A swarm of young Aldergrove soccer players and their families came out to support a local player who went pro this year in Canada’s first-ever professional soccer league (CPL).
Joel Waterman, 23, was signed onto Calgary’s Cavalry Football Club as a centrally-posted player who can play as diversely as center to midfield and back, said head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
His new team took on the Vancouver Whitecaps at B.C. Place Stadium last Wednesday (July 24), which he sat out due to a recent injury.
On July 1, during a match against Victoria’s Pacific FC, Waterman’s toe was broken after being stepped on by another player.
“I played still but felt it after when I was running,” Waterman described about the injury, which he said affects other areas of his game.
The player estimates he’ll be out of commission for at least four more weeks as doctors determine the extent of his injuries and estimated recovery time.
Though that didn’t stop Waterman from cheering on his teammates, alongside nearly 50 Aldergrove soccer players, family members and friends from back home.
Waterman was up with his entourage in the bleachers after the game and even sent many of the young players home with signed Cavalry FC team swag.
“I loved having them there,” Waterman said, admitting he feels the weight of being a likely a role model for young soccer players in Aldergrove.
Though – “I try to encourage them in other areas of their lives too,” the pro player emphasized.
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Waterman was drafted by the Trinity Western University Spartans early in Grade 11, while he attended Aldergrove Community Secondary School – from which he graduated in 2014.
As a Spartan for five years on the field, Joel was appointed team captain in his final year (2018).
During and after his time with the Spartans, Joel managed to help coach the Aldergrove U14 boys players.
“Joel has made a real connection with the coaches and players and is keen to return to his role in the fall once his playing season in Calgary is over,” [at the end of October] said Aldergrove Youth Soccer Club (AYSC) coach Brian Hunter.
“There was some Aldergrove flavor to the crowd [during the July 24 game] to support Joel and inspire some of our students in the community,” Hunter elaborated.
Gus McDonald, coach of the U14 boys who showed up at the stadium in support of Waterman, said the player was instrumental during his time as an assistant coach for the group last year.
The team were recognized as district and league champions for the 2018-19 soccer season.
Waterman began playing soccer at five, inspired by both of his parents.
“I remember going and watching my mom play soccer in Aldergrove when I was little,” he told the Aldergrove Star.
“Her and my dad absolutely loved the sport.”
His mother Vicki, his first soccer coach with AYSC was also in the stands in support of her son, along with others from Waterman’s immediate family.
Cavalry FC representatives provided the group tickets at no cost.
The local fans cheered on Calgary as the team took down Vancouver with a final score of 2-1.
As two-leg match winners, the Cavalry FC will move onto the Canadian Championship semi-finals, taking place in August against Montreal Impact.