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Okotoks soccer fans turn out for Canada's World Cup comeback

Time zones didn’t keep Okotoks soccer fans from watching Canada’s return to the World Cup in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Belgium.
Jacob Allen sports his new Team Canada soccer jersey he won with his dad Jason after watching Canada's first World Cup soccer match in over 36 years at the Real Canadian Brewhouse on Nov. 23. While the Canadians lost to Belgium 1-0, the two were excited to have caught the historic match.

Time zones didn’t keep Okotoks soccer fans from watching Canada’s return to the World Cup. 

As Team Canada took to the pitch at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar on Nov. 23, father and son Jason and Jacob Allen took their seats at the Real Canadian Brewhouse over lunch to watch the 1-0 loss to Belgium over a plate of nachos. 

“This is my first World Cup game I’ve actually sat through, so it’s fun to see Canada playing,” Allen said. “My son’s big into soccer, he plays it, so he’s teaching me the rules as much as anything else."

While his son plays for the Okotoks United club, Allen had only dabbled in watching professional soccer before the Canadians qualified for the World Cup. 

“We watched all the qualifying games leading up to it, so we’re definitely more invested in it for sure,” he said. 

Sporting the Team Canada jersey he won in the restaurant’s raffle post-game, his son Jacob was certainly pleased to have caught the historic match, Canada's first in World Cup play since 1986. 

“I liked it, it was interesting watching Canada,” Jacob said. 

Brewhouse manager Sunny Johal was happy to see the young fan get his dad into the sport. 

“He came in specifically to watch the soccer game,” Johal said. 

While the noon-hour game didn’t gather huge crowds, he said that’s not uncommon for the first game in any big tournament. 

"I think we’ll see a few more because I think there’s actually a possibility they might win these next games, and if they score it will be off the chain,” Johal said. “That’s what I’m gauging here is how many actual soccer fans we have here.” 

With Okotoks’ large population of British expats, he also expects England games to be popular. 

Canada's next games are on Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. MST against Croatia and Dec. 1 at 8 a.m. against Morocco. 

The Province is allowing venues to apply for early liquor service for showings of the matches, often taking place in the early morning in Canada. From Nov. 21-28 early liquor service may start at 5:30 a.m. and from Nov. 29-Dec. 10 at 7:30 a.m.


Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
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