As part of FC Edmonton’s plan to acknowledge of the pioneers of soccer in the city of Edmonton through the Pioneer Project, the club dedicates its North American Soccer League (NASL) home opener against Jacksonville Armada FC on April 8 to the late Edmonton minor soccer pioneer Karl Weidle.
Weidle, a former president of the Victoria Soccer Club and a crucial part to the growth of the beautiful game in Alberta’s capital, was involved in Edmonton’s soccer community after first becoming involved with Victoria in 1953. After both playing and coaching, Weidle became president of the club in 1963 and over a period of 60 years enriched the Edmonton soccer community. Sadly, Weidle passed away this past year on December 11, 2016.
Weidle’s success can be measured by the development of Victoria S.C over the past 40 years. After purchasing a piece of farm land in 1965, Weidle and a group of volunteers worked on building their own soccer facility. Today, Victoria has expanded to include three outdoor fields and most recently in 2016 its second indoor soccer field. Victoria is now recognized by many as one of the clubs with the finest facilities in the entire province of Alberta.
Soccer players at all levels benefited from the use of the facility including the Canadian Men and Women’s National Teams, Edmonton’s semi-professional sides such as the Brickmen, Eagles and Drillers, Alberta Major Soccer League teams and community and school-based academies such as the FC Edmonton REX Program.
FC Edmonton assistant coach Jeff Paulus has strong ties to the north side club as he was the Technical Director of Victoria Soccer Club prior to joining the Eddies. Paulus was able to work with Weidle on a day-to-day basis.
“Getting to work with him every day, I knew how passionate he was about the game,” Paulus said. “He loved the sport, he wanted to give back and he did that. He’s helped build one of the nicest facilities in Western Canada outside of a professional facility that the Vancouver Whitecaps have. He’s given all his time to that club, he was there more than anybody. What he has done for the soccer community is massive.”
Karl received the German Association of Alberta Volunteer Achievement Award in 1988 and the Edmonton and District Soccer Club’s Certificate of Recognition three years later. The Alberta Soccer Association (ASA) honoured Karl numerous times and selected him for their Wall of Fame in 1996, later receiving their Award of Merit, the 2001 President Award, the 2005 Special Tribute Award, and 2009 Centennial Award as one of the Top Contributors during the first century of the ASA. This past June, Karl was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. The Victoria Soccer Club named its indoor soccer facility he Karl Weidle Soccer Centre in his honour.