Sunday, May 15, 2016

It's Opening Day!

Holy Crap it is already opening day!

In this world of Facebook and Twitter and Youtube this sad old web page has been much neglected.

That will change soon, but first:

Victoria Highlanders v Calgary Foothills
Sunday May 15, 2:00 pm
Centennial Stadium, UVic

Come find us in the parking lot before the game.

Monday, February 1, 2016

USA v CAN - February 5

Come on down to the Yates St Taphouse and join us as we watch a "friendly" between our National Team and the US of  'Merica.

Whether you are a Lake Side Buoy or a SouthIslander (or both) we can all be Voyageurs as our lads prepare for the World Cup Qualifier versus Mexico this Easter.

More details and RSVP's on the Facebook event page.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Off Season Antics: Canada v Honduras

So, a small contingent of LSBs ventured across the water to (Dirty) Vancouver to watch a World Cup qualifying match against Honduras. Yes, the same team that dumped us out of the qualifying tournament last time with an 8-1 drubbing in Honduras.

Monday, July 27, 2015

One Man's Experience of the PCSL

[The following are the recollections and experiences of one person. They do not represent any person or group other than the author.]

The Pacific Coast Soccer League, where Victoria Highlanders found themselves playing for 2015, finishes each season with a weekend cup tournament featuring the top four teams in the league. On Saturday July 25th number one (based on the final league standings) played number four and numbers two and three played. The winners from these games played on Sunday the 26th for the cup.

Jason and I decided to make a weekend out of the games - and add-on a Whitecaps game at BC Place on Sunday. This was possible because the field for the tournament was within walking distance of the Caps home stadium. Sadly this was virtually the only positive thing that could be said about the venue for the PCSL's ultimate contest.

Arriving at the venue on Saturday we discovered a recreational turf with two playing fields, player shelters, change rooms and rumours of public washrooms. We found no seating for spectators, no programs*, and no concessions of any kind  - only rumours of a hot dog vendor who gave up when no one from the organizers showed up in time to let him to set up.  There was no scoreboard, or clock, or public address system. Without a PA system the teams were simply marched on the field and they did not bother with the national anthem.

As the game got under way Jason and I took up the classic Lake Side position behind the opposition goal with our drums and my spew-spew-zela.  Due to the recreational layout of the park, this placed us outside the chain link fence surrounding the turf.

We were delighted, briefly, when the President of the PCSL himself, Mr Dave Collard, approached us and introduced himself. I say briefly because barely were the introductions made before things started to go downhill.

Mr Collard asked that we move away from behind the net as we were disturbing the goalkeeper. It was unclear if he was reacting to a complaint or simply acting on his own initiative, but even before finding out who we were or actually observing our actions for more than five minutes, he was asking us to move off to the far side of the field from the spectators to avoid "disturbing" the players.

We politely declined and tried to engage in a conversation about appropriate supporter behaviour. We made it clear that we were doing nothing illegal. We tried to assure him that we were not using racist, sexist or homophobic chants or songs but this seemed to be unimportant. In fact it became quite clear quite quickly that simply by saying no to an unreasonable and unenforceable request that we had offended his sensibilities.

Mr Collard tried to invoke his position as President and his vast soccer knowledge and experience going back to his days "playing for Chelsea". Within two minutes he was threatening to report our activities to the police if we did not cease and desist doing what we have done at Highlanders games for the past seven seasons.

Marching away in a tizzie Mr Collard was observed making a phone call which we assumed would be to the police. None ever showed but we continued to make our presence known throughout the first half. Being perhaps a little aggrieved we made sure to switch ends at the half and took up the position at the other end for the second half.  It was at that point an older woman walking her small dog passed us by and informed us were " mean and disgusting" but did acknowledge that we would, "probably like that."

We simply laughed, said thank you, and assumed she was the keeper's mother.

The half finished and we applauded the beleaguered Mariner's keeper and he gave us a wry grin before trotting off. Our lads had won, earning a trip to the next days final.

What we did not know was that our lads had also earned two more ferry rides. Not knowing if they would need to stay for Sunday's final, neither the Highlanders nor Mariners (the two island teams) had made arrangements for expensive hotel rooms and thus both teams headed for the ferry home. The Highlanders of course now facing the prospect of a round-trip before the game Sunday.

