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. 

2013 PDL FInals Preview Part 2

The second club preview is the Highlanders opponent in Semifinal #1 on Friday. The Thunder Bay Chill are 2013 Heartland Division and Central Conference winners.

Written by Matt Vis
Thunder Bay Chill beat writer for The Chronicle-Journal
Thunder Bay Chill
Manager: Tony Colistro 2013 Season: 1st Heartland Div, 1st in PDL (12-1-1)
Best offseason signing: Stephen Paterson (CAN)     
Player to watch: Sergio Campano Franco (ESP)     

Club History
The Thunder Bay Chill, playing out of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada was formed in 2000 and is in their 14th season of operation. The club has emerged as a pillar of both the city of Thunder Bay and the region of Northwestern Ontario’s summer sports landscape. The PDL program has helped spawn many youth programs that have not only increased popularity and participation in the sport, but have also served as a feeder program to the big team. The club plays their home fixtures out of Tbaytel Field at Chapples Park, a facility that has been renovated and adapted to suit the needs of the club.

The Chill has developed a near monopoly on the Heartland Division crown, as 2013 marked the sixth division title in the past seven years for Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay was also the first Canadian club to win the PDL championship after prevailing with a penalty kicks victory in the national final over the Laredo Heat. The Chill returned to the national final two years later, but fell to 2010 champion Portland Timbers U-23s.

This year Thunder Bay rolled through the regular season, coming away with a 12-1-1 record which was tops in the entire league. The Chill joins the 2001 Calgary Storm to be the only Canadian squads to accomplish the feat. In the playoffs, Thunder Bay opened with a 1-0 victory over the Michigan Bucks, a perennial playoff foe. Thunder Bay completed their fourth Central Conference title with a 3-0 victory in the final against reigning PDL champion Forest City London.

The Team
As evidenced through their first two playoff matches, Thunder Bay proved to be one of the top defensive teams in the league. The Chill posted eight regular season clean sheets and only conceded 10 goals on the season to be in the top-five in that category. Keeper Stephen Paterson, of Thunder Bay, is the club’s stalwart last line of defence, as this is his 10th year with the team. He proved his merits once again in the playoff run, as he stymied two potent attacks in Michigan and London. Playing in front of him is a solid line of defenders, anchored by 6’6” Swede Axel Sjoberg. Sjoberg is pivotal to disrupting aerial attacks, as there are very few long balls that he fails to win and then develop into a counter. His height is also used on the attacking end when brought forward, as his presence has the potential to make any corner dangerous. Fellow defender and collegiate teammate at Marquette University, Paul Dillon (pictured below) is also a threat on the attacking end as he possesses a lethal left-footed strike. Veteran defender Zetroy Robertson is quick and strong on the ball, and plays steady on the right side.

(Possible Starting XI v Victoria)

Adding versatility is team captain Nolan Intermoia, who depending on the formation, has the ability to play both defending and midfield positions. Intermoia plays all over the field for the Chill and he frequently serves as the club’s spark plug. Pedro Adan, awarded the team’s MVP award, plays a critical role in assisting the defenders in clearing the lines, and his support stabilizes the back.

In recent years Colistro has favoured to play a quicker tempo and enabling that philosophy is a pair of nimble and speedy midfielders. Abraham Villon and Jose Altamirano are critical to the Chill’s quick transition counters and capitalizing on any space in the mid. Both display tremendous vision which frequently creates chances up field to serve as the offensive catalysts of the team. Adding a dynamic element up front is first year player Sergio Campano Franco. He is the most skilled player on the team and has a deft touch and a sense of wizardry with his ball handling.

At the front line of the attack, the Chill has been able to weather the loss of reigning PDL Player of the Year Sullivan Silva. Silva has been sidelined for most of the season with a foot injury, but currently is a threat coming off the bench. The loss has been mitigated by the player of first year Nigerian striker Sunny Omeregie, who led the club in goals this past season.

