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BC soccer history Chinese-Canadian style


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Great read about, when in 1933, the underdog Chinese Students Soccer Team defeated the University of B.C Varsity Team to win the B.C. Mainland Cup, in the championship game of the provincial first-division soccer league:

In 1933, during the heart of the Depression, Vancouver’s beleaguered Chinese community had little to celebrate.

Chinese immigration was banned. Chinese-Canadians couldn’t vote or join the professions. The white majority viewed them as an economic threat — and considered Chinatown to be an immoral, crime-infested ghetto.

But for two days in late May that year, Chinatown erupted in jubilation.

On May 29, the underdog Chinese Students Soccer Team defeated the University of B.C Varsity Team to win the B.C. Mainland Cup, in the championship game of the provincial first-division soccer league.

A victory party broke out on Pender Street with bands playing and firecrackers exploding. The victorious players held the one-metre-tall trophy aloft while riding in an open car. Two fire trucks raced to the scene when a fire alarm accidentally went off.

The following day was declared a holiday in Chinatown as the community closed shops and businesses and celebrated the soccer win with free tea and dim sum.

The landmark sporting event for Vancouver’s Chinese-Canadian community is being remembered today with the induction of the 1933 Chinese Students Soccer Team into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

“In the ’20s and ’30s Chinatown was a pretty depressed place given the kind of racism directed at Chinese-Canadians in everyday life and at work,” said historian Paul Yee, author of Saltwater City, a history of Vancouver’s Chinese community.

“So to have a soccer team be able to win on the playing field was a great distraction, a way of triumphing over foes who were oppressing them.”

The Chinese Students team was the only Chinese-Canadian soccer team in the country at the time.

The team began in 1920 with the formation of the Chinese Students Athletics Club. After beating its high school rivals, the squad planned to enter the city’s junior league but the team’s sponsor mistakenly applied to the senior league.

Its star player was the high-scoring forward Quene Yip, a 1998 B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inductee and the 16th son of Chinatown patriarch Yip Sang. The team also relied on the deft passing of Yip’s brother, Art Yip, and the stellar goalkeeping of Shupon (Spoon) Wong.

“The team brought a lot of pride to Chinatown,” said Larry Wong, of the Chinese-Canadian Historical Society.

“Our players were lighter and smaller than other players and because of that were very quick on their feet — and that’s how they managed to win the championship game.”

After beating North Shore United 1-0 in the semifinal of the senior division in 1933, they advanced to the B.C. Mainland Cup game, at a soggy Con Jones Park in east Vancouver.

The teams were tied 3-3 going into the final minutes but then Jack Soon scored the winning goal, bringing the team’s ecstatic supporters onto the boggy field.

“They were treated as conquering heroes in Chinatown,” said Wong. “Everyone took the next day off work.”

Robert Yip, son of Quene Yip, said the team’s induction into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame will help maintain the memory of the legendary victory for younger generations of Chinese-Canadians.

“The game was part of Chinatown lore, sort of a legend that resonated through the ’30s and ’40s and ’50s,” said Robert Yip.

“But as the players got older, memories started to fade, and into this new century, it had become almost a forgotten story.”

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Chinese+Students+Soccer+Team+1933+Mainland+recognized/5391541/story.html#ixzz1Xnv9VWbf

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