On April 1, Marvin Diercks and David Dew met with local media to announce their purchase of Highlanders FC and their commitment in keeping summer soccer alive in Victoria. They made no promises, other than being fiscally prudent, entered their team in the Pacific Coast Soccer League and directed in providing an entertaining style of soccer for the local supporters. What they came away with on Sunday afternoon, was a great sense of accomplishment and pride, conceding defeat to Khalsa Sporting Club on penalty kicks in the Championship Final
Highlanders accomplished their league goal of reaching the playoffs with a winning record of 8 wins, 7 draws and 1 defeat. They drew their island rival, Mid Isle Mariners in the championship semi-finals played Saturday. They advanced to the championship final from goals by Paddy Nelson (7’) and Adam Almeida (85’) in the 2-1 victory. Mid Isle scored in the 90th minute to make it nervy. Khalsa Sporting Club upset regular season champions, Vancouver United FC, 4-1 in the other semi-final match played earlier in the day.
Heavy morning rain tunred into clear blue skies for the champion match at Trillium turf just east of False Creek in downtown Vancouver. The championship match played out as a back and forth affair. Highlanders played their entertaining possession style with build ups through the midfield. Khalsa countered with ‘Route 1’ soccer, with long ball passes from their defenders to strikers to avoid Highlanders midfield strength. The first 90 minutes of chess played to a scoreless draw. Paddy Nelson (99’) unlocked the Khalsa keeper breaking through the defense and lobbing a shot for the 1-0 lead. With seven minutes remaining in the second overtime half, Cam Hundal broke in alone. Khalsa’s keeper came out big and made a save with his legs to keep his team in the match. Khalsa countered an unsuccessful
Highlander free kick adjacent their own penalty area with five minutes remaning to tie the overtime at 1-1. The game concluded and was settled on penalty kicks. Paddy Nelson scored the lone Highlander goal, but Khalsa netted four and won the championship title.
“Making the final and getting to penalties was great”, said head coach, David Dew. “Not to come away with a result was tough, but overall, the positives of this season far outweighs the sting of the loss’.
The ownership team of Dew & Diercks are looking to re-enter the Highlanders into the USL PDL league for the 2016 season. The financial aspect would have to be sustainable, meaning many things will have to come into play to make this work. Most notably, continued loyalty from supporters along with marketing relationships from corporate sponsors.
Highlanders are gauging support for 2016 and are encouraging supporters to purchase season tickets for next season with ‘Early Bird’ rates available for a limited time; $75 adult grandstand section; $52.50 for adult supporters section; and $52.50 for youth ages 16 and under. Amounts include taxes and fees. Season tickets available online at Select Your Tickets.