Aldergrove School Community Buzzing with World Cup Fever

November 21, 2022

Aldergrove Community Secondary School principal Mike Palichuk (left) and former ACSS soccer coach Brian Hunter stand with former student Joel Waterman’s Montreal soccer jersey, which hangs in the school’s Athletics Wall of Fame.

When the Canadian national men’s soccer team hits the pitch at the World Cup this week in Qatar, there will be much to celebrate for local sports fans, and especially for those in the Langley School District.  

That’s because Aldergrove Community Secondary alum Joel Waterman will be among those players on the field, wearing the red Maple Leaf. 

The 26-year-old defender, who also attended Parkside Centennial Elementary and is now a member of CF Montreal in Major League Soccer, was recently named to Canada’s World Cup roster.  

“It’s any kid’s dream,” Waterman told the Langley Advance-Times last March, after being picked for the team. 

Watching him with Team Canada will be a proud moment for his former teachers and coaches in Aldergrove, too. 

Brian Hunter, a long-time teacher and coach at ACSS who retired last June, coached Waterman alongside fellow teacher Stuart Crowley, and recalled Waterman being such a strong player that it made his job as coach easier.  

“Technically, I was his coach, but Joel played at such a high level, it was more like having a coach on the field,” he said.   

Hunter said that Waterman has always been eager to help youth in his hometown. He serves as an ambassador for KidSport BC, an organization that helps pay sports registration fees for young athletes who could not otherwise afford to play. Waterman is also always eager to share his story with young athletes, Hunter said.  

This year marks the first time since 1986 that Canada’s men’s team has played in the World Cup, though Hunter noted that Waterman is not the first ACSS alum to play in the tournament. Another Aldergrove player, Randy Ragan, was a midfielder on that ’86 team. His jersey, along with Waterman’s Montreal jersey, hang on the school’s Wall of Fame.  

The Wall of Fame is likely to get an update soon, Hunter noted, with a Team Canada jersey added to Waterman’s spot on the wall. 

Canada’s first World Cup game is Wednesday against Belgium. They also play Sunday, Nov. 27 against Croatia, and Dec. 1 against Morocco. 

It is exciting to see one of our own members of the community play at the highest level of competitive soccer and to represent Canada. We have a strong history of athletic excellence in Aldergrove, and Joel Waterman is an example of that,” said Mike Palichuk, principal at ACSS.  

“The Aldergrove school community is proud and honoured to be a part of helping nurture and develop a world class person and athlete. We know our students, staff, and families will be cheering him on in the World Cup.” 

Parkside Centennial Elementary principal Diana Wilk said Waterman is someone her young students can look up to. 

“In our school vision, we believe that all of our children belong and are capable of learning at high levels while creating a positive legacy for the future. Joel Waterman is an amazing role model for our students,” she said.  

“Knowing that he went to school here and watching him play on the world stage of soccer gives our students hope and inspiration to work hard and believe that they too, can reach their goals.”