On Sunday we made the choice not to bring the drums to the game. It was raining, Jason wanted to concentrate on taking photos and lugging them to BC Place for the Caps v Quakes made it an easy decision.

That did not stop the PCSL officialdom however. We had barely arrived at the non-venue when a Mr. Joe Hrgovic arrived and identified himself as VP of the league. (Strange that looking at he is listed as the "League Coordinator - Women's Division" as of this writing. In case you were wondering the league has not had a Women's Division for a couple of years.) He proceeded to give us the same nonsense as Mr Collard the previous day with the addition of insurance concerns. Yes, it was his contention that our drumming and noise could potentially cause an injury to a goalkeeper or other player. As this was a liability issue they would have to insist that we not drum behind the goal.

Again we tried to engage in a conversation about supporters activities but he was less interested than Mr. Collard had been. He became agitated and stormed off without any real attempt to hear our perspective.

At that point I wanted to defuse the situation somewhat and, to be honest, not let them think we were NOT drumming because of their request. I approached the two of them and tried to be jovial in telling then we would not be drumming as we had not even brought the drums. This was not appreciated by Mr Collard who began regaling me with tales of calls to "city officials" and assurances that as the renters of the facility they had full control over all activities in the public park surrounding the fenced fields. He claimed to have been told that they had been assured that police could be called to have us removed.

At this point he strayed even further into fantasy land. He, not I, brought up the Southsiders and their activities and tried to tell me that our sort of behaviour was not tolerated at BC Place. When I pointed out to him that in fact the Soutsiders and Curva Collective are located RIGHT BEHIND the goal he lost it completely again bringing up his vast experience.

He also tried to tell us that the Highlanders, the same people who laughed and applaud us regularly, thought ill of our activities. 

At this point, having done our homework I called him on his bullshit and pointed out that we knew that he had not, in fact, "played for Chelsea". His claim then changed to having  played as a schoolboy. As someone with "any soccer knowledge" would know, claiming to have, "played for Chelsea" can only ever refer to the first team. Anything else must be qualified ie: reserves, on trial, academy, etc.

We tried to enjoy the game. It was tension filled with end to end action. I tooted my horn (which Mr Colard kept referring to as a "flute" for some reason) for kicks and in the second half their keeper shanked one badly and called over to us "you got me" with a smile.

The game ended 0-0. Extra time produced a potential game-winner that was equalized by them less than three minutes before time. Their keeper, who looked sharp all game earned MOTM honours saving three of our first four penalties and winning Khalsa the cup.

We had to make a run for BC Place where the game was kicking off something like 15 minutes later. It was nice to be somewhere that supporter culture is more welcomed than the PCSL. Clearly the Coast League aims to be nothing more than a recreational league.  The new D3 cannot come to this province soon enough and put them out of their misery.


* [edited, July 28] I have since been informed that their was at least some attempt at a program available at the start of the tournament.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bring a Friend to see Dirty Vancouver

It has been a good start to the PCSL season and this Sunday (May 17) we will be having our "bring a friend day".

More info is available on the FB event but basically come to Logan's between Noon and 1:30 and we will have free passes to hand out to those who might like to try the Lake Side Experience (tm).

The opponent is Vancouver United (HAH! That's a joke) so if you need a refresher on songs check out this post from last year:  Lyrics for Dirty Vancouver and Glasgow Slums.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Like a Phoenix?

In a story something like that of the Phoenix rising from the ashes, it looks like Victoria Highlanders will live to play another day.

Sort of.

For now.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Lyrics for Dirty Vancouver and Glasgow Slums

So, in trying to update the song page (and maybe the handy pocket book of songs)  I recalled we never wrote the words down for "Dirty Vancouver".

I think it goes like this but I thought I would check:

Dirty Vancouver (tune: You are my Sunshine)
You're from Vancouver
Dirty Vancouver
You're only happy
On welfare day
Your mum's out thieving
Your dad's drug-dealing
So please don't take, my hubcaps away

Of course we also need to learn the following for the Rangers game:

In your Glasgow slums
In your Glasgow slums
You look in the bucket for something to eat
You find a dead rat and you think it's a treat
In your Glasgow slums

(I found a really crappy YouTube version for the tune.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Road Trip This Friday

We are trying to organize a road trip to see the Whitecaps - Highlanders game this Friday evening, May 23rd. This is also the second and final game of the Juan de Fuca Plate competition for 2014.

