The Westminster Royals (also Westminster United or New Westminster Royals FC) is a Canadian soccer club based in New Westminster, British Columbia. It has the distinction of winning Canada Soccer's The Challenge Trophy eight times, setting the existing record for most domestic cup championships by a team in Canada. Originally known as Westminster United in 1912, they were Canada's dominant team for close to a decade from when they were known as the Westminster Royals in the 1920s and 1930s. They were later known as New Westminster Royals FC when they rejoined the Pacific Coast League in 1948-49.
|League||Vancouver and District League Pacific Coast Soccer League|
First national championship
The Royals first attracted national attention in the 1927-1928 season when they won the national championship with a team considered to be one of the finest of its time. After winning the qualifying competition in B.C. the Royals went on to defeat the Alberta champions Edmonton Canadian Legion 4-0 and 9-6, before heading east to Winnipeg where they beat the local club Westbrook 7-1 and 2-0 in the western final to advance to the national final played at Carruthers Park. The opposition from the east was Montreal CNR and the Royals won a close game 3-2 and were expected to clinch the title in the second game but were upset by two goals to one, with Montreal forcing a third game. This time Westminster made no mistake winning by 6 goals to one. That game was played on Wednesday August 1, 1928.
Just seven weeks later the Royals opened the 1928-1929 season against another New Westminster club, Sapperton and played through the regular season without losing a game. In the qualifying competition for the national championship the defending champions defeated B.C. telephone, then St. Andrews before being beaten 1-3 and 3-5 by the St. Saviours club of Vancouver and eliminated.
Second national championship
But the Royals didn't slip up in the 1929-30 season, reaching the national final for the second time, where the final was a repeat of the 1928 final with the team beating Montreal CNR 1-0 in the first game, losing the second 5-0 and winning the third 1-0. This while the Royals might have won the championship by two games to one, they lost on an aggregate score by 2 goals to five.
Third national championship
A third national championship followed, but not before a lot of controversy. In June 1931 a national representative team from England played in Vancouver and some of the Royals players were selected to represent Vancouver. Some of them refused to play, saying they were tired as a result of playing so many games. Those players were suspended by the B.C. Football Association, thus weakening the Royals heading into the national championships. But replacements were found and the team, now known locally as the Royals Remnants, once again reached the final. As it turned out the remnants of the Royals won comfortably beating Toronto Scottish 2-0 and 3-0.
Following the 1931 triumph the Royals faded from the national picture until 1936. Then, with the final being played in Vancouver, they defeated United Weston from Winnipeg 6-1 in the first game, but oddly enough lost the second for the third time 2-1, before going on to win the trophy in the third game 3-0.
Towards the end of the 1930s soccer in B.C. was in turmoil and the Royals faded from the scene in September 1938, only to be resurrected at the start of the 1948 season. An era ended in 1938 and a new one began 10 years later.
The new Westminster Royals, like the old had many great players and went on to add four more national championships to the name of B.C.s Royal city. Success was not immediate and the Royals did not reach the final until 1952, only to lose in three games to Montreal Stelco. But the beautiful F.A. Trophy awarded to the national champions was back on the shelf in 1953 following a win over Montreal Hakoah. Three more national championships followed in 1955, 1956 and 1958 with wins over Montreal Ukraina, Winnipeg Germania and Winnipeg Scottish. when the team was awarded the Carling Cup, as a result of Carling Breweries sponsoring the competition.
Only the second defeat in nine finals followed with a loss to the professional Montreal Alouettes in 1959, before the Royals win the national championship in 1960 with a 4-0 defeat of Toronto Golden Mile.
In 1961 Westminster Royals represented Canada in the first John F. Kennedy Cup competition for the nations of the west coast of North America. In the first game they beat the San Francisco All-Stars 3-0, but lost 3-0 to the Mexican Selects in the final. The games were played in Los Angeles.
Throughout most of these years the Royals played in the Pacific Coast League, but also competed for the Province Cup, the championship of B.C. and the Mainland Cup, the championship of the B.C. Lower Mainland.
In 1962-63, both New Westminster Royals FC and Vancouver St. Andrews FC pulled out of the Pacific Coast League after the BC Commission ordered the promotion of Vancouver Pilsener's FC to the league. While St. Andrews had already played one match, New Westminster had not played any matches. A month later, a new team called New Westminster Royal City FC were admitted to the league with former Royals coach Cecil Goodheart as president.
- The 1928-29 team was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
- The 1927-28 team was inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame in Vaughan, Ontario.
- Canadian Championship winners: 1928, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1953, 1955, 1958, 1960
- Canadian Runners-up: 1952, 1959
- Pacific Coast League winners in 1953, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961
- Won the Province Cup, the Championship of British Columbia in 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1936
- Won the Mainland Cup, the Championship of the B.C. Lower Mainland in 1928 and 1929
- "REPLAYING HISTORY - CELEBRATION OF NEW WESTMINSTER AND BC SOCCER HISTORY". bcsoccerweb.com. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
- "Replaying History". Royal City Youth Soccer Club. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
- "Mexican soccer team victorious". The Leader-Post. 31 May 1961. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- "Vancouver Pro Soccer Mooted". The Calgary Herald. 1 November 1962. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- "Westminster Royals - 1928". Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "New Westminster Royals Capture Soccer Championship of Dominion". Edmonton Journal. 4 August 1930. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- "History of the National Challenge Trophy". Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-12-01.