Victoria Highlanders

Victoria Highlanders FC are a Canadian soccer team based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Founded in 2008 after the excitement of the FIFA U-20 World Cup saw crowds up to 11,500,[1] the first team played in USL League Two until 2019, in the fourth tier of the Canadian Soccer Pyramid. The Highlanders organization includes a U-21 reserve Highlanders team and a women's program. The Highlanders also co-ordinated an U-21 Vancouver Island Soccer League teams as a development pool for players ages 16 to 21. Highlanders FC players were Canadian CIS and NCAA Division I University and College players, Canadian U-20 National Team Players, local Vancouver Island players, as well as imports from around the world.

Victoria Highlanders FC
Full nameVictoria Highlanders
Football Club
Nickname(s)The Highlanders
Founded2008 (2008)
StadiumCentennial Stadium
Victoria, British Columbia
Capacity5,000
ChairmanMarvin Diercks
Head coachThomas Niendorf
LeaguePacific Coast Soccer League
20194th, Northwest Division
Playoffs: DNQ
WebsiteClub website

History

The team played its home games in Bear Mountain Stadium in Langford, British Columbia from 2009 to 2011 and Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, British Columbia from 2011 to 2015. Owner Alex Campbell folded the PDL team late in January 2015 due to not finding financial partners prior to the 2014 season.[2]

Marvin Diercks and Dave Dew, long time Victoria soccer advocates, purchased the licensing rights to the Highlanders from previous owner Alex Campbell in early 2015. Diercks and Dew announced on April 1, 2015, that the Highlanders will start operations again and will participate in the 2015 Pacific Coast Soccer League Summer season. After a successful season in the PCSL where they finished runners-up to Khalsa SC in the Challenge Cup Final, the club started making plans to return to the USL PDL. During the USL Winter meetings in December 2015, Diercks and Dew purchased the PDL franchise rights from the Puget Sound Gunners FC and rejoined the PDL on January 29, 2016.[3]

Kit and colours

The team's colours are white, black, and gold. These colours are the primary colours for the Clan Campbell coats of arms related to club founder Alex Campbell Jr.'s heritage. The heraldic colour white signifies purity and sincerity, gold has the meaning of generosity and glory, while black connotes fidelity and prudence.[4][5][6]

The original badge consisted of a double-headed Celtic swirl, triskele, or triple spiral with a hub of a soccer ball. A triskele is a common artistic symbol used in various cultures around the world but is usually associated with Celtic art. Due to the symbol's age, the triskele is a symbol meaning a number of different things to different people and there is no absolute, widely agreed upon meaning. For some it is a symbol of the holy trinity such as on Pictish sculptured stones or in the Book of Kells. For others a symbol of pre-Celtic paganism representing land, sea, and sky, or the idea of spirit, mind, and body, or the deity Manannán. Manannán is a sea deity associated with the weather and mists between the worlds, uncertainty, the unknown, adventure, and transformation. Still, others associate the symbol with the 3200 BCE tomb of Newgrange and harmony. Finally others associate the Celtic triskele as a symbol of female power, of the transition and evolution of body, mind, and spirit embodied in the maid, mother, and crone or the cycle of pregnancy.[7] The hub, the soccer ball, could symbolize the unity, focus, or expression of the three ideas. The whorls oriented in opposite directions could specify balance.[8]

In 2018, the Highlanders updated their badge inspired by the crest for Victoria, the maple leaf, and the initials VH. The new logo was developed by Matthew Wolff, who also designed crests for New York City FC and Los Angeles FC.[9]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2009–2015 Umbro Coast Capital Savings
2016 Sutra Healing
2017 Dryworld Thrifty Foods
2018 Macron Island Savings

Club Culture

Ownership

With the purchase of season tickets, one also gets a membership in the Victoria Highlanders Supporters Board that administers the fan's 30% ownership in the club. The Supporters Board is a democratic registered non-profit society with limited liability, and all money or other assets belonging to the Supporters Board belong to all members equally. The structure is to facilitate a formalized way to provide feedback, voice opinions, help guide the club's direction, and expand the club's membership base.[10] Day-to-day club operations are handled by senior club management.[11][12]

The club has a Highlanders Board of Advisors consisting of Alex Campbell, the general manager, two Supporters Board members, and five business community members. The board of advisors meets quarterly to provide insight and input into the general direction, goals, and objectives of the club.[11][12] Another 30% share of the club is proposed to be held by local non-profit soccer clubs. Agreements in principle have been signed with Lakehill FC, Gorge FC, and Prospect Lake SC.[13][14][15]

