VISL: Sooke Celtic chemistry one for the ages

Blend of youth and experience has VISL atop the standings

Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd

Youthful exuberance mixed with sage experience has created the kind of chemistry that’s proving to be pitch-perfect for Sooke Celtic so far this season.

The calibre of coaching older players have received and an influx of younger players on the Vancouver Island Soccer Association’s Division 3 team is the reason for the team’s early success, says team captain Mike McKay, a member of the Celtic organization for 16 years.

“The older players are all eager to share their expertise with the younger players,” said McKay, who joined the team when he was 18 and is the younger brother of Celtic assistant coach Pete McKay.

“The influx of youth last season and especially this year has rekindled the joy and enthusiasm for the game, especially for me and some of the older players. It creates a ripple effect because they’re pushing for starting spots, making us try a little harder.”

Paul Rudd has been with Sooke Celtic since they first took to the field 20 years ago.

“We have a good cross-section of younger and older players,” he said. “Some of the younger players are really talented, and that definitely helps keep you motivated and excited. You try harder in practice, which helps keep the younger players on their toes and us.”

Ben Constandinou, 19, agreed that everyone on the team pushes each other in a good way.

“There’s lots we can learn from the veteran players,” said Constandinou in his second season with the team. “We’ve been working well together on and off the field, which has been a key to our success this year. The fans at The Log give us lots of energy as well.”

Ketil Eckhardt, who just joined the team this year, said the older players have been very helpful.

“You look up to them to teach you new tricks,” said Eckhardt, the son of coach Sven Eckhardt. “They have an older playing style, so they can also learn from us.”

Sooke Celtic sits atop the Division 3 standings after 13 games with a record of 9-2-2 for 29 points in 12 games after coming up short 2-1 to Castaways FC on Sunday. That leaves them five points up on second-place Mid Isle Mariners.

Sooke Celtic’s next home game, the last before the winter break, is against Mid-Island Mariners at the Log at Fred Milne Field on Friday (Dec. 9) at 8 p.m.

Hi Ted,
Hope you are doing well.
I’d like to set up an in-person interview with you to go over the success of 2022 and take a look ahead at 2023.
I work a reduced schedule noted below, and would need to get this done by Wednesday, Dec.14 at the latest.
Please let me know what works for you.

Local SportssoccerSookeWest Shore


Ketil Eckhardt

Ketil Eckhardt

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