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Prince George soccer builders retiring to Chilliwack

Glen Thompson spearheaded the project to build the North Cariboo Senior Soccer League clubhouse and fields on 18th Avenue.
Virginia Ashley and her partner Glen Thompson pose beside the sign at North Cariboo Field soccer complex that bears Thompson's name. The Prince George couple is moving to Chilliwack.

Two major players in Prince George soccer are leaving Prince George.

Glen Thompson, who has Glen Thompson Field named after him for his 40-plus years of involvement in local soccer, and his wife Virginia Ashley, the outgoing president of the Prince George Soccer Association, said goodbye to many of their soccer colleagues Monday night at the association's annual general meeting.

Thompson and Ashley are moving to Chilliwack. She plans to continue to work there as a notary public, close to her elderly mother and siblings, and he will have more time to fish.

“You notice it doesn’t say ’memorial’ yet,” laughed Thompson about the field named in his honour. “It was surprising. They just sprung it on me. You feel that all your efforts are appreciated. I’ve never felt they weren’t appreciated, and that’s why I kept coming back.”

Thompson spearheaded the project to build the North Cariboo Senior Soccer League clubhouse and fields on 18th Avenue. The five-field home of Prince George Soccer Association opened on May 29, 1998. Lighting at Glen Thompson Field was installed in 2004. The lights and clubhouse also made it a suitable home of UNBC soccer for 11 seasons, starting in 2007 when the Timberwolves began playing in the BC Colleges Athletic Association and that continued in U SPORTS until the two teams moved to a turf field at Masich Place Stadium in 2018.

Thompson was six when he moved to P.G. from Victoria with his family. Coached by his dad Alan and Sven Christensen, Thompson got into soccer when he as 12, as a fullback/midfielder with the Acme Electric youth team. By the time he was 17 he was playing in the men’s First Division for Labatt’s United of the North Cariboo Soccer Association.

Thompson’s 42-year involvement as a league organizer started in 1980 when he took on the role as team rep and referee, and that led to decision-making roles in the North Cariboo league as president, director, registrar, referees assessor, facility director, referee development coordinator and player/coach/manager.

He was instrumental in forming the league’s over-45 division, which kept him on the field frequently as a player, referee and groundskeeper. Thompson worked 32 years as a painter for School District 57 until he retired in 2020 and often put his maintenance skills to work at the soccer complex.

“Usually he was the first to open the fields in the spring and the last off them in the fall,” said Terry Carter, 80, the oldest PGSA member still playing soccer. “He lined the fields, set up the goals, painted and escorted and made sure the facility we have today was kept in tip-top shape for our players.”

Thompson served on the board that brought the Recreation Division under the North Cariboo umbrella in 1989, which more than doubled player registration, and also served on the executive in 2018 when North Cariboo amalgamated with the Prince George Women’s Soccer Association to become the Prince George Soccer Association.

Thompson plans to join the rec soccer league in Chilliwack and said he will come back to Prince George to get back to his buddies, playing drop-in weeknight games in the over-50 division.

“I’m looking forward to coming up here in the summer, playing a game and coming up the stairs to have a beer and watch another game and not have to worry about answering questions about the executive,” said Thompson. “I’ve enjoyed it and I look forward to the other side of it now.”

Christian Meuenschwander , Ashley’s replacement as PGSA president, was elected for a two-year term at the AGM on Monday. Shona Talbot and Kirsti Ames were added to the lifetime members list on Monday, joining Thompson, Carter and Bill Jones.

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