We have partnered with Team Bus to make it easy: $90 (+ taxes) gets you a ride to the game and back the same day via coach and BC Ferry.

Full details on the Team Bus Page.

Deadline is Thursday (May 22) to make sure we have enough to make the trip.

Start coughing now, sign up, and call in sick Friday!

We're going to win the plate , we're going to win the plate...

Friday, August 2, 2013

PDL Finals Semifinal Post Match Review

Thunder Bay Chill 2-0 Victoria Highlanders FC FT

Post match review #1
Post match review #2

The Highlanders lost on Friday night to the Thunder Bay Chill in a closely contested match in the Texas heat. At half-time, the match was 0-0 with equal possession throughout the first 45, with both Brett Levis and Andrew Ravenhill each getting chances in the final 3 minutes of the half.

The Chill took the lead early into the second half with a volley goal by Sullivan Silva 20 yards from goal. The Highlanders pressed after the goal for the remaining 35 minutes of the half getting chance after chance but to no avail. Brett Levis and Riley O'Neill had a couple nice one-two combinations near the end of the match but  the ball ended up on the side netting. In the end, it wasn't the Chill that brought down the Highlanders but a combination of the heat and being in the unknown.

But what a 2013 season the club has had. Alot of club firsts this season: twice breaking the home attendance record (2,044 v Vancouver and 2,374 v Portland), winning the Northwest Division, winning the Western Conference title on the road, qualifying for the PDL Finals. The club never looked better in its five year existence. With Steve Simonson in charge for his full season, he continued where he left off in the end of 2012. He brought a new identity to the club, signing players that showed real talent on the pitch. He signed experience from former Canadian U20 standout Riley O'Neill and Scottish footballer Blair Sturrock who applied his trade in both Scotland and England. But with experience, alot of youth was signed as well. The biggest surprise was University of Saskatchewan Brett Levis. Brett came into his own during the 2013 season scoring a club tied high of 9 goals with Jordie Hughes. This kid has a bright future ahead of him. Don't be surprise that clubs will come knocking in the off season for him.

This has been a fantastic season for the Victoria Highlanders, the most successful in the club's history both on and off the pitch. The club setup it's inaugural Supporters Board with elections prior to the start of the season. And so began the era of the partly supporter-owned club, first in North America. But in the end the lads have done both Victoria and all their supporters proud...this is why we love this game! This is why we call ourselves supporters not fans because we wear our hearts on our sleeves. We have a deep emotion for the club we love!

Thank you to all the supporters, from the kids to Mrs. Campbell, who makes the home match atmosphere louder and more vibrant throughout the season. Thank you to the club's front office and owner for believing in our little supporters' group. Without your support and encouragement, we couldn't bring that European football supporter culture to our little club. And in turn, motivate the players on the pitch.

See you all in May 2014. Buy your season tickets or supporter section tickets before next them soon.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

2013 PDL Finals Preview Part 1

This is a collaboration effort between the Lake Side Buoys and three other football writers/bloggers from around the PDL. This will be a four part series showcasing the participating clubs that qualified for the 2013 PDL Finals in Austin, TX August 2-4. All VHFC supporters knows that the USL PDL is not given much press. This collaboration will bring PDL Finals to the forefront and highlight a great year for all our clubs. Because this is a collaboration effort, all four club profiles/previews will be posted on each of the writer's sites for all to see. I hope you enjoy the reading and looking forward to the PDL Finals in Friday as I am.

First club preview is our very own 2013 Northwest Division and West Conference winners, Victoria Highlanders FC

Written by Michael Schlodder
President of the Lake Side Buoys Supporters Group
Secretary of the VHFC Supporters Board

Victoria Highlanders FC
            Manager: Steve Simonson           2013 season: 1st NW Div. (8-4-2)     
            Best off season signing: Blair Sturrock (SCO)  One to watch: Brett Levis (CAN)

Club History
The Victoria Highlanders FC, based out Victoria British Columbia Canada, was formed back in 2008 through the vision of Alex Campbell Jr. He wanted to bring competitive football to Victoria, both entertainment on the pitch but also to grow an academy style basis here for the local U11-18 and a have a competitive women’s program. He realized that the youth are the future for this sport and he wanted to bring the best coaches/trainers to Victoria. Victoria, and Vancouver Island in general, is football frenzy geographically. Football is played throughout the calendar year from men and women to children. No matter where you go through the city, you will always find a kick about or even a 5-aside match going on somewhere. As of 2013, Victoria Highlanders FC have become the first soccer team in North America to be part supporter-owned (30%). We have an elected Supporters Board which is a democratic not-for-profit society of supporters, committed to strengthening the communities' support of the club. A strong working relationship with the club put forth in an effort to providing a true supporters' voice to ownership and senior management at the club. The club sees this as an opportunity for the Supporters' Board to assist the club in growing our membership base, and the best way to do that is to allow for opinions when decisions are being made.

