Hundreds turn out for 'anti-gang' soccer tournament in Surrey

The Rosode Invitational started in honour of Ranbir and Bahadur Rosode, two brothers who died of heart disease 20 years ago. Since then, the event has evolved to encoure children and teenagers to stay "anti-drug" and "anti-gang."

Event comes days after 2 teens were killed in targeted shooting

The annual Rosode Invitational soccer tournament was held at Newton Athletic Park on Saturday. The event, which attracted nearly 1,000 people this year, focuses on keeping children active. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Nearly 1,000 young soccer players came out for an annual tournament Saturday, encouraging children and teens to stay in sports and out of gang activity in Surrey, B.C. 

The Rosode Invitational began in honour of Ranbir and Bahadur Rosode, two brothers who both died of heart disease 20 years ago. 

Since then, the event has evolved to encourage young athletes to stay "anti-drug" and "anti-gang."

"It's a good way to get the message out," said Surjit Rosode, who had three children with Ranbir

​"If you stay busy and in sports, one, it's healthy. Two, it keeps them away from bad influences."

Surjit Rosode said her family's annual soccer tournament is a great opportunity for parents to connect with their children and encourage them to stay active and away from gang activity. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

This year's tournament comes less than a week after two Surrey teenagers were shot and killed

Jaskarn (Jason) Singh Jhutty, 16, and Jaskaran (Jassi) Singh Bhangal, 17, were found dead on Monday. Their deaths shocked the community, with Bhangal's sister describing her brother as "a good kid" who stayed out of trouble.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said officers are still investigating a motive, but the shooting was targeted.

Parents at Saturday's tournament said the boys' deaths — and victims of gang violence in Surrey — were top of mind.

"It's the talk of the town nowadays," said Anuj Nanda. "We are very aware things are going on with our kids and we have to get them away from those things."

RCMP Cpl. Mike Dougherty said initiatives like the tournament can go a long way in keeping children on track.

"One thing we find is, with kids who go off the rails, the parents are not involved," the officer said. "Here, parents are involved — watching, supporting and cheering on their kids."

Parents spent Saturday afternoon cheering on their children during games. RCMP say engaged parents can make a big difference in keeping children away from gang activity. (Doug Kerr/CBC)