In the US and Canada most professional clubs are just one of many local clubs and community representation on the professional club is not inclusive. Local non-profit community clubs with paid coaches, technical directors, and staff often end up in adversarial commercial competition for facility usage and academy fees for example. In BC, local community clubs are the only full members of the BCSA and some clubs use this player registration monopoly to prevent their players from using outside training.[16] The professional club cannot have all local players accessible to them to scout, include in their club structure, and develop into better players. The professional clubs basically have their own small youth development system that is cut off from much of the area's other players who play with other clubs and in other leagues. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC separate system outside the BC soccer mainstream is the USSDA, and the BCSA set up the BCSPL partly to make a league structure inclusive to the Whitecaps scouting efforts.[17][18] Generally given the profile of the MLS Whitecaps, BC youth soccer clubs consider the Whitecaps too big to compete against especially given the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency programs are not pay-to-play. The smaller Highlanders club also scouts the BCSPL, and part of the reason for community club ownership is to prevent adversarial Highlanders-local community club relationships.[15]

Supporters

The Highlanders are cheered on by members of the supporters group Lake Side Buoys (LSB); whose mission is:[19]

  • To participate in Victoria Highlanders games as true supporters.
  • To facilitate and encourage the expression of support for the team by such methods as singing, chanting, and displays of tifo.
  • To advocate for the rights of all supporters in our home stadium and away.

The name Lakeside Buoys (LSB) is based on the supporter's location at Bear Mountain Stadium by a pond and an effort at a light hearted version of the term Bhoys-commonly associated with overly serious supporters of Celtic F.C.[20] The LSB is a member of the Independent Supporters Council (ISC). The ISC is a supporters' groups association for American and Canadian soccer fans to share information and work together to solve common problems.

Rivalries

The Highlanders main rivalry was with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23. The BC soccer pyramid has been set up with the Vancouver Whitecaps at the top of the pyramid. The larger club dominates the provincial soccer media and recruiting for men and women. It is common for Highlanders players that excel in one season to feature on Whitecaps rosters the next year. The men's first team competes for the Juan de Fuca Plate, a fan-created competition for BC-based USL PDL teams, against the TSS FC Rovers side (and previously the Abbotsford Mariners and Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23). The new rivalry, as of the 2017 season, is with TSS FC Rovers based out of Burnaby, BC. With that, the re-introduction of the Juan de Fuca Plate and BC superiority on the line.

Mascot

The Highlanders' mascot is a Scottish sheep dog or highland terrier. His name is Striker, and he wears the highland dress. He has a birthday June 26, where he has a big party with lots of other local Victoria mascots. He wears the Saskatchewan tartan.[21]

History

The original intent of the ownership group was to have a professional team playing in USL-1.[22][23] There have been previous attempts at professional soccer in Victoria. Taking a step back, the history of association football or soccer in Victoria is comparable in length to most anywhere else in the world. The first documented associated code game was on November 17, 1888, between St Paul's School and the Victoria Rugby Club.[24] An attempt at starting a British Columbia Professional Association Football League including a team in Victoria came to nothing in 1909.[25] Professional soccer teams from Europe have had one off tours against Victoria sides beginning in 1911.[25] From the first games in provincial competition, amateur sides have charged admission for some games to offset travel costs.[24] The first listed professional soccer team was the Victoria Riptides (1984–85). The second is the Victoria Vistas (1989–90) who played in the original Canadian Soccer League (1987–92) against the Vancouver 86ers and teams across Canada. From 1991 on the highest level of Victoria soccer was the amateur clubs in the winter Vancouver Island Soccer League and Victoria United in the summer PCSL.

