The Highlanders has announced the signing of two returning players to their roster for the upcoming 2018 Premier Development League (PDL) season. Midfielders Cody Gysbers and Mackenzie Cole sign as the seventh and eighth additions to first year coach Thomas Niendorf’s side.
The local Highlanders academy products grew up in Victoria plying their trade at multiple local clubs. Cody Gysbers, a graduate of Reynold’s High School, played youth soccer with Gorge FC before joining the Vancouver Island Wave (VI Wave) program at the U-12 level. Later on, Gysbers joined the Highlanders prospects program before moving to the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves (UNBC).
“I’m looking forward to playing competitively with a group of guys that are as committed as I am,” stated Gysbers. “I’ve been around the organization a lot and they not only provide me with an opportunity to play at a high level but it allows me the opportunity to play in front of my friends and family.”
Mackenzie Cole, a graduate of Glenlyon-Norfolk, played youth soccer with Gorge FC before joining the VI Wave program at the U-12 level. Cole also joined Gysbers at the Highlanders prospects before moving to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. In discussion with Mackenzie about the changes in the 2018 season, Mackenzie spoke about the impact of the new owners, new kit sponsors, and emblem.
“2018 is going to be a fun year. The ownership are here to grow the club and grow the sport, for the City, and more importantly for soccer in Victoria,” commented Cole. “It’s nice to have this fresh perspective within the club, and from the outside I’m loving some of the new changes. The new crest and uniforms look great, and I’m excited to start wearing the colours with pride.”
Andrew Latham, Lower Island Soccer Association Technical Director, commented on the signings of local youth players Mackenzie and Gysbers, as well as Jonah Smith who also recently signed for the club. “For Lower Island Soccer it’s very nice seeing these players come back and be able to play locally.”
“Growing up they played youth soccer with Gorge FC, and it’s great seeing them coming through the lower island club system. It’s special for these players, all three of them, to have played together their entire youth at Gorge and the VI Wave and now be able to showcase themselves at a higher level not only at the University but also in the PDL.”
The Highlanders start their season on the road against the Calgary Foothills May 11, with their home opener against the Portland Timbers at Centennial Stadium on May 20. Fans can join the Highlanders players, coaches, owners and fans at the Kick Off Before Kick Off party on Thursday, April 26 at Distrikt Nightclub. Tickets are only $105 and include a season ticket, Highlanders t-shirt, 2 beverage tickets and appies, as well as entry into a door prize. For more information, visit www.highlandersfc.ca/tickets