at saw filing, and worked throughout Vancouver Island mills as a saw filer for 35 years.

Careers of the other young fellows in the photo have included automotive and auto body repair, millworker, contracting, building trades, fishing, shipwright, fallers, a restaurant cook, and more.

Most of these perky young fellows built homes here. Several are grandfathers today; some we meet in our daily lives about town. Sadly, one is missing.  As far as we know, the only one gone is Greg (Purcell) Cooper, who was lost to a boating mishap.

Part of the reason for the population increase Sooke has experienced is that many young fellows who grew up here, married, raised families, and contributed, building the community.

Coach Del Clark, who had grown up in Victoria, now lives in retirement at Sunriver.

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Elida Peers is the historian for Sooke Region Museum.