WATCH ABOVE: The inaugural Woodall Cup was held Sunday morning at Clarke Field to honour Const. Daniel Woodall, his family and the game he loved so much: soccer. Lisa Wolansky reports.
EDMONTON — The game ended in a 2-2 tie, but a soccer match in Edmonton Sunday morning wasn’t about the score as much as it was for the love of the game and very special man.
The inaugural Woodall Cup was held at Clarke Field between the Edmonton Police Service Blues and the British Selects, a team made up of British expats who now call Edmonton home. The charity game, hosted by FC Edmonton, was played in honour of fallen EPS Const. Daniel Woodall and his family.
“This is really fantastic,” Woodall’s widow, Claire Woodall, said before the game. “Dan loved soccer, or football as we call it, so it’s perfect. It’s a perfect thing for us to do.”
Joined by her young boys, Gabe and Callen, Claire made a heartfelt speech from centre field before the match started, thanking everyone for their love and support over the past several weeks.
“These last seven weeks, as you know, have been the most heart-wrenching period of my life. We all know what happened, how my husband was taken away from us all too soon,” she said. “There has been so much love for myself and my family. I can’t thank you enough.
Const. Woodall was fatally shot on Monday, June 8 while executing an arrest warrant in west Edmonton. The 35-year-old British native had a passion for soccer, football is it’s known in Europe, so Sunday was all about celebrating Woodall and the game he loved.
“It is brilliant. It’s the first real time we’ve had to celebrate, if that’s the right word,” said Dave Ainsworth, a former EPS member who read the eulogy at Woodall’s regimental funeral.
“The way that Claire’s speech went there, the way that everyone stood up and everyone applauded and the streamers that came down, it felt like a celebration and that’s more of who Dan was.”
Ainsworth met Woodall in 2002, when they were both members of the Greater Manchester Police. Ainsworth moved to Edmonton five years ago to join the EPS after hearing how much Woodall loved it here.
“He’s a great guy… He was a fantastic joker, gave me a whole world of abuse, whether I needed it or not. Just a great guy,” said Ainsworth. “I miss him.”
Dressed in white and blue, the EPS Blues gave the British Selects a run for their money in front of more than 1,000 spectators at Clarke Field. In the end, the teams shared the trophy, the “Woodall Cup,” which Claire helped hoist at the end of the match.
“Dan was and is my everything. He’s gone, but not forgotten for myself, for my children, for my family, for the EPS family or for Edmonton,” she said.
Sunday’s game raised $15,000 for the D. Woodall Family Fund.