Five games of capacity crowds at 11,500 spectators, and three others at over 10,000 spectators, greater than those in Vancouver, BC, at an expanded Royal Athletic Park watched group and round of 16 games during the tournament. The other 2007 Canadian host cities will all have either MLS or NASL teams in 2014.[26][27] From these foundations and the goodwill generated after the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the Victoria Highlanders were created. The original intent of the ownership group was to build the Highlanders organization up, so that the 1st team would play in the USL-1 that the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers played in at the time. In 2007, this was the second tier of the Canadian soccer pyramid given that Toronto FC was playing in Major League Soccer. The award of a USL PDL franchise was announced January 16, 2008.[28]

The first year 2009 team had eight Victoria United players on their roster as the level of play for USL PDL was seen to be higher than that of the PCSL.[29][30] In 2009 three other new teams the Seattle Wolves, Portland Timbers U23s, and Kitsap Pumas also joined the Northwest Division. The Northwest Division has had strong competition since the Victoria Highlanders entered. Since 2009, the division has had a PDL-Pro side with USL Pro ambition, 3 MLS affiliates, and a fourth USSDA academy (all 3 MLS teams also run USSDA academies). Victoria was fortunate to retain the PCSL team as the 3 organizations' locations that have switched from PCSL to USL PDL did not, and there was no increase in the number of playing opportunities like there was in Victoria. The Highlanders and Victoria United maintain a friendly relationship and play a charity match each season around July 1.

In their inaugural season with head coach Colin Miller the Highlanders had exhibition games against FC Edmonton in the preseason and finished mid-table in the 2009 NW Division. In the 2010 PDL season they finished mid-table once again while the Portland Timbers U23s from their division won the national championship. In the 2011 PDL season the Highlanders qualified for the playoffs and travelled to the SW Division-leading Fresno Fuego, where they lost 3–1 in stifling heat. The Kitsap Pumas, winners of the NW Division, won the 2011 national championship. In the 2012 PDL season the Highlanders finished just out of a playoff spot after a late-season rally. They also lost the inaugural Juan de Fuca Plate to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 on a tiebreaker. For a more detailed rundown please see Year-By-Year below.

The Victoria Highlanders have forged a partnership with Sheffield Wednesday, the third most senior professional soccer club in England and one of the oldest in the world.[31]

Stadiums

The Highlanders when first announced were to begin playing in a 4500-seat stadium;[28] however, the West Shore Parks and Recreation stadium proposal at the Juan de Fuca velodrome in Colwood did not proceed,[32] and the stadium in Langford was down-sized to the minimum acceptable size of 1600 seats, 1200 of which are permanent.[33] It has dressing rooms, concessions, luxury boxes, and the playing surface is field turf. Capacity concerns regarding dressing rooms, field space, mid-field seating capacity, and training time conflicts for the four Highlander teams with the Victoria Rebels Football Club of the Canadian Junior Football League and other tenants resulted in the move downtown to Royal Athletic Park in 2011. The primary concern reported in the media was lack of seating capacity.[34]

In November 2011 the City of Victoria announced it had accepted a bid from a Vancouver businessman to establish a West Coast League baseball team to become the sole anchor tenant of Royal Athletic Park (RAP) with a permanent outfield fence.[35][36][37] Baseball teams of higher level leagues have used RAP in the past with a movable outfield fence. Public pressure during the municipal election resulted in the facility remaining multisport.[38][39][40] Soccer has been played at Royal Athletic Park for over a century. As a secondary tenant, the Victoria Highlanders 2013 schedule was front loaded with all but one home game played before the baseball season's third game.[41] The Highlanders reserves and Victoria Highlanders Women home games were moved from RAP to Hampton Park and Tyndall Park respectively.[42]

Club structure

Level Men's
1st Team

USL League Two (USL2)

  • Victoria Highlanders
2nd Team

Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier Men Division

  • Summer as Victoria Highlanders Reserves (U21) in PCSL
3rd Team

Futures Program

  • Summer as Victoria Highlanders Futures program training for positions in PCSL and PDL sides

  • The PCSL Premier divisions are senior divisions with no age restrictions. The PCSL Reserve divisions are U-21 with allowances for up to five overage players.[43]
  • Highlanders Futures is a high performance alternative to the BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) Vancouver Island Wave Program, Island Keeper Clinic, Reynolds Senior Secondary Centre for Soccer Excellence, EM Sports Academy, World Cup Soccer Academy, United Soccer Solutions, and optional local community club academies (there are 8 soccer clubs in the greater Victoria area).[44]
  • The Highlanders and Lower Island Soccer Association (LISA) (i.e. BCSPL and Highlanders coaches and staff) have partnered in the L2T Centre for U-10 to U-12 soccer players.[45] The Highlanders are adding their coaching staff and resources to LIWSA's, and LISA's to further development on Vancouver Island. LISA is an association of the 10 local community clubs on Lower Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island

Players

Current squad

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of May 4, 2018.[46]

