By Ryan Eakin
BARRIE - The Simcoe County Rovers host yet another doubleheader on Saturday, first beginning with the women at 4 pm against Vaughan Azzurri (8-1-1) and then the men at 7 pm against 4-4-2 Sigma FC.
For the women, it will be their first game since a player was the victim of racial abuse at the hands of an opposing fan during Wednesday’s road match against Electric City FC.
On a night that was meant to celebrate the two new expansion teams and its instant rivalry (it was the first leg of the Trent Severn Cup), the game ended in the 82nd minute after the Rovers united as a group and decided to leave the pitch due to the racial verbal abuse.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with the league still determining if the game will be continued at a later date or not.
On Thursday, the club came out with a statement, reading as followed.
“On Wednesday night a Simcoe County Rovers FC Women’s player was racially abused by the opposing team’s specators during an away league match. As a result, our women’s team and staff collectively decided to abandon the match.
“We are disgusted, extremely disappointed, and have zero tolerance for such behaviour.
“We stand with our players & staff and we are united against all forms of discriminatory actions. We have escalted the matter and are hopeful that all those involved will be held accountable for their actions in a timely fashion.”
The women and its staff will be wearing special apparel to show our support for our teammate and will take part in an on-field show of solidarity right at the first whistle.
The Rovers come into the match third place in the League1 standings, one point behind Vaughan Azzurri for second in what is surely their biggest game of the season thus far.
As for the men, they are coming off a 2-0 win over Burlington SC on Wednesday.
After a scoreless first half, Ethan Beckford continued his torrid pace, finding the back of the net in the 77th minute to give the road side a 1-0 lead.
Beckford and the Rovers doubled down in the 90th (+2) minute to put the game out of reach.
The men now sit 6-2-2 and are tied for second place.
We are expecting standing room only for both matches on Saturday, so we strongly recommend buying tickets as soon as possible!