X Factor
The biggest factor for the Chill this weekend will be their versatility. Colistro often adapts his formations on a game-to-game basis to match up against the opposition. Against Michigan he emphasized defence and preferred to limit the intensity of the attack. However, one day later against London he brought forward a more aggressive attack that pushed the ball up-field through to the final whistle. The outcome of the weekend will depend upon the trio of Campano Franco, Villon, and Altamirano and whether they were able to control possession and make plays to spark an attack to take pressure of the backlines.

2013 PDL FInals Preview Part 3

The third club preview is of the Austin Aztex. They are the 2013 Mid-South Division and Southern Conference winners.

Written by Anthony Mannino
Creator and writer for Austin Soccer Insider

Austin Aztex
            Manager: Paul Dalglish        2013 season: 1st Mid South Div. (11-1-2) 
            Best off season signing: Aaron Guillen (USA)         
            One to watch: Tony Rocha (USA)

The Austin Aztex are one of the newest PDL franchises and the minority owner of the previous Aztex team, David Markley, founded the club in 2011. (The old Aztex moved to Orlando to become Orlando City SC.) Paul Dalglish, the son of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish and a MLS cup winner with the Houston Dynamo, coaches the club. Markley’s vision was to develop a soccer club with local talent that plays attacking soccer, and the past two seasons that vision has come into fruition with Daglish at the helm. The large majority of the Aztex players have some sort of ties to Austin or Texas – either through their college team or hometown.

The Aztex enjoyed a successful first season last year, finishing second in the Southern Conference playoffs (losing 4-2 to Orlando’s U23 team in the final) and scoring the most goals in the conference. After the PDL season, three Aztex players Dillon Powers (a candidate for MLS rookie of the year), Kekuta Manneh and Blake Smith were all drafted in the top eleven places of the 2013 MLS draft.

There hasn’t been a sophomore slump for the Aztex as the club only improved in its second year in the PDL. Austin finished with the (11-1-2 , 35 pts) record in the regular season and ended the year in the top-5 in the PDL in goals scored and fewest goals allowed – a testament to the club’s balance.

The franchise plays its games at House Park, unfortunately a football stadium that was built in the 1930s but fortunately located close to downtown Austin and an intimate venue (no track). The team played in front of its largest crowd 2,673 last match in a 2-0 win over Laredo Heat in the Southern Conference finals. The large crowd was due the Austin Aztex supporters - Eberly’s Army. The fan group (formerly known as Chantico’s Army) supporters all soccer in the Austin area.

Austin received two awards after its inaugural season The team’s staff won the marketing award and was heralded for its busy twitter account, and Director of Operations, Ric Granryd earned the Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award.

(Possible starting XI v Ocean City on Friday)

 Just like the Victoria Highlanders, Austin’s strength is its backline and goalkeeper Devin Cook, who has 10 shutouts this season. The defense was the best in the Southern Conference giving up .57 goals per game in the regular season and the Aztex shutout both opponents in the Southern Conference playoffs. Zack Pope, Austin’s captain, is the team’s leader and coach on the field that loves to attack from his left back position. His wingback partner, Max Gunderson is another high flying attacking wingback that loves to get up field and spray crosses into the box; but don’t think the two are just offensive fullbacks – they both can and will defend when they are called upon. Aaron Guillen, 20, is the quarterback of the Aztex backline who helps set up the attack from his center back position. The El Paso native is probably the best 1v1 defender on the squad, and for such a young defender he is tactically astute and is never caught out of position or ball watching. Standing at 6’5” Walker Hume is the muscle of the bunch. He eloquently does his job of clearing any set pieces or corners or dealing with the opposition’s center forward. For such a tall player, Hume is also very confident with the ball at his feet.

The intangible strength is Austin’s never quite attitude and togetherness as teammates. I know this sounds like coach speak, but the Aztex prove it on the field as the club is 3-1-1 in games when the opposition scores first. Oh, don’t let Austin find the back of the net first because the club is 10-0 when it scores first.