No. Position Player Nation
Goalkeeper Simon Norgrove  Canada
Goalkeeper Tyrone Venhola  Canada
Defender Noah Cunningham  Canada
Defender Gordon Hall  Canada
Defender Stuart Heath  Northern Ireland
Defender Callum Montgomery  Canada
Defender Mitchell Popadynetz  Canada
Defender Peter Schaale  Germany
Midfielder Francesco Bartolillo  Canada
Midfielder Marcus Campanile  Scotland
Midfielder Mackenzie Cole  Canada
Midfielder Cody Gysbers  Canada
Midfielder Cam Hundal  Canada
Midfielder Owen Pearce  Canada
Midfielder Thomas Shores  Canada
Midfielder Jonah Smith  Canada
Forward Cory Bent  England
Forward Isaac Koch  Canada
Forward Chris Rushworth  England
Forward Blair Sturrock  Scotland
Forward Charlie Waters  England

Coaching staff

As of April 18, 2018[47]
Name Nation Position
David Dew  Canada Director of soccer
Thomas Niendorf  Germany First team head coach
Vikram Virk  Canada First team assistant coach
Bob Stankov  Canada First team goalkeeper coach
Nico Craveiro  Canada Reserves head coach
Sonny Pawar  Canada Reserves assistant coach
Patrick Nelson  Canada Reserves assistant coach

Notable former players

This list of notable former and current players who went on to play professional soccer after playing for the team in the Premier Development League, or those who previously played professionally before joining the team.

Year-by-year

2008

On April 2, 2008, the Highlanders announced their coaching staff:[48]

  • Colin Miller- Head Coach (former coach of CMNT, Derby County FC, and Abbotsford Rangers PDL)
  • David Dew-1st Team Assistant Coach (former Head Coach Whitecaps W-League, Assistant Coach CWNT)
  • Steve Simonson-Assistant Coach, Director Youth Development (former assistant coach Whitecaps W-League and Women's Youth Development)
  • Bob Stankov-Goalkeepers Coach (Island Keeper Clinic, Reynolds Secondary School, LISA)

The Highlanders initiated their scouting and development camps as well as the U-21 reserve team during 2008. The camps consisted of 24/30 U-17 and U-18 players, who received two weekly sessions run by the Highlanders' coaching staff. The Highlanders also sponsored a U-18 Lower Island metro team.[49] An agreement was reached with the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence (PISE) for the training facility. In the 2008–2009 fall/winter the Northsound Seawolves (now Washington Crossfire) announced a change from the PCSL to PDL, and the Kitsap Pumas and Portland Timbers announced PDL franchises.[50][51][52] By January 2009 the club had signed 9 players.

2009

During 2009 preseason announcements of the title sponsor and player signings, the Highlanders made public the goal to join USL Pro in three years.[53][54] Comments by players indicated the club had a higher level of organization compared to typical PDL sides. The Highlanders opened the season on a four-game road trip that began May 1, 2009 against the Spokane Spiders.

The Highlanders won the game 1–0, with the first goal in franchise history being scored by Patrick Gawrys.[55]

The rest of Victoria's season was solid, if unspectacular, with a neatly balanced six wins and six losses across the season, although the season split nearly in two, with the second half of the season much more positive than the first. A run of three ties and two losses to Abbotsford Mariners and Portland Timbers U23's was broken by a spectacular 6–3 demolition of Tacoma Tide at home in early June, a game which saw five different Highlanders goal scorers. A run of three more narrow defeats ended Victoria's playoff chances before July, but once the pressure was off, the football flowed. They walloped Yakima Reds 6-1 after being 1–0 down at half time, with Jordan Hughes scoring four in the second half, demolished Tacoma Tide 5-0 on the road in July, and outplayed local rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 4-0 on the final day of the season, ending the year on a three-game winning streak. The mid-table fifth-place finish was acceptable; Jordan Hughes and Patrick Gawrys both impressed in the goal scoring race, with eight and seven goals respectively, while Gawrys and Rory Hunter made invaluable contributions with four assists each.

