The Canadian Premier League of soccer put on a slick presentation in Victoria at the Roundhouse Friday, complete with a DJ, marching band, dry ice, cheering squad and beer.
The purpose was to provide the unveiling of the Victoria (Langford) franchise of the coast-to-coast professional league logo and name.
In character with the other six teams already revealed, Victoria’s team does not mention the name of the city, but a geographic reference. The team is named Pacific FC.
The team colours were also revealed as well as the emblem; colours are all used within the patch.
On-hand was a who’s who of Greater Victoria soccer including the executive of the Victoria Highlanders FC, Vancouver Island Soccer League brass, as well as many volunteers, coaches, players and media. The Roundhouse was full with 300-400 in attendance.
One obstacle for the team is to renovate Westhills Stadium to take 5,000 to 6,000 seating capacity. Currently, capacity is approximately 1,450.
Langford Mayor Stew Young doesn’t see it as a problem.
“We will have the pole moved, no question,” he said. “For now, we will build around it and insert more seating once it is moved.”
Young spoke as did owners Josh Simpson, Rob Friend and Dean Shillington.
Simpson, who had 34 international caps in soccer over a 10-year professional and 20-year amateur playing career said that he had a dream at age 12, then 14 to become a professional soccer player and went as far as visiting Europe at that age. Taking the NCAA route, he ended up back in Europe to play in Turkey, England, Germany and other places, but he grew up on the island.
“I just moved back three days ago,” he said to cheers.
“We just signed the lease on the stadium an hour ago,” said Friend to more cheers.
In dedication to all the 14-year-old soccer players in Greater Victoria, the team named every 14-year-old the #1 inaugural members of Pacific FC.
The dream came true for Simpson and the goal in having a professional team in the Capital Region is to give kids an opportunity to play pro at home and develop at home, rather than having to go to Europe to develop.
When asked about working with the Victoria Highlanders FC, a top-rung amateur team in the PDL and the Vancouver Island Soccer League with its first division network Simpson said, “We will have that conversation. We are not here to push other teams out. We are here to work with the established soccer that is already in place.”
The team will start play at Westhills Stadium in the spring of 2019.
“This is great timing, as we just wrapped up the world cup and in eight years North America will have the world cup again,’ said Young. “This is just going to build and build.”
Other teams in the league include Calgary, Edmonton, York, Halifax, Hamilton, and Winnipeg.
The York area reveal party apparently got out of hand with banner burning and general rowdiness. In the Victoria reveal, all kept a level head, but with great enthusiasm towards the new team and only professional franchise to play in the Capital Region.