Players to watch TONY ROCHA (Credit: James Goulden)

Four Austin players, Cook, Kris Tyrpak, Gunderson and Tony Rocha, were named to the USL PDL’s at Southern Conference players, but the I think the two Austin players to watch are Andres Cuero and Rocha. The two play in the Aztex midfielder and both are threats as scorers and creators. I constantly compare Rocha to the Aztex version of Andrea Pirlo. The Tusla midfielder is so smart with the ball and his passes always find a teammates feet. Rocha shows up in the biggest games too, and he scored or helped set up goals in all three of Austin’s 2-1 comeback wins during the season. He is a magician with his left-foot and will likely player MLS in a year or two. Stop Rocha and you can defeat the Aztex – the problem is no one has been able to even slow him down.

When looking back on this season, one change has defined the Austin Aztex and that’s Paul Dalglish decision to move Cuero from a striker to an attacking midfielder. Since the move, Cuero has thrived, receiving more of the ball and confidently attacking and running at opponents when he receives it. Austin has also improved as well. In the first seven games (when he played forward), Austin averaged 1.7 goals per game, but since moving to play as a midfielder, the Aztex are averaging 3.18 goals a game. He always times is runs from the midfield perfectly like Michal Bradley for the USMNT.

(Credit: Jeff Burns)

Khiry Shelton only played the last two regular season games for the Aztex, but the late season acquisition could be the deciding factor in the PDL finals. The 6”3’ striker is lighting quick, and he has scored four goals and has two assists in four games with the Aztex. His pace stretches out the defenses and allows Austin to play long balls over the type (along with their usually tiki-taka style of attack) and it creates more space for Sito Seoane and Kris Tyrpak to attack the opposition. But Shelton isn’t just speedster, he can score some
spectacular goals as he has proven in the past.

The second x-factor will be the Austin crowd. Eberly’s Army will be as rowdy as ever but will there be 3,000 or more fans behind them cheering for Austin. If the crowd is as crazy as it usually is, it should be a huge advantage for the Aztex. Least I forget, Austin is 9-0 at home and has scored 29 goals while only giving up three. House Park is a fortress for Austin. 

2013 PDL Finals Preview Part 4

The fourth and final club preview is of the Ocean City Nor'easters. They are the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference winners.

Written by Stephen Thurlby
Director of Communications for Ocean City Nor’easters
Premier Team coach for Jersey Premier Soccer

Ocean City Nor’easters
            Head Coach: Tim Oswald         2013 season: 1st Mid-Atlantic Div. (11-1-2) 
Club History
The Ocean City Nor’easters have had a turbulent history off the field as they struggled to find their home and identity but they have always been able to find success.

After being founded in 1996, the club debuted in the 1997 season, it was named the South Jersey Barons. They joined the United Soccer Leagues (USL) as a professional team, competing in the Second Division (two levels down from MLS), which at the time was called the D-3 Pro League.

In 1998, in only their second year in existence, the Barons won the Mid-Atlantic Division title. The next year, they followed that up with a second straight playoff appearance and a run to the USISL D-3 national championship game.

In 2003, the Barons moved to the PDL, and after finishing in fourth place in their first season, they made history in their second season in the league. They became only the fifth team ever to go through the regular season with an unbeaten record (14-0-4) winning the North Eastern Division title.

In 2005, the South Jersey Barons were taken over by local businessmen Giancarlo Granese and Russ McPaul. Their first act as new owners was to move the Barons to Ocean City, NJ and rename the team the Ocean City Barons. The club moved into its new home at Carey Stadium just off the Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk with a view of the ocean making it a special place to play soccer.

After the 2009 season the club rebranded to become the Ocean City Nor’easters and adopted the new blue and white home colors and orange away colors of English club Reading FC whom helped bring with them a close partnership and a new level of professionalism.