The club was successful off the field as well. In the stands average crowds of 1,734, and a crowd of 2,412 for the home opener, watched the Highlanders. They also had a local Victoria player progress from the reserve team to the first team and earn a scholarship to Western Michigan.[56][57][58] Head coach Colin Miller announced his resignation due to an opportunity in Abbotsford where his family lives.[59] The Highlanders also announced an affiliation with the Austin Aztex FC of the USL First Division in July 2009.[60] The affiliation included a friendly held on September 15, 2009, which the Highlanders won 2–0. Three Highlanders were given ten-day trials with Austin. One Highlanders player. Tynan Diaz, was given a short contract with the Austin Aztex and played against Stoke City F.C. on a UK tour.[61]

Round12345678910111213141516
GroundA[62]A[63]A[64]A[65]H[66]H[67]H[68]H[69]A[70]A[71]H[72]A[73]H[74]A[75]H[76]H[77]
ResultWDDDLLWLLLWDLWWW
Source: uslsoccer.com
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

2010

In February 2010, the Highlanders announced they were putting their reserve team in the 2010 premier (open) division of the summer PCSL.[78] They also announced the launching of a women's program, the Victoria Highlanders Women.[79] Ian Bridge joined as head coach and Tyler Hughes joined the ranks and was named captain. The Highlanders opened the season with a four-game winning streak and won seven of their first nine games. Portland, Kitsap, and the Highlanders battled each other at the top of the table in the first half of the season. In the second half of the season the Crossfire and Tacoma/Sounders started generating wins and tightened the playoff race considerably. The season slipped away with the Highlanders essentially being eliminated from the playoffs with an away loss to Kitsap. With five games remaining the Highlanders finished winless in their last eight games to finish fourth. Portland ran away with the NW division going undefeated and winning the USL PDL Championship in the playoffs. The Highlanders Women finished 2nd in the PCSL and lost in the playoff semi-final. The Highlanders played a home and away series against FC Edmonton in August. Jordan Hughes was a Western All-Star in the 2010 USL PDL season.

The Highlanders launched their Sept-March Academy or Prospects program for boys and girls in July 2010.[80] The Highlanders prospects aligned with Shel Brodsgaard's Island Keeper Clinic.[81] On December 1, 2010, the Highlanders announced the women's first team would compete in the 2011 USL W-League and a women's reserve team would compete in the USL Super 20 league.[82]

Round12345678910111213141516
GroundH[83]A[84]A[85]H[86]A[87]H[88]H[89]H[90]A[91]A[92]A[93]H[94]H[95]H[96]A[97]A[98]
ResultWWWWLWDWWLLDDLLL
Source: uslsoccer.com
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

2011

Prior to the 2011 season, it was also announced that the Highlanders were moving mid-season to Royal Athletic Park in downtown Victoria, BC from the suburb of Langford (adjacent to the rural District of Highlands).[99] The U18 Highlanders reserves finished a UK tour against development sides of Port Vale, Sheffield Wednesday, and Notts County.[100]

In March 2011 the Highlanders announced an affiliation with a Nanaimo-Ladysmith based group to be named the Mid-Isle Highlanders. The Mid-Isle Highlanders play in the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) Reserves Division (a U-21 division) as a development squad. The Mid Isle side will be older than the Highlanders U20 Reserves (who are U-17 and U-18) playing in the PCSL Premier Division, but younger than the U-23 PDL roster and will act to bring more high level training opportunities to the Nanaimo-based Vancouver Island University and other Vancouver Island players.[101] On November 5, 2011, the Highlanders announced the season ticket and community ownership model.[102][103]

The Highlanders started the 2011 season by breaking the Timbers U23's 20-game unbeaten streak in the season opener with Elliot Mitrou stopping 2 penalty kicks. In the second game the Highlanders lost a hard-fought away game 2–1 to Kitsap when they scored two late goals including a penalty kick. The Highlanders had a relatively slow start to the season, but in the second half won seven of ten to finish in second in the NW Division. They clinched second and earned their first playoff qualification in their last match, outlasting the Whitecap's run for the playoffs. On July 21, 2011, the Highlanders hosted Port Vale F.C., who were on a North American preseason tour of the Pacific Northwest. Ashley Burbeary finished the season tied for 5th in the USL PDL with eight assists. The Highlanders Women had a tough first season in the W-League with five one goal losses; however, they finished the season with an undefeated streak of 1–2–0 (W–D–L).

