Greater Victorians and Vancouver Islanders alike can now officially unite under a unified soccer team in the Canadian Premier League, Pacific FC.
The details of the franchise were unveiled yesterday to a packed E & N Roundhouse on Esquimalt Road, cementing Pacific FC as an inaugural Canadian Premier League team. Their home base will be set at Westhills Stadium in Langford.
The stadium will expand to at least 6,000 seats in time for the club’s debut in 2019.
“[Langford] is right in the middle of the heart of the Island,” co-owner and former Canadian National team player Rob Friend said. “Victoria can get there in 10 minutes, Duncan can get there, Campbell River can; it is the Island.”
“We want to make it into a European atmosphere—[an] intimate, tight, 6,000-seat stadium,” he said.
Pacific FC’s crest a tribute to what makes the Island home
The logo was also revealed yesterday, with colour selections that are soft on the eyes and inspired by the club’s namesake—the Pacific Ocean.
Starfish purple is the primary colour in the logo, influenced by the starfish of the region.
Lagoon blue is of course inspired by the vast ocean surrounding us, and portrays a Douglas Fir rising upward. The Douglas Fir is split into chunks, with the right shape depicting a rough outline of Vancouver Island.
The final colour is lighthouse white, an ode to the numerous lighthouses that scatter the coast of the Island. The trident at the bottom of the emblem is representative of the mythological creatures that harnessed their power and control over the ocean.
— Pacific Football Club (@Pacificfccpl) July 20, 2018
More than just a soccer team for president Josh Simpson
Josh Simpson, like his co-leader Friend, also played for the men’s national team, but was raised right here in Victoria. With a dedicated work ethic and a dream of becoming a professional soccer player, Josh went to Europe when he was 12 years old to see what the European world of soccer was all about.
What he realized on that trip might be one of the prime reasons Pacific FC is coming to Victoria.
“One thing that resonated about that trip is that at 12 years old those kids at those professional clubs weren’t all that different from us,” he said. “In fact, they were local, they grew up right there, went to their local club, and eventually those young 12 year olds turned into professionals.”
In Simpson’s eyes, they are just the same as Canadian kids, but have a place to play at home; a place where your hard work and ambition can be nurtured without the requirement of leaving your home base, your parents, and your friends.
“That was the only path I had to fulfilling that dream I had of being a professional footballer,” he said.
Which is what makes Simpson and Friend’s foray into owning a professional team such a wonderful fit for Greater Victoria and the Island. These are two people that have lived the challenge dreaming of professional soccer in Canada. And these are two people who have had to face the daunting consideration of leaving home as a young teen to pursue soccer.
“Does it sound like that makes sense?” Simpson posited to the Roundhouse. “Fourteen years old and move eight time zones away?”
“That stops now,” he concluded.
And considering the bigger picture of Canadian soccer, the timing couldn’t be better.
With Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal competing in Major League Soccer (MLS) and increasing television rights for the league, more young Canadians than ever are being exposed to soccer. With awareness of the sport rising at the national level, the timing is perfect for Canadian soccer to grow at the local, community level. The Canadian Premier League will do that.
Combined with Canada being named a co-host for the 2026 World Cup, it’s simple to see that Canadian soccer has an eight-year window to see what it’s made of; to see how far it can come before hosting that World Cup; and showing the world that maybe, just maybe, there’s a soccer nation hiding in us somewhere.