Rob Gale embracing Star Wars theme in Valour FC’s May 4th home opener
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Valour FC will play their inaugural CPL home match Saturday, May 4 against FC Edmonton.

Valour FC head coach Rob Gale is eagerly anticipating his team’s first home game, as FC Edmonton pays a visit to Investors Group Field on May 4, a date which is also significant for another reason: It’s a day commemorating the film franchise Star Wars.

“May the Fourth” acts as a play on words for “May the Force be with you,” the franchise’s iconic catchphrase, and as such, Gale tells he expects “Yoda will be in attendance” on the day, affectionately referring to his “great mate” Jeff Paulus, head coach of FC Edmonton.

“And may the fourth be with him!” Gale said, with a laugh, as he teased his opposite. “I’ve known Jeff the longest of all the coaches and we have a very similar philosophy in developing young Canadian players. I’m excited that we’ll be able to welcome Jeff and the FC Edmonton club, as well as Sean Fleming, another good friend of mine from our time at the national team.”

Gale’s Star Wars references don’t stop there: He teased that, beyond the suit and tie, he’ll be doing up his hair in “Princess Leia buns” and expects to see a packed house at Investors Group Field, “whether they’re dressed as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or as Valour fanatics.”

And, while the film franchise makes heroes of characters from across the galaxy, Gale knows his hometown players will embrace the occasion with their friends and family in the stands, not too far, far away.

“The chance to play in their home cities means we certainly won’t have any problems motivating the players,” Gale affirmed when asked how he expects his players to receive the crowds at Investors Group Field. “I’m sure, like the other coaches, we’ll be looking to win our home games in order to be a successful franchise, and we need to be a difficult place to play.

“Anyone who’s interested in soccer in the province, we hope they come out and enjoy being a part of history.”

It’s that history that Gale is looking to reignite. The last decade has been dominated by soccer in and around Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, but Gale pointed out that “the story of soccer in Manitoba is far greater and far older than Toronto, although they like to think of themselves as the centre of the universe – and make sure you print that!” (Which we’ll oblige).

He continued: “We have got a very knowledgeable crowd, and there’s definitely still a passion for soccer, despite no immediate history. But we have seen good turnout during national team matches, so in terms of hosting top-level matches, we’ve never lost that.

“What’s great about this is that it’s a brand new team for the younger generation, and it’s there to inspire them and give them heroes on their doorstep.

“Every soccer fan wants to cheer on one of their own and we’ll have quite a few of them representing us on that day. It’s going to be an exciting time for all soccer fans, young and old, who know that there’s a long and rich history of soccer here over the years, and we’re delighted to be reigniting that.”

Jovial, as always, Gale will certainly help do exactly that as soccer returns to Manitoba at long last.

Valour FC season ticket memberships are available now.