Round1234567891011121314151617
GroundA[104]A[105]A[106]H[107]A[108]A[109]A[110]A[111]H[112]H[113]H[114]A[115]H[116]H[117]H[118]H[119]A[120]
ResultWLDDWLLWWWWLWDWWL
Source: uslsoccer.com
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

As one of the top two teams in the NW Division, the Highlanders advanced to the Western Conference Semi-finals, or the round of 16 in the overall playoffs, against the undefeated 13-0-3 SW Division Fresno Fuego. A crowd of 2369 on July 30 with sweltering 36-C temperature, the Highlanders lost a close fought game 3–1. The Fuego opened the scoring in the 10th minute before Highlander midfielder Jamar Dixon's header knotted the game again in the 19th minute. As the heat slowed the game late, Tyler Reinhardt of the Fuego put the Fuego ahead for good in the 83rd minute by blasting a shot from 20 yards out after controlling a booming drop-kick from the Fuego goalkeeper. He earned the hat-trick with a goal in the 90th minute as the Highlanders attempted to equalize.[121][122]

2012

In 2012, a two-game road trip to Portland and Redmond left the Highlanders at 0–2–2 (W–D–L). The Highlanders got their first win when they picked up back-to-back wins at the winless Fraser Valley Mariners mid-season. At 2–3–3 the Highlanders released head coach Ian Bridge and promoted assistant coach Steve Simonson. After a tough start to the transition with three further losses, the team ended the season on an undefeated streak of 4–1–0 to finish at 6–6–4 for 24 points. The Highlanders finished one point out of the NW Division playoffs and missed out on winning the inaugural fan-created Juan de Fuca Plate on the goal difference tie-breaker.

On September 6, 2012, the Peninsula CO-OP Highlanders moved the Fall-Winter (Sept-April) team to the Metro Women's Soccer League (MWSL) Premier Division. The MWSL is based in the Vancouver metropolitan area and also includes the Vancouver Whitecaps U-18 Girls Elite. The Highlanders women's fall/winter team is a partnership composed of W-League veterans, University of Victoria red shirts (reserves), and Highlanders Prospects (U-17 and U-18 players). After another challenging and slightly improved sophomore W-League season, the Highlanders announced that with the Vancouver Whitecaps Women folding, they would return to the PCSL for 2013.[123]

Mark deFrias returned to the Highlanders as general manager in October 2012 after Drew Finerty stepped down.[124][125]

Round12345678910111213141516
GroundH[126]H[127]A[128]A[129]A[130]H[131]H[132]A[133]H[134]H[135]A[136]A[137]H[138]A[139]H[140]A[141]
ResultDDLLDLWWLLLWDWWW
Source: uslsoccer.com
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

2013

2013 Victoria Highlanders season's home opener was a 3–0 victory on May 4 at Royal Athletic Park versus Kitsap Pumas.[41] 2013 was one of the most successful seasons on and off the field for the Highlanders; they finished 8–4–2 first in the NW Division and increased average attendance 57% to 1637, top ten in the USL PDL. The Highlanders made a playoff run with hard fought close wins over Ventura County Fusion and Portland Timbers U- 23 before a loss to the Thunder Bay Chill in an all-Canadian PDL national semi-final. The Highlanders started two 18-year-olds, a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old. Plus, 80 per cent of the roster was home-grown. The players really stood up for Vancouver Island and showed there is good soccer here. Victoria's run to the PDL Final Four was accomplished without a home playoff game after the Highlanders were unsuccessful with their bid to host the regional and national playoffs. Striker Brett Davis was voted the inaugural Supporters' Choice Player of the Year recipient and presented with the award at the last home game of season v Portland Timbers FC U-23.

2014

The 2014 season was a success for the club with several players earning collegiate roster spots for the 2014 fall season. The Victoria Highlanders Women went undefeated at 12–0–0 while capturing the double in the PCSL Women's Premier Division. The men's first team qualified for the playoffs and hosted their first ever playoff game. The women's reserve team earned the double with a league and playoff championship in the PCSL Women's Reserve Division. The men's reserve team finished third in the PCSL Men's Reserve Division and won the playoff championship. The Mid-Isle Highlanders, affiliate club, won the PCSL Men's Reserve Division league championship. During the Fall/Winter season a partnership with UVic allowed a traveling women's team to compete in Vancouver's Metro Women's Soccer League once again while the men's reserve team competed in the Vancouver Island Soccer League's U21 Division. The club successfully hosted mid-summer friendlies with Rangers F.C. of the Scottish League 1 and FC Edmonton of the D2 NASL. Striker Blair Sturrock was voted Supporters' Choice Player of the Year and presented with the award at the mid-summer friendly v Rangers F.C..

