Five members from both the Garrison Petawawa Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams were chosen to go to the second annual All for One Cup presented by BMO on Sept. 4 in Toronto. (Above) The men who were chosen include, from left, Corporal Tristen Armitage, Private Spencer Hoerdt, Corporal Anto Dugalic, Private Gabe Jones, and Corporal Promise Okoronkwo. This Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Soccer Day raised money to benefit work of MLSE Foundation and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. (Submitted photo)
Members of Grn Petawawa soccer teams invited to ‘All For One Cup’
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday October 3, 2019
Five members each from the Garrison Petawawa Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams were invited to Toronto to participate in the second annual All For One Cup presented by BMO.
This Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Appreciation Day of Soccer event was an opportunity for the athletes to play their favourite sport and mingle with Toronto’s top companies and business leaders at the BMO Training Ground. As well as short 15-minute soccer games, the Sept. 4 event featured celebrity appearances, auctions and games for the public, with all the proceeds benefiting the work of MLSE Foundation and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.
1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (1 RCR) Corporal (Cpl) Promise Okoronkwo was one of the players chosen to attend; he and his teammates were given this honour as they were the winners of the 2019 CAF Regional Men’s Soccer Championships.
He has played soccer his entire life, and when he joined the CAF about five years ago, he just kept on playing but at a higher level.
“One of the great things that I love about playing with the military is that there is no rank structure,” said Cpl Okoronkwo. “So often guys that you see in uniform might be officers or senior NCOs, but when you are on the same team together, you are just friends.”
He added his Chain of Command has been very supportive of him playing soccer.
“1 RCR is very supportive of guys who play military sports,” Cpl Okoronkwo said. “The Commander is a really big advocate of physical training and being in shape.”
After winning Regionals, the Petawawa team went to the Nationals where they were unfortunately defeated by Winnipeg in the semi-finals. However it was nonetheless a great opportunity to see the skills of some phenomenal athletes, which Cpl Okoronkwo appreciated.
“It was my first time going to that level and it was a really good experience,” he said.
He trains hard to keep up his fitness, working out regularly to ensure his cardio can take 90 minutes of running across the field, and practices with the team about four times a week in the summer and two times a week in the winter. All while balancing his job and his family life, making sure his three kids get to their own soccer practices.
To see his hard work rewarded by All for One Cup was gratifying. Other members of the men’s team who went to Toronto included Corporal Tristen Armitage, Private Spencer Hoerdt, Corporal Anto Dugalic and Private Gabe Jones, who said that the All for One Cup was an incredible experience and one they will remember always.
“The guys that are represented in our Garrison sports have huge potential,” said Rebecca Olstad, Military Sports Coordinator. “Their background and what they bring to the game, on and off the field is phenomenal.”
She is proud to say that they are all burgeoning leaders that are dedicated to both their careers and to their sport. They train both on and off-season, which is not necessarily always the case for all athletes.
“The passion for their sport comes through and to see that displayed is amazing,” she added. “When we think of the people that we chose to go to take part in the CAF Appreciation (Day), I think they were very well suited to represent the ability of our Canadian Forces members.”