August 30, 2017
Richmond Hill Soccer Club’s Head Goalkeeper Coach, Rasih Pala, recently headed to Los Angeles, California to participate in the 2017 World Police and Fire Games (WPFG). The WPFG take place every two years, with this year’s edition hosting over 65 countries participating in 55 events.
Coach Rasih is the goalkeeper for the Toronto Police soccer team, which has been competing together for over 10 years. They have previously competed in the North American Police Soccer Tournament and were champions of that event in 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015. This year, the group wanted a bigger challenge and decided to enter the WPFG, which was comprised of 25 teams from around the world, including Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, Brazil, and the United States.
They were placed in a preliminary group with Tampa Metro Firefighters, LA Schools Police Department and NYPD (New York Police Department), and managed to defeat all three teams to finish first in the group. The first place finish would earn them a bye straight to the quarter-finals, where they would come up against the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department). After the game was tied 2-2 in regulation, it would head to overtime where the Toronto Police squad found the back of the net with 30 seconds left to secure the victory.
They played the Hong Kong Police Department in the semi-finals, and in repeat of the previous match the game was tied after regulation. After a scoreless overtime, the game would be decided in penalties, where the Toronto Police ended up winning and securing a spot in the final. The finals saw them come up against a very strong Israel National Firefighters team. In what was a tightly contested, back and forth game, the Israel National Firefighters would come away with a 2-1 victory.
To achieve a silver medal at this event was a huge success for the program, as the World Police and Fire Games attracts roughly 10,000 participants, which is just slightly fewer than the Summer Olympics. Congratulations to Coach Rasih and the entire Toronto Police soccer team!