2015

The 2015 season started off with a massive announcement that long-time club owner Alex Campbell Jr. was folding the team due to financial difficulties. Campbell was actively looking for partners to assist him in running the club, both financially and administratively. After the folding of the club in January 2015, many local football supporters took up the mantle pushing for the Highlanders to exist again under wither a new ownership or phoenix club. In March 2015, Marvin Diercks and David Dew announced that they purchased the franchise and branding rights from Campbell and will be participating in the 2015 Pacific Coast Soccer League. After a good run in the regular season, the Highlanders finished third overall and clinched a berth into the Sheila Anderson Memorial Challenge Cup play-offs. After a close win against Vancouver Island rivals, Mid-Isle Mariners, in the semi-finals the club faced off against Khalsa Sporting Club in the Final. After a scoreless draw after 90 minutes, the Highlanders scored early into the first extra time half. But Khalsa came back right away with a goal of their own four minutes from the end of the second half of extra time. Khalsa went on to win on penalties and lift the Challenge Cup. Defender Ryan Ashlee was voted Supporters' Choice Player of the Year and presented with the award at the last home game of season v Mid-Isle Mariners.

2016

In 2016, the Highlanders began their return season to the PDL with a road trip to Bremerton, Washington to face Kitsap. After being outplayed for 90 minutes and losing 3–0, the USL PDL upon investigation found out that Kitsap has 10 over 23 players registered for the club (league rules only allow a club to sign 8 over 23 players max.). Because of this rule breaking, Kitsap was forced to forfeit the match with Highlanders getting the 3–0 win and Kitsap being deducted a further three points due to rule breach.[142] VHFC then hosted Calgary Foothills FC in their home season opener on June 15. In front of an attendance of 482, VHFC lost 2–0 on two quick second half goals by Calgary. The club made a road trip through Oregon over the May long weekend to face Portland Timbers U-23 (1–1 draw in front of 6,575 supporters at Providence Park part of Providence Health & Fitness Day with a late second half stoppage time goal from the Timbers) and Lane United (a scoreless high intensity draw from Willamalane Center in front of a boisterous local crowd). Defender Callum Montgomery was named to the PDL Team of the Week his performance against Lane United.[143] Highlanders fifth match of the season saw them take on defending NW Div champions Kitsap. In nearly 30-degree Celsius temperatures, the lads in black and white dispensed of the Pumas quite easily with a 4–1 victory with two goals by MF Ryan Dhillon off the bench in the second half. VHFC travelled to Calgary for a two-game road-trip. Midfielder Ryan Dhillon was named to the PDL Team of the Week after his performance v Kitsap.[144] In the Friday affair, Calgary was too much for Victoria and recorded a 3–1 victory. In the Sunday reverse fixture, Victoria played with 10-men for nearly 60 minutes due to a sending off by MF Ryan Dhillon and fought hard back to record a 2–2 draw.

Round1234567891011121314
GroundA[145]H[146]A[147]A[148]H[149]A[150]AAAHHHHH
ResultWLDDWLDLLDWLDD
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

2017

The 2017 season started with a flurry with the club announcing the Highlanders Futures program and open tryouts for the three programs (PDL,PCSL, and Futures) in the early months of the year. Players can register to participate in Highlanders training throughout the summer months as potential candidates for future Highlanders teams in the PDL and PCSL. The Highlanders Futures program adds a new stage in the club's overall development pyramid.[151]

Transfers in

Highlanders started its signing business early, acquiring Canadian defender Owen Pearce and Northern Irish defender Ryan McCurdy on March 17. The international flavour continued for the club with the signings of Japanese goalkeeper Yuichiro Hayami and defender Sho Goto, and Northern Irish defender Stuart Heath on March 30. English midfielder Eva Batousol was signed by the club on April 5. U Sports Canadian trio Justin Donaldson, Aidan Moore, and Francesco Bartolillo were signed on April 21. English striker Andrew Ofosu was signed by the club on April 25.