2012 saw a change in Head Coach and a change in attitude. Tim Oswald began to bring in some of the best players in the country at the college level rather than looking more locally in the previous regimes. This saw a lot of success straight away winning the Mid-Atlantic Division in the first year, however, going out to Ottawa Fury in the Eastern Conference Finals. This was repeated this season but was followed up by a deeper run into the PDL playoffs. The Nor’easters hosted the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals and took advantage of the home field and beat Carolina Dynamo and then Ottawa Fury in an exciting final. On a side note the Carey Stadium grass field was taken from Giants stadium in May 2012 after Messi and Argentina played an international friendly against the USA.

The future of the Nor’easters is even brighter after an affiliation with top youth soccer club Jersey Premier Soccer that will provide high quality players for the PDL team for years to come.

Since joining the PDL in 2003, the Nor’easters have the sixth best regular season record (98-41-39).

Nor’easters in the US Open Cup
The Ocean City Nor’easters are a thorn in the side of professional sides in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, having reached the 3rd round 3 times with 8 wins, five of them coming against professional teams.

The Nor’easters most famous Open Cup runs are the 2008 where they came up against DC United in the 3rd round losing 2-1 and this season in 2013 where they travelled to PPL Park to take on the Philadelphia Union. The Union put out a first team that the Nor’easters matched for 90 minutes with many players having breakthrough performances and showing that they are more than ready to take the step into the MLS. A heartbreaking goal in injury time, however, saw the Union win 2-1.

(Possible starting XI v Austin on Friday)

The Nor’easters strengths really comes from their ability to move the ball at pace, beat players 1v1 and find one of the many goal scorers on the team. Their attacking prowess is based on the pace and power of our frontline and the ability to counter attack quickly and efficiently.
However, this attacking strength would not be possible without one of the strongest defensive units we have seen in Ocean City. They are dominant in the air, a goalkeeper that inspires confidence throughout the whole team and a midfield than can break up play as well as physically dominant any opponent.

Player(s) to Watch
It is the core of the team that we really have to look at more closely. Every one of these names have the ability and drive to play professionally.

Michael O’Keeffe Fairfield University – O’Keeffe is the best goalkeeper the club has seen. Quick across his goal, dominates his penalty area and distributes the ball with incredible accuracy. O’Keeffe will not be fazed by the PDL Championship pressure after starting for New Zealand in the London 2012 Olympics and faced a Brazil team of Neymar, Oscar, David Luiz and other superstars.

Tapiwa MachingautaBradley University – Machingauta has always been seen by us as a top level defender but the US soccer scene took notice after his performance against the Philadelphia Union in the US Open Cup. Machingauta had long time MLS pro Conor Casey in his pocket for the entire game and looked like he was perfect for that area.

Ken TribbettDrexel University – Ken is a tall central midfielder who has the old fashioned box to box athletic ability being as effective defensively and in the attacking third. He dominated in the air against the Union, creating an assist with a headed knockdown from a corner, and every PDL team in 2013. His level of skill is sometimes overlooked due to his physical presence but his touch, skill and passing is up their with the pros.

Dwayne ReidBloomfield College – Dwayne “Bullet” Reid (nickname comes from being faster than) came over from division rivals Westchester Flames and added the extra firepower to see us win the Division. Reid ended up as the 5th top scorer with 10 goals and 2 assists and was voted onto the All-Eastern Conference team.