Currently the club’s First Team plays their home matches at Royal Athletic Park, a multi-sport complex, just on the outskirts of the downtown core. Royal Athletic Park was first built in 1908 and has hosted numerous sports throughout the years, most notably matches at the 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup. 

(RAP during 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup Canada)

Going into the 2013 season, the Highlanders were undefeated in their last five matches. The current manager Steve Simonson took over as interim manager in mid-2012 and changed the side’s style of play from long ball passing to a patient build up pass through the middle and wings. The club signed a variety of talent, both in experience and age, from throughout British Columbia, western Canada and overseas prior to the 2013 season. There is a large contingent of University Of Victoria men’s soccer program on the First Team but that just continued to follow the ethos of the owner of local development.  The club finished the 2013 regular season as Northwest Division winners (8-4-2, 28pts) in a division comprised of three clubs that are feeder systems for MLS clubs.
(Possible starting XI v Thunder Bay on Friday)
The Highlanders goalkeeper and back four are by far one of the strongest in the Northwest Division if not in the Western Conference. This was proven throughout the 2013 season. Leading from the back is keeper Elliot Mitrou. He is a presence in between the woodwork, commanding the back four with a good vision of the match. It’s noticed that he can see weaknesses and gaps in the opposing side and exploit it using his commanding presence. He is agile and is quick to get from one post to the other, not afraid to take a knock or two in the process.

The center backs of captain Tyler Hughes and Ryan Ashlee are one of the tougher CB pairings in the NW Division. They are the Knights for our back four. They have a chemistry and work ethic that allows one another to know where the other player is without even talking. Both of Hughes and Ashlee started all 16 matches and have played every minute of the 2013 season showing their longevity. The left and right backs, Andrew Ravenhill and Kalem Scott respectively, are the stalwarts on the wings. Neither of our wing backs has a problem making runs from time to time with good results. Our back four are strong both in the air and on their feet. They are willing to go to ground if needed and can out muscle almost any striker or midfielder that comes into the 18 yard box.

Player(s) to Watch
There are numerous players to watch on the Highlanders’ First Team. University of Saskatchewan standout and first year midfielder Brett Levis has been a complete revelation for the club this season.  Levis leads the club in goals scored (12), assists (5), shots (51) and has started every match so far in 2013. Levis is strong on his feet. He shows both brilliance with his dribbling techniques and his pure natural speed on and off the ball. Plus Levis’ shooting range and power can be compared to the top players in MLS and NASL, if not lower league football in England. The other player to watch is former U20 Canadian member Riley O’Neill. The midfielder has been the general for the Highlanders this season. He is strong in the air using his height as well as his strength to his advantage. As well, O’Neill uses the wings to his advantage when he is allowed to go for runs from time to time. But his strongest asset is his vision of the match unfolding in front of him. His passes are crisp, accurate and weighted precisely.

The so called X-factor for the Highlanders is the depth of experience and team unity we have. We have players who have played in Scotland, England and Scandinavia bringing a wealth of knowledge of the European game to our shores. We have players who are young and have the willingness to learn from the older players, soaking up the knowledge and experience like a sponge. Then reproduce it on the pitch on match days. But what is a sight to see is the team unity. How this little club has bonded and come together in such a short time frame to not just win on the pitch (first ever NW Division and Western Conference titles in club’s history) but win off the pitch as well. The growth in support from the local community has grown immensely over the last few years. The Lake Side Buoys (the unofficial and only supporters' group of the Highlanders) bring the European flair and environment to each and every home match, plus some away matches. Unfortunately, no Lake Side Buoys will be making the trip to Austin to support our lads. Just this season alone, we broke the highest attendance for a home match twice. The most recent mark of 2,347 at the home finale v Portland Timbers U23. Football has never been more popular in Victoria and on Vancouver Island.