Position Player Signed from Date Source
MF Owen Pearce Robert Morris University March 17, 2017 [152]
ST Ryan McCurdy Victoria West FC March 17, 2017 [152]
DF Stuart Heath Cape Breton University March 30, 2017 [153]
DF Sho Goto Victoria West FC March 30, 2017 [153]
GK Yuichiro Hayami Iowa Western University March 30, 2017 [153]
AMF Eva Batousol Sheffield FC April 5, 2017 [154]
ST Justin Donaldson Thompson Rivers University April 21, 2017 [155]
MF Aidan Moore Trinity Western University April 21, 2017 [155]
ST Francesco Bartolillo University of Northern British Columbia April 21, 2017 [155]
ST Andrew Ofosu Sheffield Hallam University April 25, 2017 [156]
ST Paddy Nelson Cowichan FC April 23, 2017 [155]
GK Ty Venhola University of Northern British Columbia May 12, 2017 [157]
DF Bobby Eng University of Victoria May 12, 2017 [157]
MF Andre Earthy-Find Vancouver Whitecaps Residency May 12, 2017 [157]
MF Jonah Smith University of Northern British Columbia May 12, 2017 [157]
MF Elie Gindo Trinity Western University May 12, 2017 [157]
FW Solomon Constant Iowa Western University May 12, 2017 [157]
Round1234567891011121314
GroundHHHHHAAAAAAHHA
ResultWLLLLWLWLLLWWD
Source: uslpdl.com
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

Club record 2009 to present

As of July 14, 2019[158]
Season League Playoffs Canadian Championship Juan de Fuca Plate[159]
Overall Home Away
Div League Pos GP W D L GF GA Pts W D L GF GA W D L GF GA
2009D4USL PDL 5th 16 6 4 6 37 25 2244021122241613DNQDid not qualifyNo competition
2010D4USL PDL 4th 16 7 3 6 27 24 244131812350912DNQDid not qualifyNo competition
2011D4USL PDL 2nd 16 9 3 4 29 16 30602206341910Round of 16Did not qualifyNo competition
2012D4USL PDL 6th 16 6 4 6 21 18 22233109431119DNQDid not qualify Runner-up
2013D4USL PDL 1st 14 8 4 2 32 7 284121811430137Semi-finalsDid not qualify Runner-up
2014D4USL PDL 2nd 14 8 3 3 32 18 274301464301812Play-In RoundDid not qualify Winner
2015D5PCSL 3rd 16 8 7 1 33 17 313501710521167 Runner-upDid not qualifyNo competition
2016D4PDL 6th 14 3 6 5 17 19 15232109133710DNQDid not qualifyNo competition
2017D4PDL 4th 14 5 1 8 17 28 16304109214719DNQDid not qualify Winner
2018D4PDL 5th 14 5 0 9 14 25 15304713205712DNQDid not qualify Runner-Up
2019D4USL-2 4th 14 6 1 7 22 22 19413161320469DNQDid not qualify TBD

Note: click on the season for the Highlanders season wiki if it exists, click on league for season wiki.
Note: Juan de Fuca Plate was created in 2012, all previous standings unofficial.
Note: Canada has national amateur championships (The Challenge Trophy and the Jubilee Shield) and a separate national professional championship that is currently only open to USSF/CSA Division 1, 2 & 3 teams (MLS, USL, L1O, and PLSQ). Since 2008 Canada has not had an Open Cup.
Note: Playoff qualification format has varied from top 4, top 3, and top 2 qualifying.
Pos. = Position; GP = Match played; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Lost; GF = Goal For; GA = Goal Against; Pts = Points; DNQ = Did Not Qualify
Colors: Gold = winner; Silver = runner-up; Cyan = ongoing

Legend
Gold Competition winner
Silver Competition runners-up
Blue Division winner
Green Qualified for play-offs

Average attendance

League ranks are reported from the United Soccer League archive and North American ranks for outdoor soccer from a website blog that has collated reported attendance from the MLS, NASL, USL-Pro, WPS, W-League, and USL-PDL. Leagues such as the CSL, PCSL, and NPSL do not support the administration capabilities to report attendance figures and those that can be gleaned from media or match reports are much less reliable and harder to find, so they were excluded by the website blog. There are a few teams at the PDL level that do not charge for admission for each and every match due to sponsorship arrangements with a business such as Fresno Fuego (3000–4500 average) or a larger parent club (Major League Soccer affiliated clubs).[160]

As of December 18, 2016[161]
YearLeagueAverage Attendance# of Home GamesLeague RankCanada – USA Rank
2009USL PDL173494th39th
2010USL PDL149785th42nd
2011USL PDL992810th52nd
2012USL PDL104688th46th
2013USL PDL163775th47th
2014USL PDL131479th
2015PCSL3608
2016USL PDL7267

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