It is difficult to identify an X-Factor because there are so many things that the Nor’easters do well. If we have to pick one it will be the pace of the forwards that has caused so many defenders so many nightmares. Dwayne Reid, Frank Tweneboa, Emmanual Kollie and Zoncher Dennis have raw pace but add to that intelligent movement, great touch and excellent 1v1 skills could really be the difference in the games. With the defensive side taken care off by Michael O’Keeffe, Tapiwa Machingauta, Steven Perinovic, Kevin Curran and Ken Tribbett the forwards always have a chance to win the game for the Nor’easters.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2013 USL PDL Play-offs and Club Honors

USL PDL Play-offs
If you are a VHFC supporter and haven't heard already (were you living under a rock), our Highlanders won the PDL Western Conference title. Yet another first in our little club's storied year. Supporters' Choice Player of the Year Brett Levis led the way with scoring three goals in the two matches and Riley O'Neill was brilliant in the midfield, acting like the general he has been doing all season. Plus the consistent back four stood tall against both Ventura County and Portland.

Game reports of both matches are linked below.
West Conference Semifinal #1: Victoria 3-2 (aet) Ventura County
West Conference Final: Victoria 1-0 Portland U23

Here is a link to the remaining PDL Play-offs in the Southern, Central and Eastern Conferences.
2013 USL PDL Play-offs

With that win, we have confirmed out birth in the 2013 PDL Championships on the weekend of August 2-4 in Austin, TX. Austin was confirmed hosts on Sunday evening after the West Conference Final and was leaked out by the Thunder Bay Chill through their Twitter account 30 minutes prior to USL PDL announcing it. 
Fri Aug 2 Semifinal #1: 15.00 PST KO   Victoria v Thunder Bay Chill
Fri Aug 2 Semifinal #2: 17.30 PST KO    Austin Aztex v Ocean City Nor'easters
Sun Aug 4 Final: 17.30 PST KO SF1-W v SF2-W

In the upcoming days, club profiles will be posted on the Lake Side Buoys site of the four clubs that earned berths to the PDL Finals. This is a joint effort between bloggers/writers from Victoria, Ocean City, Austin and Thunder Bay. All four writer's work will be shown on each of the bloggers sites to bring the PDL Finals to the forefront.
Austin Soccer Insider (Austin Aztex)
Global Premier Soccer (Thunder Bay Chill)
Ocean City Nor'easters

PDL ALL-Conference Teams
On Tuesday July 30th, the PDL announced the All-Conference teams and two Highlanders made the list for All-Western Conference team. Congratulations to both captain Tyler Hughes and club top goal scorer/Supporters' Choice Award winner Brett Levis to making the list.
Western Conference

GK – David Meves, Portland Timbers U-23s
D – Derrick Bassi, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
D – Chris Brundage, Sounders FC U23
D – Tyler Hughes, Victoria Highlanders FC
D – Trevor Spurgeon, Fresno Fuego
MF – Zach Barnes, Portland Timbers U-23s
MF – Paul Islas, Fresno Fuego
MF – Bobby Jhutty, Van. Whitecaps FC U-23
F – Niall Cousens, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
F – Brett Levis, Victoria Highlanders FC
F – Tyler Reinhart, Fresno Fuego

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 USL PDL Season Update

So I know it's been a while since anything has been posted here on our supporters section website but both admins have been a little busy with work, family life and watching our Victoria Highlanders FC on the pitch.

First Team
As for the product on the pitch this season, the gaffer Steve Simonson has done a great job in building a First Team side by re-signing our stand out veterans and new players from across US and Canada. Simonson has further developed and expanded his change in tactics from the long ball approach from the back Ian Bridge employed. To now short one-two passes through the middle and using the wingers as a way to probe deep into the opponents third of the pitch. And have this paid off in dividends. As of writing this post, Highlanders FC are 3-1-1 second in the Northwest Division (3 points behind the Portland Timbers U23). In this good run of form, we've beaten Kitsap and Sounders FC U23 handily (3-0 and 4-1 respectively). But a tough loss at RAP to the Whitecaps, 5-3, this past Friday put a dent into a undefeated season plus shows some weaknesses in the left back position. The Highlanders have two more home matches (June 8 v Washington & June 14 v North Sound) before they head on the road for a month.

