After an emotionally charged battle, the Pitt Meadows Soccer Club and Golden Ears United Soccer Club have become one.
The GEUSC membership voted to dissolve their club at the annual general meeting Monday night and to distribute the remaining assets of the club to the West Coast Auto Group Football Club.
Pitt Meadows Soccer Club had already gone ahead with changing its name to WCAGFC on April 16, even though its Maple Ridge counterpart, GEUSC, was still undecided.
On April 13, long-time volunteer Kevin Fletcher resigned as president of GEUSC. [Golden Ears soccer club un-united, April 19,
TIMES]. His decision came after an inflammatory email from the organization Friends of Golden Ears was sent out questioning the executive's integrity and the feasibility of merging.
Fletcher posted a response on the club website rejecting the allegations of nontransparency and lack of integrity, and made it clear that to not merge the two clubs together would be a mistake.
He was "ecstatic" about Monday night's outcome.
"It's a great thing to have happened. I'm looking forward to seeing how a single club can have success in these two communities," Fletcher said the day after the merger vote.
"There were no debates, no discussion, everyone voted, and the count was announced. If I remember correctly it was 120 to 37 in favour," Fletcher explained.
"It was a vast majority of people in favour of merging," said Shannon Pederson, who is from the Alouette district and who chaired the meeting.
"It was really reflective of last year's AGM where the membership voted unanimously to merge," she added.
"It's a huge amount of relief. It's been a long road. I'm happy to see it wasn't a close vote," said Kim Reading, who has volunteered in youth soccer for 12 years.
Reading has accepted the role of technical administrator with WCAGFC, which is one of only a few paid positions.
"It is great to finally have both Golden Ears and Pitt Meadows soccer clubs united under the West Coast Auto Group Football Club banner," said WCAGFC president Chris Begg.
"I congratulate the membership and the boards from both clubs who have worked so hard to make this happen," he added.
"This is terrific news for soccer in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows areas. As a result of the merger of these two clubs, the WCAGFC will be able to offer extensive soccer programming for athletes from three years of age to 55 years and older," said WCAGFC new executive director Misty Thomas.
"We are all looking forward to growing the club and growing the programs that we can offer across all age groups and levels of development."
The WCAGFC has about 4,200 players on more than 330 teams providing competitive and recreational soccer programs and academies for players who range in age from three to adult.