Derby Day: Pacific FC to host Victoria Highlanders in opening round of Canadian Championship


There’s a Derby Day coming to Vancouver Island, we’re just not sure when.

“It’s sometime in late April or early May,” says Pacific FC Head Coach James Merriman. For those not fluent in football/soccer lingo, a “derby” is a match between two teams from the same city or area.

In this case, the Canadian Premier League’s (CPL) Pacific FC will be facing off against BC 1 Division’s Victoria Highlanders.

On Friday morning, the draw for the preliminary round of the Telus Canadian Championship was held, with 14 clubs competing over four rounds and 19 matches for the right to hoist the Voyageurs Cup.

Nicknamed “The Battle of the North” it features Canada’s highest domestic competition, most notably pro teams from Major League Soccer and the Canadian Premier League. Also in the draw are the league winners of semi-pro League 1 BC, League 1 Ontario and Ligue 1 Quebec.

Of all the possible matchups – a 1-in-14 chance – the Victoria-area teams find themselves facing off.

Highlanders Head Coach Steve Simonson relishes the underdog role.

“Pacific FC has shown to be a top CPL team over the last few years but I think from an excitement standpoint I think it’s the perfect draw,” he said.

Simonson says the match will be played at PFC’s Starlight Stadium, but dates and times for the opening round matches have not been released.

Merriman, a former Highlanders player from the club’s early days in the PDL, says a derby matchup is an ideal situation for both clubs.

“Ultimately, it’s probably what the community wanted,” he says.

A full list of the Telus Canadian Championship draw can be found here.

SEE ALSO: Langford to hold referendum on Starlight Stadium expansion



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