Pre-Match BBQs
Prior to every home match, we are hosting a pre-match BBQ at Central Park (one block up from RAP) for all home and traveling supporters. Usually the BBQ runs from two hours til thirty minutes before KO. Burgers and refreshments are being served. If you want either, make sure you reserve your burger and refreshment numbers on the LSB Facebook page under the pre-match BBQ event pages prior to the next home match. All money raised in the pre-match BBQs go toward the LSBs and funding future group swag and funding pre-match BBQs in future seasons. All is welcome as it promotes support for our club but good nature sportsmanship with the traveling supporters

LSBs Scarves and Memberships
So everyone knows that during the off-season we started a supporters group membership drive that includes both a membership card and a LSB scarf for $20. An update on this: the scarves are still in production from our Poland manufacturer but should be ready to be shipped out this week. When we receive the order of scarves, all supporters who ordered a membership or just a scarf will be given them in due course. Plus supporters who live outside of Vancouver Island, they will be posted to you. Keep checking here and on our Facebook page for updates. With that, we are still taking orders for both LSB memberships and LSB scarves. If you want either, just place your order through the PayPal transaction box on the top right of the side bar. Talking about swag, we still have one remaining limited edition LSB t-shirt for sale, size large. We are selling it for $20 and if you are interested in purchasing it, contact us through the LSB Facebook page or come one over to the LSB section (section 7) at RAP on matchdays and ask for Mike.

 So if you come to any Victoria Highlanders FC matches at RAP and want to join us in our section for some signing, chanting and good banter...everyone is more than welcome to join us, young and old! We are here to create a true football experience not just for the lads on the pitch but for everyone at RAP.

Come On You Highlanders! #COYH

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vote for Deals!

With opening day a mere 45 days away there is plenty to keep supporters busy including committing your future to the Lake Side and elections to the inaugural Highlanders Supporters Board.


Lake Side Scarves

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lake Side Buoys 2013 Membership

The 2013 Lake Side Buoys membership is now available to purchase through the website's PayPal links. At a cost of $20, you will receive the newly designed Lake Side Buoys scarf and a personalized membership card. Currently, the Executive is looking into tying a partner pub to the supporters group which you will be able to access these deals through the membership. Membership packages will be available to pick up at a future date/time through a group function prior to the start of the season. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Mike Schlodder or Julian Anderson on the LSB Facebook page.

2013 Victoria Highlanders FC AGM

On Monday, January 28th the Victoria Highlanders FC held their annual general meeting at Gorge FC clubhouse. It was a nice turn out by the Lake Side Buoys to show their support for the club's 2013 season and beyond. Minutes from the AGM will posted to the website as soon as they are compiled by our Director of Communications. A brief overview of the AGM can be found through this link to the VHFC website

Monday, January 21, 2013

Schedule up, limited edition t-shirts

Things are already starting to buzz around the Lake Side for 2013 with the much-anticipated fixtures schedule published, club AGM next week and a super-quick deal for "limited edition" t-shirts being offered right now!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 AGM Notes

Sorry for the delay. The Lake Side Buoys traditional Annual General Meeting and Pre-Christmas Pint was held at the Bard & Banker on December 22nd, 2012.

Meeting notes are now available thanks to the new Director of Communications (see below). The Executive for 2013 are:
  • Presidente and ISC rep: Mike (Australia) Schlodder
  • Director of Communications: Julian Anderson
  • Treasurer: Janine Fraser
  • Past President and alternate ISC rep: Ted Godwin
  • Tifo Coordinator: TBA    Hey Chelsea are you in?


It was decided that we should explore a possible package deal for LSB membership including a membership card and LSB scarf rather than take donations to the tifo fund. Details to come as the executive follows up on a scarf manufacturer referred to us by our long-time member and also visiting dignitary Brett Graham.

Perhaps the biggest decision of the day was to try something new for pre-game. Subject to some logistics it was decided to move to a pre-game tailgate in the RAP parking lot. Details will be published closer to the start of the season. You can start looking for grilling recipes right now!