Vince Greco/Christopher Kelsall

According to Vince Greco, President of the Vancouver Island Soccer League, BC Soccer has declared winners of awards, which will be presented this weekend in coordination with the BC Soccer Annual General Meeting.

“Every year, league and association leaders submit recommendations from across the Province.  This year, the VISL is fortunate to have four community members acknowledged for their ongoing support, hard work, participation, and volunteering over the course of the year,” Shared Greco.

After all 120,000 members of BC Soccer have been screened and accounted for; the following four will win awards:
Administrator of the Year

Keith Smith

Smith has been on the board of the VISL as Treasurer for the past 22 years.

He is a managing partner with a local accounting firm. He has also served as the Treasurer for Lower Island Soccer Association (LISA) (youth) for a period of four years.  “Besides keeping everybody fiscally responsible, he has been a valuable asset and sounding board when dealing with everyday issues in running the league,” wrote Greco in a release.

Smith was invited onto the board by his father, George Smith. The elder Smith is no stranger to the provincial soccer body as he has been a life member of BC Soccer since 2001. Both have served within the VISL for just over 20 years, each.

“Like many, Keith has been involved in soccer since he was just a little guy in juvenile. He went on to play senior soccer within the VISL just after completing four years at UVic.  Keith still plays a little today – with the Saanich Fusion Nearly Dead – Over 50’s team.”

“In the days where it is tough to find somebody you can trust with your finances, he has been an absolute god-send to the VISL. His paperwork is meticulous and he very quick to answer questions from membership.”

Provincially, Smith received an Award of Merit in 2006.

“The VISL is extremely happy that George Smith asked his son Keith to come help out in 1994,” said Greco.

Adult Official of the Year

Nathan Bird

Bird was born and raised in Victoria. He started refereeing at the youth level for Gorge Soccer Association in 2004.  After five years, Nathan stepped up to the seniors ranks. Bird quickly earned the VISL Referee Award in 2010/11 and then again in 2015/16.

Bird was the Centre Referee in last year’s U21 Provincial Cup final that went into extra time.

“Nathan is and continues to be a valuable asset to the local referee’s association.  Besides being the VISL top referee, he shows the utmost respect for all players and coaches; treating them with respect at all times.”

Nathan has two young kids and is a dedicated family man. We hope he can juggle his busy life schedule to stay on as a referee for years to come,” shared Greco.

Award of Merit

Richard Fast

Years of service; mostly with the VISL as a player and coach, but he also coaches kids. Playing wise, this person has done something that is not so common anymore – he played his entire juvenile and senior soccer career with just one organisation.

The 1970’s and 1980’s as a juvenile, to UVic in the early 90’s, then Bays United ever since. He is now also playing with UVic in the masters category.

Under Bruce Wilson, Brian Mousley, Norm Pite, Scott Longpre and Scott Taylor, he has learned the art of charismatic coaching, effective man management, and player rapport.  He has been coach for Adam Straith and still remains in close contact.

Greco added, “Highlights include going undefeated in top flight Division 1 (has only happened three times in 30 years) was pretty big a couple years ago. Pretty sure that finally winning a Jackson Cup might be the biggest highlight.  Richard continues to strive for Provincial glory.”

The VISL feel that he exhibited tremendous heart, dedication, and is a proven leader who has invested much into the VISL.  Fast was the 2015 VISL President’s Award recipient.  He has qualified for Masters Provincials as a player, and Men’s Open as a Coach.

Adult Player of the Year

Patrick Nelson

Patrick Nelson has played in the VISL since 2008. Since enrollment he has either led the division and league in scoring, or has been in the top three. He has been the divisional top scorer in four of the past five years. Nelson has won the Dr. JD Hunter Division 1 MVP Trophy three times. (Only two players have done that in the past: Drew Ferguson & Nick Gilbert)

“Patrick has done something that very few people have done in the past – won the top flight Garrison Cup Trophy for top team in league for the past five years.  The first 3 years with Saanich Fusion, and these last two seasons with Cowichan.”

Provincially, he has led his Saanich Fusion team to the semis where he would lose to eventual champion Surrey United. Last year there was more of the same as he and Cowichan ended up losing to eventual champion Estrelle de Chile in sudden death extra play.

“He is a dedicated competitor who works very hard; a stand-up guy who is nothing but class,” shared Greco.

THE VISL are honoured to have the above four people as regular VISL members, and they look forward to them receiving their awards this Saturday June, 11 in Burnaby.

To see a list of all the winners for this year; as well as years past, please go to:

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