By Greg Price
A trio of Taber Police Service officers will be joining their blue brethren in the upcoming North American Police Soccer Tournament in early September in Calgary.
The North American Police Soccer Tournament is a non-profit charity event whose teams are comprised of sworn law enforcement officers from police agencies across Canada and the United States.
“The Taber Police Service has submitted a team and we have picked up a dozen other police officers, correction officers or RCMP officers from the area and they are joining us in the tournament,” said Graham Abela, chief of the Taber Police Service, who will be competing in the event along with Taber Police Service Constables Dave Gyepesi and Jason Vowles. “In the past, Jason and Dave have taken part in it twice, once in St. Louis and the other time in Vancouver. We have teams from the New York Police Department, LA sheriffs, Seattle, all over the place.”
Based on the size of the field in registrations, teams are divided into pools with round-robin play. Winners are then moved up into the playoffs in semifinals and finals.
“There are also different levels of play. There is a men’s open division, a senior division, and a super senior division,” said Abela. “We are playing in the men’s open division, so a little nervous about that because obviously we are playing against some really good talent from all over North America. But at the same time, it will be good soccer and good fun.”
The North American Police Soccer Tournament goes Sept. 7-9 in Calgary. Each year, the host city selects a charity of choice, with the 2016 funds for the tournament being donated to the Calgary Police Foundation. In years past, the North American Police Service Tournament has donated to countless charities in communities all across North America, including KidSport, VPSSC Inner City Soccer School, Paul Sanghera Memorial Tournament, Law Enforcement Torch Run, Special Olympics, Tree House for Kids and Childhaven.